Russian news execs visit, share struggles

Apparently, newspapers everywhere struggle with problems like advertising, circulation and printing color.Even in Russia.

Schieffer School of Journalism Director Tommy Thomason said after talking with an 11-member delegation of Russian news executives, he was reminded that journalists from both countries face the same issues.

“We come from different languages and cultures and different nations, but we’re both journalists,” Thomason said.

The delegation, hosted by the Rotary Club of Fort Worth, is part of the nationwide Productivity Enhancement Program, which brings Russian entrepreneurs and business owners to the United States for business training and cultural exchange, according to a press release from the Rotary Club.

Through the next two weeks, the group will hear lectures on various topics, including the role of specialty newspapers, advertising and public relations, online media and personnel management.

“I’d like for them to be able to go home with some real, tangible things they can do in the newspapers they own and operate to run their businesses even better,” said Brad Hancock, Rotary Club member and assistant director of the Neeley Entrepreneurship Center.

The delegates, most of whom own and operate their respective newspapers, will stay in the homes of volunteers and make visits to several businesses and newspapers in the area, including TCU’s journalism and business schools.

Thomason, who spoke to the delegates Monday about trends in the media and where they are today, said they asked excellent questions that showed more insight into American journalism than one might guess.

After talking with a woman about the problems facing her Russian magazine, Thomason said, “Had she been speaking English, she could just as well have come from Omaha as she did from Siberia, which was literally where she was from.”

Yelizaveta Kaminskaya, executive editor of the Krasnodar News in Southweste Russia, said she was looking forward to visiting the newsrooms of local papers.

“It’s very interesting to me how the city newspapers work, because I’m an executive editor of a daily city newspaper, and I hope I will find many useful things here,” Kaminskaya said.

Bill Lawrence, a Rotary Club volunteer, said the purpose of the program isn’t just to teach the delegates about the industry, but also to provide a cultural exchange between the delegates and their hosts.

“They can learn more about our lifestyle and the home hosts, and people they meet can learn more about their lifestyle,” Lawrence said.

As part of the cultural exchange aspect of the program, the delegates will take tours of downtown Fort Worth and the stockyards, travel to Dallas’ West End, attend a Texas Rangers baseball game and the TCU-SMU football game this weekend.