Columbia University in the City of New York

Harriman Institute




Conveying Truth: Independent Media in Putin’s Russia

This event was held virtually as a Zoom webinar and streamed via YouTube Live.

Please join the Harriman Institute and the Columbia Journalism School for a discussion with award-winning journalist Ann Cooper in conversation with Galina Timchenko, CEO of Meduza, moderated by Alexander Cooley, director, Harriman Institute.

Ann Cooper recently published the report Conveying Truth: Independent Media in Putin’s Russia, which traces the rise of independent media during the glasnost period of the late Soviet years, its evolution through the turbulent 90s, its struggle to survive in Vladimir Putin’s Russia, and the recent growth of a “new wave” of independent media outlets. Cooper frames this historical review within the COVID-19 crisis, analyzing coverage of the crisis by Russian media, both independent and state-run. In this webinar she will present her findings and discuss the status of independent media in Russia with journalist Galina Timchenko, CEO of the news site Meduza.

Ann Cooper is an award-winning journalist, former executive director of the Committee to Protect Journalists, and Professor Emerita at Columbia Journalism School. Cooper’s voice was well known to National Public Radio listeners as NPR’s first Moscow bureau chief, covering the tumultuous events of the final five years of Soviet communism. She co-edited a book, Russia at the Barricades, about a failed 1991 coup attempt. As a Spring 2020 fellow at Harvard Kennedy School’s Shorenstein Center, she published Conveying Truth: Independent Media in Putin’s Russia, which traces the history of independent Russian media from the glasnost era to the coronavirus pandemic.

Galina Timchenko is a Russian journalist and CEO of Meduza, a Riga, Latvia-based online news site. She started Meduza in October 2014 with several former journalists of, from which she was fired in March 2014. After being dismissed, the employees of issued a statement that the purpose of the move was to install a new editor in chief controlled directly by the Kremlin and turn the widely quoted news website into a propaganda tool. Timchenko joined in 1999, rising from monitoring officer to chief editor to, in 2004, editor in chief. From 1997 to 1999, she worked as an editor at the Kommersant newspaper.

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