I always proceeded from the assumption that not only demand generates the offer, but also the offer - the demand. A few years ago, on a labor market of Syktyvkar there were the best unclaimed journalists: those who are able to work with the facts and value professional reputation. Some of them didn't work a tall, others worked as stokers - the common Soviet story which has been repeating in the postsoviet time.
These people being banned from newspapers and the TV channels which have come under control of the regional authorities.The idea of 7x7 creation appeared becourse I was inspired by the involvement of very qualified specialists.
Further the niche which we could occupy became obvious - being not able to compete with media having the budgetary feed, we can develop civil journalism and journalism of "white spots" - that is what the others don't want to write about , because of censorship or proceeding from the commercialized priorities.
What does the rest of the regional media in Russia look like today? The governor went there, the governor marked out that, the governor presented those with that.. Plus crimes and scandals. The subjects of civil activism, human rights, environmental problems, rights of ethnic minorities, position of people in prisons, rights of sexual minorities....
A grate number of topics absolutely unpopular in other media but very interesting to us.
The concept of our website which we designated in the beginning was created as "space, free from the state", and now we call it the "Horizontal Russia", meaning that our affairs connected with that provincial - horizontal space with people living there, instead of a notorious vertical which is shaped by the interest of Moscow first of all. All this doesn't mean that we are in any constant conflict with the power. It is not so. About very many "horizontal" questions we are quite ready to interact with the authorities and we manage to do it.
It is necessary to say, that the authorities in regions of Russia are very different - from frank dictatorships, to quite liberal pluralistic models of management.
Now let me return to our website. In some time we understood that the formula created by us applicable to other regions as well. We began to open new editorial offices and now there are 10 of them.
The contents of the web journal consists of two parts: the news which is in competence of professional journalists of each regional office and the posts of our bloggers from which we choose most interesting "opinions" and place them in a column. Coming to a new region we always try to stick to the active NGO and with the help of their activists to create our blogger squares 7 on 7 - from where the site's name came. Thus our success in each region is directly connected with the force of local civil society, and we are directly interested in its strengthening. Therefore we aren't limited in our media activity, but will also organize offline actions, gazering civil activists and getting them acquainted among themselves.
A very Important forum for us is our annual Syktyvkar Barcamp - a two-day seminar in the pine wood where we gather 300 - 400 people and which we are going to carry out the third time this year.
I would like to invite all of you who are present today at this conference to participate in this event on July 5-6. Barents is the region which we won't surprise with the white nights, but the rest you will undoubtedly injoy.
You can ask antymosquitoes spreys from the people with badges.
Our region faces very serious challenges. It is already obvious that commercial development of the Arctic will be accompanied by the rigid pressure upon civil society of northwest regions of Russia, militarization, and pseudo-patriotic information campaigns. The environmental problems of the Arctic are widely known - on our site there appeared saing without excess modesty shining blogger materials about petrofloods, we actively develop a subject of a nuclear burial ground in Ukhta and some other topics. The history of unprecedented pressure upon activists of the nativ population of the Arctic with the purpose of assembly president's election convenient for he authorities is less known.
And without that not a really strong civil society of the North faces massive information campaigns, intimidation, direct purchase of some activists.
The northen regions of Russia presented here are very different. In some of those regions the civil society is separate and disoriented, and in other regions iit is stronger. Our media - is the real tool for obtaining truthful information and for strengthening of a civil society.
Read 7x7 journal.ru