This is the transcript of The James Cameron Memorial Lecture entitled ‘Democratic Inbalance:Who Decides What’s News” delivered at City University in London on Monday February 22nd
AS a language student during the dying days of the Soviet Union I lived with a woman and her son in what was then Leningrad and now St. Petersburg. Every week day evening around 8.45pm my hostess would get herself ready to take their dog, a cocker spaniel called Redek, for a walk. Since I’m no lover of the cold and not a great lover of dogs I would watch with bemusement as she readied herself and Redek for the trip to the local park. By 8.55 she’d be out the door. You could set your watch by it.
Everybody has their routines and I thought little of it until Spring came and I decided, one night, to accompany her. I noted a slight urgency in her voice as she stood by the door, lead in hand, while I combed the flat for my hat. We made it out on time – though on time for what wasn’t exactly clear – and arrived at the park to find scores of dog owners already there. “What’s this?” I asked. “It looks like a meeting.”
“We call it the “dog hour”,” she explained. “It’s when the state news, Vremya, is on. We don’t want to listen to the propaganda so we walk our dogs.”