Media Communications Programme at HSE
Comprehensive studies in the media and cultural industries have taken a significant place in social sciences worldwide over the past 15-20 years. This development programme at HSE has been proving its popularity. Today, we have an opportunity to find out the impressions that have been made on World Economy current graduates that took this course on their second and third years.
These students are Tatyana Tolstykh, Milena Shuldyakova, Ekaterina Rozhkova, and Nika Chikvashvili.
Why did you choose Media Communications Programme? How has the programme influenced your interest in the media?
Milena: Initially, when I was choosing a course, I wanted it to be not too stressful and more social. I mean I wanted there to be a lot of communication and creativity. And when I started asking other guys about the courses, many people said that this course is something for the soul, creative, and there are a lot of unusual and cool tasks.
I’d say I wasn’t interested in how it all works before, but I’ve always been in some kind of media field. Our generation consume new resources, new formats, podcasts and advertisements all the time. So, there was no awareness at first, I rather chose something for my soul, to broaden my horizons. It turned out that way that I began to be very much interested in particular disciplines of the course though. That was the starting point of my journey in journalism.
Katya: Well, at first, I had chosen a different course, but, unfortunately, it didn’t live up to my expectations. And I decided to switch to the media, because my friends had already studied there, and I heard only positive feedback from them. Previously, I wasn’t professionally interested in the media industry and journalism in particular, only as a media user. So, I was curious about learning more about journalism and digital media. And my interest was fulfilled. Now I feel like I’ve become familiar with the industry and realized that it’s possible to master it.
Tanya: My interests have always been on the verge between my specialization and the creative field. Every year since I was 9, I’ve been to the "Kinoezhik" cinema camp. I was there both a counselor and a stage movement tutor. When I graduated from the HSE Lyceum, we wrote a final work, and my research was related to the media. It’s called "Public speech and the media." I researched ways of manipulation and interpretation of public speech on the example of the Clinton-Trump debate in 2016.
Nika: Since I was high in the rating, I understood that I had to benefit from it and choose a good course. Back at the day, good courses included data mining, media, and contemporary art. So, I decided to go with the media and communications. Before I started studying global economy, I thought about media and communications major, because the creative flow seemed to me more attractive. I thought we would study a lot of cinematography on the Programme. I’d like my career to be related the cinema economy. But I cannot say that it was a course that gave me an understanding of what cinematography is.
How do professors contribute to the educational process?
Milena: Svetlana Sorokina was my favorite professor who taught the journalism module. When she started the module in our third year, she brought data journalists from Novaya Gazeta who came to present the modern ways to prepare material with the help of digital technologies. We even had a whole day hackathon, during which we felt like research journalists. It was at that moment that I realized that I was interested in media, and now I even think about getting my master degree in data journalism.
Svetlana I. Sorokina
Katya: I liked Anna Kachkaeva and Svetlana Sorokina the most. They are professionals in their field and are very engaged in teaching. This makes students get interested, too. For professional purposes, their lectures could be very useful. Svetlana Sorokina even arranged an excursion to the Dozhd TV channel for us. It was great to see how people work and edit news right at the moment.
Tanya: I think that thanks to the professors, we’ve got a lot of new knowledge and skills. We’ve worked with people who are actively involved in the media environment, and who know it from the inside, from a practical point of view. We had 4 main modules which are news literacy, audiovisual communication, journalism and digital media of the future.
Nika: One of our subjects was taught by Yuri Burtsev. He's a rather bright personality both by himself and at the Faculty of Media Communications. He has many acquaintances in the media world. Recently, in some interview, he said that he knew a Soviet animator Garri Bardin.
What kind of group projects did you do?
Milena: Our group projects were the coolest part of the programme. In the 1st year, with the guys who are studying in business informatics, we made a project about fake news in social networks in order to learn how to distinguish fake news from real ones. Then, we studied the history of the development of cinematography; the profession of cameraman, director, etc.; how the industry works. So, we were given a list of the very first films that everyone should watch. Afterwards, we did a project about Georges Melies, who is the founder of the world film industry. That was exciting.
The most interesting period was during the quarantine. Me and my team mates Nastya Romanova and Andrey Nosov made "Quarantine Diary in Memes" as a final project. We’ve collected various pandemic forced memes and with the help of them restored the chronology of the development of coronavirus in Moscow.
Katya: One of the projects was that we had to find an event in Moscow and make a news report. That is, the projects were very different and interesting. Me, Tanya and Nika went to shoot at the Non-Fiction exhibition which was an exhibition of books of popular science literature. It took place at Gostiny dvor, which was rather unusual. We were lucky with having interviewed the authors of one of the books that was presented there as well.
All projects on the course are designed to teach you how to present information in a structured way, fit into timing and do it succinctly. The great advantage of working in teams is our cohesion, live communication and healthy discussion.
Tanya: In the 1st year, we learned to show history through photographs. This was our first project. The aim was to take a series of photographs that would tell a story without attaching any text. We also did a project on Ikea's advertising campaign and different kinds of marketing communications they carry out. In the 2nd year, in journalism module, we had the largest number of projects. As Katya has already said, we were filming a report with all sorts of transitions and editing. I was responsible for filming and editing, Nika was the correspondent, and Katya was the voiceover.
Nika: I like it at the beginning if the course when we did a lot of collages and presentations. Once, we had an assignment to watch a film and write an essay about it, and I chose The Truman Show. Also, at the end of the programme, my team filmed a podcast about the culture of coffee. Katya, Tanya and me made it from home by zoom. We interviewed consumers and producers, for example, Artem Temirov, the owner of the Chernyi Coffee.
What did you like or remember the most about the course?
Milena: We were always given fairly abstract problems to solve, but we were to choose the topics ourselves in teams, discussing different ideas. We’ve acquired new skills: working with media literacy and various sources of information, platforms, creating websites, etc. Some groupmates with these projects participated in the "I am a professional" Olympiad.
Katya: Many guys filmed high-quality projects and posted them on YouTube. One team visited the Moscow Film Festival and interviewed celebrities there, another group went on the day of the trial of Egor Zhukov and made a full news report about it. The range of the projects was wide and impressing.
Tanya: The applied experience is interesting from the point of view of specialized knowledge in journalism. When I see the news, I now understand the inner workings. Also, during self-isolation, we had a “digital media of the future” module, and we had to come up with some kind of creative and funny solution for shooting from home.
Nika: We had a hackathon experience. The girls and I analyzed data on which films are more likely to win an Oscar. But it seemed to me that we approached this a little frivolously.
Would you recommend Media Communications Programme to other students?
Milena: I always wanted a more creative profession, and I was madly lacking of such subjects in my specialization. We studied mathematical analysis, linear algebra, where you had to count something just like that and it was boring. In data journalism, you can do the same thing, but you can still present the result to the public, who will also be interested in it. I would recommend this programme.
Katya: To be completely honest, you better go there for 2 years straight, because I know that in the first year of study the guys also had many interesting projects, but, unfortunately, I missed it. It seems to me that this is a good option to add variety to your studies and broaden your horizons.
Tanya: I haven’t regretted my choice and I can recommend the course to others, especially to the students whose specializations are not related to creative ones, because this is an opportunity to develop those skills that you will not use in your major.
Nika: I cannot say that it was my best choice. I mean, it was interesting, but if I wanted to really get applied knowledge, then I would be better off choosing data mining in the first place. There really were a lot of great projects on this course, but as an artist I don't like it when creative works are judged.