The Professional Orientations Of Mari Journalists
Mari El is an independent republic within the Russian Federation. Its inhabitants belong to the Finno-Ugric group, which includes, for example, Estonians, Hungarians and Finns. In the Republic of Mari El, journalistic professionalism is directly linked to important cultural issues: maintaining and developing the Mari language and upholding cultural values and national identity. Within the last 10-15 years, a new generation of Mari journalists has been emerging, who are more highly educated and more professionally qualified, and who are better prepared for working in a competitive environment. The aim of my PhD project is to define the changes and new developments in the professional orientations of Mari journalists with regard to their role perceptions, their understanding of ethical standards, and their professional value judgements. Research questions for this study include: 1) How do Mari journalists see their role in society and journalism?; 2) How do journalists interpret their professional values and standards?; and 3) What changes have occurred between 20012009, and why have these changes occurred? The study is based on two surveys, conducted in Mari El in 2001 and 2009. It compares the results of these two surveys and also draws parallels with Estonia (where similar surveys have been conducted in 1995 and 2009). To determine how journalists adhere to professional values and standards, I will conduct the content-analysis. A comparison of the two surveys shows that some interesting changes can be detected since 2001. For example, in 2001 the majority of Mari journalists defined their role as to «protect and express the interests of the people“; by 2009 Mari journalists see their task as informing people in order to help them cope with everyday life situations. By the end of 2009, the typical Mari journalist is a married man, with a university education in journalism, who works for the government mass-media.