Poverty and morality: A field theory analysis of Russia's struggling provincial journalism

Elina Erzikova, Wilson Lowrey

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


This study reflects on more than a decade of journalism in a Russian province through the prism of Pierre Bourdieu's field theory. Qualitative data were collected each summer from 2007 through 2018. In-depth interviews and focus groups at three regional newspapers revealed that reporters and editors believed external (political and economic) pressure had increased in the province, leading to greater financial dependence on the regional government. Newspapers' inability to survive without state subsidies in turn affected professional norms, resulting in a model of journalism reminiscent of the Soviet era: the regional government sets the agenda for newspapers and reporters focus mainly on what bureaucrats want to cover instead of what readers want to and/or should know. The study thus demonstrates that in Russia, the field of journalism is more heteronomous than autonomous, and its logic is fragmented, with age-old traditions and orientations channeling journalists' agency in various ways.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)345-365
Number of pages21
Issue number3
StatePublished - Jun 2020


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