Rita Loginova spoke about how a journalist
from the province to become the best in the "social sphere"
in the country
Margarita Loginova is one of the most well-known Russian media journalists who specialize in the social sphere. She lives in Novosibirsk, works at Taiga.info, but writes for "big" publications: about HIV / AIDS, modern slavery, domestic violence - topics that many journalists do not dare to take on.
In 2021, Rita Loginova moved to work in the publication Takie dela.
Rita, is it correct to call you a regional journalist?
- It doesn't bother me at all. I live in the region, in this sense I am the same resident of the Novosibirsk region, Siberia, like everyone else. I understand how people live here - and this is important for a journalist. On the other hand, right now I don't feel any boundaries at all and I feel that I can write for any publication that is interested in collaborating, because today, in 2019, this is not at all difficult to do.
Do you see a trend related to expanding opportunities for regional journalists, or is it still a "unique offer" from the capital's editorial offices for specific authors from the regions?
- Look, due to the fact that I work for Taiga.info, it turns out that I cling to the glory of this publication a little and I am known precisely as a Taiga journalist. Plus, probably, I have developed a personal reputation - exactly in those topics that I write about. In particular, the Mediazone and the BBC Russian Service publish texts about HIV, and I write on this topic quite often. That is, regional journalists can write for the federal media, who are "stubborn" on some topic of their own: the person is very well versed in it, so it is not surprising that he was ordered to write a text. In general, this is a story that if you are very good at a topic, it does not matter at all where you sit on a chair. Here is an example: Viktor Vilisov [the most fashionable theater critic in Russia, author of the book "We are all sick: how the theater became modern, but we did not notice it" - ed. In some places] - he first sat in Blagoveshchensk, worked a little in Novosibirsk, and, as a result, no matter how different theatrical institutions treat him, now he works great at Afisha - but at some point he just "stuck" in the theater. This is one story.

The second story is that if something is happening in the region, and you are "close to the point", some colleagues from the federal media may ask you to unsubscribe the topic quickly. Or quality. If they suddenly do not have their own journalist on site or they cannot send a special correspondent to your city. This story also happens to me sometimes, but, unfortunately, I'm "in the wrong resource" now, because, in addition to a journalist, I'm also a mother - for example, on Meduza I didn't get a certain number of texts, it's just because at that very moment I got into the car and went to the kindergarten for the child. But in such cases, of course, you can always advise them "one of your own" - and now another regional journalist writes for a federal publication, because he is a great fellow. And he doesn't have to go to kindergarten.
And how is the process of communication between a journalist from the region and the editor of the federal media? Who orders themes?
- In my case, the editor usually writes to me in the messenger that he wants to understand what is happening - with a link to some news, he asks if it is worthy of attention. With a number of reactions, I can be the initiator of writing the text myself. I can come up with a topic, suggest it to someone, discuss it. The advantage of my themes is that they are not very hot - some disgusting things happen to us all all the time: it didn't explode, fall, fly into the air, but such a long daily fuck. Now I owe material to "Taiga" for the third month already - this, of course, is very bad, it's impossible. I reassure myself only that I am a young mother now more than a journalist.
MESTAMEDIA - 8 - LOginova
Every time I go through this "fusty": from the selection of material and decoding, when you can no longer, until the moment when the text is collected and ready for publication, from the moment when you think that the topic is of no interest to anyone - until the moment when the material is published and the first reactions went
How big is the market for such freelancers in Russia?
— I am often asked to advise someone. In the Far East, I now know few people, but from Irkutsk to the Urals I will find someone to advise. Firstly, we often communicate at some conferences, forums and seminars, and secondly, because I read quite a lot of regional media - I wonder how topics close to me are seen through the eyes of other regional journalists.
Tell me, how realistic is it for a journalist of a regional editorial office to break away from the routine and work on a large text?
- Neither I nor my colleagues from Taiga.info can afford to write one topic for weeks without doing anything else. Of course, when you enter the critical phase of working on the text, you can ask for insurance for a couple of days - but you need to understand that in this case someone else will do your usual work.
I love to write in general. I would like to work in this field for another 15 years, until my flower withered. I like when my text comes out. Every time I go through this "fusty": from the selection of material and decoding, when you can no longer, until the moment when the text is collected and ready for publication, from the moment when you think that the topic is of no interest to anyone - until the moment when the material is published and the first reactions started. All this makes me wildly rushing and I want to continue to pearl.
If you look at the situation from the point of view of the editors, how much do they absolutely need a correspondent "on the spot"? Can you simply have a database of contacts, for example, in Novosibirsk - or is it necessary to send a special correspondent - "a white bone in a white collar" - so that he can figure out the problem on the "ground"?
- In my opinion, both strategies work. Because, for example, I will read the text of Olesya Gerasimenko from any region - because I adore and love her. Her opinion is very valuable, despite the fact that she lives in Moscow and writes about the regions. But what is absolutely important is the recommendations. This is the name of the publication with which the journalist works in the region, and these are connections with colleagues. This is decisive.
Can you name those regional publications in Russia whose names in a journalist's resume are such a "quality mark"?
- If you start from the East - there are worthy journalists in Irsiti, in Tomsk - TV2, in Yekaterinburg - It's My City. By the way, Shkulev's sites are also a sign of quality, despite the fact that they are a bit specific. I would also advise the NGS to read - if we are talking about Novosibirsk, because there are many professional journalists there. The whole grid is 7x7... Another thing is how the editorial policy is built in the publication - can a journalist write somewhere else without harming himself, or does he need, for example, to look for a pseudonym so as not to burn, or to persuade the "receiving party" in parentheses write the name of your regional publication. But it seems to me that giving a journalist the opportunity to work with someone else is normal, simply because a person will try his hand at working with another editor, and simply receive a normal fee by federal standards.
Look, "Taiga" is known as a publication about Siberia. Don't you feel jealous when the Ural "Znak" writes about Yakutia, and the Syktyvkar 7x7 writes about Kuzbass?
— Listen, well, if a good text comes out, in which there are no outright factual blunders, why not? On the contrary, I am glad that some kind of competition is being created - when you feel that someone is stepping on your tail, this is a reason to grow. Well, here is an example close to you: the Omsk site Om1 tried to enter Novosibirsk - it looked funny and sad at the same time and did not look like competition. But Taiga has also recently changed its concept: we are a federal site with an emphasis on Siberia. And this does not prevent me from going to the UK to write a text on some topic that unites Novosibirsk and London.
Do you think it is possible in principle to create materials based on the collaboration of journalists from different regions?
- I have had several such experiences. It was a material about gold mining in Altai, it was produced by Silamedia, journalists from different regions gathered there, a special project was eventually released on "My friend" - I acted there both as an author and as an editor. There was cross-border material from the program "Perspectives" - about migrant girls in our cities. And there was material on prisoners, which we did under the guidance of Sergei Kolotovkin - from Silamedia, TV2 and our colleagues from Perm's Zvezda. In principle, it's great when you manage to look at the problem more broadly than you could do it only in your region. Because some things can be very similar, and some things are completely different. If we want to influence something, then we must show not only the negative, but also some positive experience in resolving issues with neighbors, for example. Another thing is that it is necessary to have someone on top who knows how to build relationships between the participants in the inter-editorial process, because without him the machine does not move: the texts do not give up on time, there is no concept.
MESTAMEDIA - 9 - Loginova
If we want to influence something, then we must show not only negative, but also some positive experience in resolving issues.
We talked about the reputation of the media. If you make two lists: white - publications for which you are always glad and which are glad to you, and black - publications for which you basically do not want to write - what will these lists look like?
- "White List": I love "Mediazona" very much, I really like "Takie dela", I really like how the BBC Russian Service has looked in the last two years. When I was thinking about moving to Moscow, Kommersant fell into this "circle of dreams" - for me it is a media with a great reputation, despite all the stories that happen to it.

And the "black list" - at the point where I am now, it would be unpleasant for me to work with Life, Komsomolskaya Pravda, Moskovsky Kosomolets, Baza, today's Lenta.ru. But at the same time, in general, I respect their audience - this is a large number of people who read them, and if they get what they want, then thank God. Again, we are all changing - and publications are growing above themselves, and we are changing. "Taiga.info" turns 16 these days - at the start it was a rather strange publication for us today, perhaps I would not want to work in it - then, 15-16 years ago.
Do you think that you have some topics for the audience of "Komsomolskaya Pravda"?
- Yes. Can you imagine? There was a story about a child who was taken into a foster family, and he turned out to have HIV - I did some checking: there was a huge amount of sharing material on this topic on VKontakte from the Komsomolskaya Pravda website! It turns out that the story written for "Taiga.info" went well with the audience of "Komsomolskaya Pravda"! This is the same Russia, described a little differently. The audience of Komsomolskaya Pravda reads and understands my "painful" topics.
You specialize in rather complex topics, which we usually call a little condescendingly with the word "social sphere" - this is HIV / AIDS, this is drug addiction, this is domestic violence. Young journalists are ready to write about such "painful" topics? It's a standard story when interns, when asked what they would like to write about, always say: "About culture."
- Interns often come to us - students of the Faculty of Journalism of the Novosibirsk State University, who need to work out their summer practice. And during the time I've been working at Taiga, I've seen enough young people who came aiming at me, saying: "We analyzed your texts at lectures and we want to write about the social sphere." The word, by the way, is quite normal.
Do they succeed?
- Those people with whom I managed to work, fall into the nominees of the "Editorial Board", for example. Yes, it's hard for us to get into the finalists and win, but if this list is considered some kind of quality mark - and we don't have another one - then I'm basically satisfied. Of course, working with young journalists is not always easy, but it's great because you get a good return. It's not that I consider myself a great editor, but I ended up in such a position - I myself love it when I, as an author, have a healthy exchange of opinions with the editor so that I can understand how to make the text better - and with the guys who come to me, I try to behave the same way: not to rewrite the text for them, but to leave comments for a long, long time in Google docs. I warn you in advance that something offensive may appear in the comments - but this is not because I hate you, dear student, but because a particular passage evokes strong emotions, and together we will now try to do something with it.

People come to me for practice, burning with journalism in general and the theme of a person and how difficult it is for him to be given simple human happiness. And now - while I'm on maternity leave - one of my trainees is now working in "Taiga", I think it's great.
A journalist who writes about drug addiction, social sphere, medicine, violence, often needs the help of a psychologist himself
How often do you get asked why you took on such difficult topics yourself? And how do you get into them?
- I can't say that I'm a hardened cynic and I know how to tune out from the stories I write about. In general, I'm even joking that we need a self-help group for journalists from the "Society" department. Probably, a journalist who writes about drug addiction, social sphere, medicine, violence, most often needs the help of a psychologist himself. And it happens when you raise painful topics, readers directly connect you with them. You write about women involved in commercial sex - you can fly for it. You write about HIV infection - "it means you also have HIV." It happens and nothing can be done about it. It hurts more when people, in their reactions to the material, absolutely refuse to accept a point of view or share someone else's pain: "Burn everyone!", "It's my own fault!" - such comments are frustrating, it seems to you that you cannot change anything. You write and write, but society does not move from its positions. In such cases, I scold myself that in Russia one needs to live longer in order to see some kind of social changes. I saw such changes in the example of the topic of palliative care - five years ago in Novosibirsk it did not exist at all, and the attitude towards it was this: why take care of children who will not recover? And now we all collectively have moved from this point.

Are you more offended by the comments of readers who did not accept the topic, or comments in which you get personally?
- If we are talking about professional remarks from my colleagues that I know, or people related to the topic of the material - I will be very worried, I am quite sensitive to this, I am overly worried about this. As for the reaction of readers to the topic, it saves me that I do not work for the NHS. But you can learn to laugh at it. For example, first you have a text about an orphanage, and the next day - about abortion, and in the comments it starts: "Shameless! Yesterday I wrote about children, and today about prostitutes! She has no conscience!" It gets funny.
Interview: Aleksandr Zhirov
Photo: Vera Salnitskaya
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