St Petersburg University holds a journalism programme at the Sirius Educational Centre

November 14, 2022

St Petersburg University lecturers, doctoral students and graduates are involved in the implementation of the journalism programme at the Sirius Educational Centre in Sochi. It is part of the area of study "Creative Writing". It is headed by Professor Elena Kazakova, Director of the Institute of Pedagogy at St Petersburg University.

For the second year in a row, the module "Author’s Text" in the programme is headed by Kamilla Nigmatullina, Head of the Department of Digital Media Communications and Professor at St Petersburg University. The module focuses on various genres of journalism. Kamilla Nigmatullina delivered a mini-course on storytelling and a lecture on trends in social networks. ‘Communication with schoolchildren at Sirius is always a surprise arising from strong motivation, interesting work, questions, and from not at all false modesty about our successes. And yet, I go to them not only with the desire to teach, to acquaint them with current trends in social media, but also to give an idea about what it is like to study at St Petersburg University,’ she said. ‘Curiously enough, this year my group included two children who were the participants in the case championship at the House of Journalists, which we held in the spring. This means that talented children and I walk the same paths. And the road leads to the University.’

The first session in journalism at Sirius was held in the autumn of 2021. This time, the programme brought together even more talented schoolchildren than last year, i.e. 85 people from 40 regions of Russia.

Among what makes an educational internship at Sirius unique is a rich educational process and a large amount of practice in writing texts in various genres. As a result, the authors of the best texts receive the opportunity to publish their materials in the almanac. ‘Working with Sirius interns is a very responsible and stressful task. In an extremely short time, less than a week, you need to explain to schoolchildren aged 14 to 17 what analytics is, how to write it, discuss a variety of topics with them, and correct drafts. At the University, a whole semester is allotted for the same tasks. The schedule of schoolchildren also adds up to the complexity. Along with the main seminars, they have additional classes, excursions, and events. Their ability to cope with the tasks cannot but delight us,’ said Aleksandra Litvinova, Assistant Professor in the Department of Digital Media Communications at St Petersburg University and moderator of the seminar on analytical journalism.

Natalia Pavlushkina, Associate Professor in the Department of Digital Media Communications, taught schoolchildren the technologies how to create interviews. The essay workshop and mini-course "Ed Media Text: how to write about education" was led by Svetlana Shchelokova, Assistant Professor in the Department of International Journalism. Polina Zainullina, Head of the Office for Journalism in the Public Relations Department at St Petersburg University, offered a course on copywriting and creative methods in problem solving, and a workshop on presentations. Aleksandr Poliakov, a doctoral student in the academic programme "Journalism", taught interns to create texts about themselves and produce video content. Aleksandra Iaroshchuk, a graduate of St Petersburg University and editor-in-chief of, gave a course "I’m going to eat", where the trainees prepared the electronic newspaper Gastronaut.

Along with the obligatory modules (media texts seminars, thematic mini-courses, and workshop on texts of new nature) and elective activities (lectures, workshops, and creative meetings), St Petersburg University held the Media Literacy Day. ‘Today is the time when every second person produces content. We are exposed to an overflow of information, often contradictory and false. We no longer understand who to believe. What is more is that neural networks are getting smarter. Sometimes it is impossible to distinguish who the author of the text is: a living person or a machine. How to navigate all this, how to recognise fakes and mistakes, and how to protect yourself when working in the media are what Media Literacy Day is about,’ said Natalia Pavlushkina.

The journalistic session within the area of study "Creative Writing" is implemented in cooperation between the Institute of Pedagogy and the Graduate School of Journalism and Mass Communication at St Petersburg University. Experts and professionals from the media industry join the programme as instructors.

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