This lecture draws from Natalia Roudakova’s award-winning book, Losing Pravda: Ethics and the Press in Post-Truth Russia (Cambridge University Press, 2017), which examines the spectacular professional unraveling of journalism in Russia after the fall of the Soviet Union and its broader social and cultural effects. Losing Pravda argues that a crisis of journalism is unlike any other: it fundamentally erodes the value of truth-seeking and truth-telling in a society. For this lecture, Roudakova will focus on the Soviet period, specifically on how relations of confidence and trust were established between newspaper readers and Soviet journalists. This is especially relevant today in light of the crisis of trust in mainstream media across the world, and in light of various attempts to revive participatory, impact- and solutions-driven journalism in Western newsrooms.
Natalia Roudakova is a cultural anthropologist (Ph.D., Stanford University, 2007) working in the fields of political communication, journalism, and media studies, with an interest in moral philosophy and political and cultural theory. Roudakova has a broad international research and teaching profile, having worked as an Assistant Professor at the Department of Communication, University of California in San Diego; as Visiting Professor at Erasmus University in Rotterdam (Netherlands); and as Researcher in the Department of Communication at Södertörn University, Sweden.
In 2013-2014, Roudakova was a Fellow at the Center for Advanced Study in the Behavioral Sciences in Palo Alto, California, where she completed her award-winning book, Losing Pravda: Ethics and the Press in Post-Truth Russia (Cambridge University Press, 2017). Losing Pravda examines the spectacular professional unraveling of journalism in Russia during the 1990s and 2000s and its societal ramifications. More broadly, Losing Pravda tracks how a post-truth society comes into being, illuminating the historical and cultural emergence of “fake news,” disinformation (kompromat), and general distrust in politics and public life.
Roudakova’s new research is focused on the phenomenology of news perception in the digital age. Specifically, she is studying how young adults in Russia perceive and practice news, and how news is made meaningful in their everyday lives.