October 01, 1997

Some Like it Cool

Just how interested are Westerners in Russia?

A recent TV show here offered some answers. It was the popular weekly TV program å˚ (“Us”), hosted by Vladimir Pozner – who many Americans know from the time he spent in the US working with Phil Donahue. Pozner asked Russia-based foreign journalists about their readers’ (or viewers’) level of interest in Russia. Most agreed on three theses: (1) they really cannot deviate from “hot” topics and some degree of negativism – which they termed “the hidden agenda” of their respective media outfits – which reputedly helps to sell their product; (2) there has been a general drop in Western interest in Russia; (3) contradicting the “conventional wisdom” of point #1, readers, listeners and TV viewers who are interested in Russia no longer like it hot – they want to hear less about the mafia, corruption and prostitutes, and more about life in Russia today, including and especially more positive reportage.

Well, at the risk of twisting an elbow (which this tennis lover is loathe to do) from patting ourselves on the back, it is reassuring to hear these top Western journalists affirming much of Russian Life’s editorial outlook. For us, hidden agendas are out. As are “hot” topics manufactured to sell magazines. As to negativism, we admit to being prone to give Russia the benefit of the doubt. But then that is the sort of thing you do for someone or something you care about.

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Russian Life is a publication of a 30-year-young, award-winning publishing house that creates a bimonthly magazine, books, maps, and other products for Russophiles the world over.

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