Doctor of Philology
Dean, Head of the Chair of Media Theory and Economics, Faculty of Journalism, Lomonosov Moscow State University, Moscow, Russia
The mass media have become one of the crucial institutions of modern society; it is hard to overestimate their role in the formation of people’s beliefs, values, and physiological characteristics. The media industries are now an integral part of the leisure and entertainment industries. With free time becoming a key economic resource of society, the individual lives and psychological well-being of people are significantly influenced by the processes of mass communication and by media companies; this level of influence results in the emergence of a new human being—homo mediatis.
Keywords: mass media, media industry, media psychology, media audience, homo mediates.
The 21st century has been characterized by tremendous changes in mass-media systems. The rapid growth of the Internet, inspired by the progress of communication technologies and digitalization, has resulted in the rise of new interactive media. Developments contributing to the scope and speed of media production and distribution have drawn particular attention to the information security of audiences – in particular, to protecting children from content that might be harmful and not appropriate for their age. Unlike adults, who are accustomed to living in an information-rich society, children cannot understand and filter content. Digital media, with their profound effects on a young audience, definitely affect children’s psychology and emotions.
Recognizing this development, the most economically advanced countries have elaborated specific media policies to ensure that children receive the advantages of new media and simultaneously are kept safe from harmful content. These policies, aimed at traditional media (press and analogue broadcasting), have been based on legal approaches, but in digital reality laws do not always produce the same desired effects because the law-making process often does not keep up with technological change. Governments, therefore, have to share their responsibilities with the nongovernmental – private business and civil– sectors. Even countries with strong government influence over public life, such as Singapore, are working toward a co-regulated and self-regulated mass-media industry. Many foreign countries, including those in Western Europe, North America, and Asia, already have experience with these policies.
The article reviews practices in the field of media aimed at guaranteeing children’s information security and at opposing harmful content. It points to key aspects of the regulation of market-driven media content in different countries.
Keywords: mass media, children’s information security, children and the mass media, self-regulation of the mass media, Internet regulation
Background. The necessity to introduce digital technologies in education and in the professional training of journalism students in particular has been widely discussed in the theory and practice of education over the past 20 years. From the point of view of both future research and training, it becomes very important to study the development of journalists’ professional competencies and professional identity in the online environment.
Objective. To study the experience of distance learning by students in the faculty of journalism at Lomonosov Moscow State University during the period of restrictive measures in connection with the COVID-19 pandemic (Spring 2020).
Design. A two-stage empirical project studied the opinions of students about distance learning, to identify its effectiveness for the formation of professional competencies and identity. In the first stage, a qualitative (investigative) study was conducted on a small sample using semi-formalized tools. In the second stage, a formal survey was conducted on a representative sample (N = 576).
Results. We found that in order to achieve the social, educational, and cognitive presence necessary for effective online education, an important condition is the communication environment and stable communication among all participants: students, professors, and academic departments. However, the communicative environment of the traditional training process is not transferred to the online environment in its original form. With Internet technologies, it is difficult to provide a strong teaching presence, which is a catalyst for the development of social and cognitive presence and a key component of traditional professional training. In the online learning mode, students are overloaded with self-study and written assignments, and mastering the necessary professional knowledge, competencies, and skills becomes their own responsibility.
Not all components of the traditional educational process (types and forms of classes, educational materials, etc.), remain effective when transferred to the online environment.
Conclusion. The formation of professional competencies, as well as the social, cognitive, and behavioral components that determine the further development of professional identity, is difficult in distance education. Online learning cannot be regarded as a full-fledged alternative to the traditional higher professional education of journalists.
Keywords: professional identity, journalism students, online learning, teaching presence