Mail.ru Group, Moscow, Russia
This article examines the exposure of Russian public to reports about ethnic groups in current mainstream Russian media by analyzing the amount of such reports today, as well as results of an online survey (n = 1040) aimed at revealing to what extent the public is indeed exposed to them by the respondents’ own estimations. The survey showed that generally users tend to lack information about ethnicities in mainstream media and demonstrate a certain interest in learning more about other ethnic groups in Russia through media channels. We argue thus that the public’s exposure to information about ethnic issues, although relatively high on a quantitative level (i.e., in terms of the actual number of reports), is lower on a qualitative one (i.e., the share of the respondents who actually come across such reports). The paper also reveals a number of tendencies from analyzing users’ age groups and their regions of living. In general, we believe that singling out both specifics of the public’s exposure to information about ethnicities and the connection between this exposure and the public’s attitudes toward ethnicities (which is planned as the second stage of the current research project) may contribute to better understanding of the effects media can have on their audience in terms of agenda-setting and psychological influence. The current research can also be of interest when discussing the role mass media play in building harmonious relationships between representatives of different ethnic groups in a multiethnic society such as the Russian one.
Keywords: exposure, ethnic groups, mainstream media, audience, Russia