Monthly Archives: January 2018

Researcher Marielle Wijermars – “Algorithmed Public Spheres” visiting fellow at Hans-Bredow-Institute

From February through April, Russian Media Lab researcher Marielle Wijermars will be a visiting postdoctoral fellow at the Hans-Bredow-Institut for Media Research in Hamburg, Germany. During her stay, she will be working as a fellow of the “Algorithmed Public Spheres” research network coordinated by Dr. Cornelius Puschmann. The visit is generously supported by a visiting postdoctoral fellowship from the Hans-Bredow-Institute. In Hamburg, Marielle will conduct a research project on the regulation of news aggregators in Russia, as well contribute to ongoing collaborative research projects on, e.g., search engines.

To find out more about the “Algorithmed Public Spheres” postdoctoral research network, click here.

CfP “Changing Media Landscapes in Russia” – Special issue of Russian Journal of Communication

Call for Papers – Special issue of Russian Journal of Communication on

“Changing Media Landscapes in Russia”

Until recently, Russia was regarded as a relatively closed regime that pursued a rather open internet policy (e.g. Oates, 2007; Toepfl, 2012, 2014). The Russian media has been called a two-tier, dichotomous media system “where some outlets, notably national TV, [were] very tightly controlled, while others, including the Internet, [were] allowed a substantial degree of freedom” (Dunn, 2014, p. 1425). However, the 2011 legislation and the amendments implemented in 2015 to 2017 signal a tightening of the regulations of the online sphere. The upcoming 2018 Russian Presidential elections might result in further pressure on various media outlets, platforms etc. At the same time, the control and co-optation of the media in Russia is not as uniform as it might seem (Bodrunova and Litvinenko, 2013, 2015). For instance, there are manifestations of alternative voices even in the state controlled traditional media such as TV (Hutchings and Tolz, 2015). There is therefore a need for a more nuanced understanding of media systems in Russia. Instead of treating the Russian media-scape as a uniform, homogenous, and tightly controlled space, this special issue aims at offering an up-to-date account of diverse journalist practices, regional differences, and converging media sub-systems in Russia.

In particular, in this special issue we’ll look at the changing nature of Russian media landscape through the following lenses – however, the list is not exhaustive and other topics are very welcome:

  • The operational environment for media and journalists (regulation, ethics, pressures from outside the media field);
  • Regional differences;
  • New publication formats;
  • Converging media cultures and challenges for journalism;
  • Consumption patterns and market choices;
  • Digitization and participatory audience cultures;
  • Media manipulation, ‘cyber-hacking’ and media trust;
  • Social media and protest.

We welcome contributions from diverse fields of study and methodologies.

Key dates

The deadline for abstracts is 22nd January, 2018 (300-500 words, please indicate the central questions, methodology, and theoretical framework). Submissions are to be sent to Dr. Katja Lehtisaari and Dr. Galina Miazhevich, and

Authors will be notified of the decision by February 1, 2018

The deadline for completed articles will be 30th April, 2018, (max. 7,000 words; submission on ScholarOne and followed by a double-blind peer-review process). The final decision on acceptance will be made after the peer-review process. The preliminary publication date (after peer-review) is Autumn 2018.

About the guest editors

Dr. Katja Lehtisaari (University of Helsinki, Finland), Dr. Galina Miazhevich (Cardiff University, UK) and Dr. Svetlana Bodrunova (St. Petersburg State University, Russia) are the Editors of this special issue. The special issue is connected to the work of the Russian Media Lab, a multidisciplinary research project and international network focusing on Russian media and freedom of expression. The project examines the execution of state control mechanisms, censorship, and the remaining free spaces of independent reporting. The Russian Media Lab project (2016-2018) is coordinated by Aleksanteri Institute, University of Helsinki, Finland, and funded by Helsingin Sanomat Foundation (

Digital Russia Studies launched at University of Helsinki

On Friday 5 January the kick-off seminar of Digital Russia Studies took place at the Aleksanteri Institute. Digital Russia Studies is an initiative of Daria Gritsenko, Assistant Professor in Russian Big Data Methodology at the University of Helsinki, and Russian Media Lab researcher Marielle Wijermars. It aims to become a leading research network uniting scholars of humanities, social and computer sciences working at the intersection of the ‘digital’ and the ‘social’ in the Russian context.

First, Digital Russia Studies is the study of Russian society, politics and culture using digital humanities methods.

Second, Digital Russia Studies is the critical investigation of how Russian society, politics and culture are reconfigured in the context of digitisation, Big Data and algorithmic governance.

During our monthly seminar running throughout Spring 2018, we aim to engage with questions concerning Russian cultural history, contemporary media industries, digital dimensions of Russian politics, as well as East European perspective on Russia. We will also look into established and emerging methods and data practices.

Subscribe to the Digital Russia Studies mailing list for updates, and join us every first Friday of the month from 12:15 – 14:45 at the Aleksanteri Institute, University of Helsinki!

If you cannot join us live, please do not hesitate to tune in online! Check the Digital Russia Studies website for further details on how to participate online.


Seminar schedule – Spring 2018


2 February 2018 –> Methodology workshop

Prof. Arto Mustajoki (UH) “The research use of Integrum database from a wider perspective”

2 March 2018 –> Cake-for-comments

MA Ira Österberg (UH) “A quantitative approach to film music and Soviet Cinema 1965-1984”

MA Justyna Pierzynska (UH) “Knowledge politics in the semipherifery: Unexpected historical brotherhoods in CEE media”

6 April 2018 –> Cake-for-comments

PhD Reeta Kangas (University of Turku) TBC

4 May 2018 –> Russian Media Lab-special

Dr. Marielle Wijermars (UH)  “Control the News Feed, Control the News? Measuring the Impact of Russia’s News Aggregator Regulation”

Dr. Katja Lehtisaari (UH) TBC

1 June 2018 –> Closing of the first batch

MA Teemu Oivo (UEF) TBC

Dr. Daria Gritsenko (UH) TBC