“A Window to the World”: Newspapers and Soviet Foreign Correspondents in the 1960s

5th Contribution to the Forum: Journalism as a Profession in Imperial Russia and the Soviet Union: New Questions and Approaches in Russian Press History

In: Russian History
Ekaterina V. Kamenskaya Candidate of Sciences (History), Assistant Professor of the Department of Russian History, Urals Federal University Ekaterinburg Russia

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The expansion of foreign correspondent networks in the late Soviet period reflected the importance that international news and reporting had for readers of the Soviet press. This article traces the development of one such foreign correspondent network, that of the Soviet newspaper Sel’skaia zhizn’ (Rural Life), one of the most popular and widespread newspapers in the Soviet Union. Although historiographically overlooked in favor of major political newspapers like Pravda (Truth) and Izvestiia (News), Sel’skaia zhizn’ was an important source of foreign news for the rural population of the Soviet Union. The article examines the role of the editorial office of Sel’skaia zhizn’ in creating a correspondent network, tracing the geographical reach of the newspaper’s correspondents (sobkors) and analyzing their activities and different types of publications. While some materials were similar to those published in other Soviet newspapers, the specifically rural audience of Sel’skaia zhizn’ influenced the topics chosen for articles as well as the style of the authors. The newspaper became a practical guide for readers because foreign correspondents provided them with unique information about the development of agriculture abroad. The article provides research into how readers perceived international news and information in Sel’skaia zhizn’, finding that readers expected the newspaper to fulfill their needs and to reflect their own interests, even in the international section.

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