James Rodgers covers western journalism from Lenin to Putin
James Rodgers with the cover of his new book
Chiswick-based writer James Rodgers, is about to publish his new book Assignment Moscow: Reporting on Russia from Lenin to Putin.
James Rodgers was a journalist for the BBC and Reuters for over two decades covering Russia’s turbulent post-Soviet period
His book reveals how journalists’ experiences reporting on Russia for the past 100 years mirrors the country’s changing attitude to the West, and provides insights into their own media agenda.
With a foreword from the British author and broadcaster Martin Sixsmith, the book analyses western journalists’ news coverage of Russia from the siege of the Winter Palace and a plot to kill Stalin, to the Chernobyl explosion and the Salisbury poison scandal.
Reporting on Russia has always presented challenges. From the revolutionary period of the First World War onwards, correspondents have tried to tell the story of a country known to few outsiders. At different times it has been alternately open to western journalists, cautious and distant or, for much of the twentieth century, all but closed off.
During the early years of Khrushchev’s leadership during WWII, Russia’s leaders wanted to improve ties with the West and access for correspondents improved. This, Russian officials realised, also had the added benefit of greater exposure on major international news outlets, boosting Russia’s standing in the eyes of the world and, as a result, in Russia too. Then in the early years of the Cold War, relations changed and the Soviet authorities no longer wanted western correspondents in the USSR, and made it expensive and unproductive for reporters.
Assignment Moscow reveals not just the changing freedoms offered to press in the country but how these freedoms have ultimately shaped the West’s perception of the biggest country in the world. The result brings into focus a country often misunderstood, misremembered and maligned under Putin – whose war on journalism is the latest development in its long and crucial history.
As James says, “During the Cold War, the Soviet Union did its best to stop its people reading and listening to Western news media, but in our age, they attack it instead.”
Since 2012, James has taught Journalism at City, University of London where he has lectured on International News, the reporting of armed conflict, and the History of Journalism. James is now a Senior Contributor to Forbes, and also comments on Russia for the BBC, NBC Think, and other media outlets. He is the author of three other books on journalism and international affairs.
It is due to be published on 23 July and is available to pre-order on Amazon.
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July 21, 2020