Superficial Analysis for History
Making history is one of the characteristics of journalism. I first realized it when, in my second year of studies, I turned the pages of the old Iveria at the Public Library and felt how the ball held at the end of the XIX century at my unseen ancestor Ivane Jaiani's house in my home town Kutaisi was reviving in front of me. It was an incredible feeling though other stories published in the newspaper were not less emotional. I travelled to Georgia of those times.
Will up-to-date media make the XXII century Georgian travel to modern Georgia? How close this trip will be to reality? Will be two public-political weekly magazines, which are not tabloids, able to give a full picture? Let's see what kind of Georgia can be seen, let's say the period of June 28 - July 4 through the Liberal and the Tabula magazines. Due to the specifics weekly editions do not cover all the events of the week but the media of the kind can single out and thoroughly discuss these topics.
During the week of preparation of these magazines for publication media outlets covered, at different frequency rate, the following topics: President's visit to UAE, parliamentary chairperson's visit to Brussels, Foreign Minister's visit to Germany and Irakli Alasania's visit to Washington; the US State Secretary's expected visit to Georgia, Austrian Foreign Minister's visit to Georgia; Obama's and Medvedev's meeting, Sukhum's temporary withdrawal from Geneva talks, the trainings of Russian troops deployed in Georgia, the Hague court prosecutor's office representatives' arrival in Tbilisi; staff changes in the authorities, new tax code and expected increase in prices; corporal's murder in the armed forces; the armed forces veteran asking Russian authorities for shelter; a homeless family's settlement in the underground pedestrian crossing, Gldani bridge destruction, dismantling of Stalin monument in Gori center.
The latter found itself in the very center of attention of both magazines but the whole content of the editions is far more interesting. The Liberal and the Tabula are a 48-page and 72-page magazines respectively. Six out of eight news in the Liberal magazine are devoted to Georgia-related topics, while the Tabula devotes just five news out of 18. The Liberal publishes 18 articles, 13 out of them are focused on Georgia. The Tabula offers its readers 33 stories, 18 of them are about Georgia. In addition to the removal of Stalin monument the magazines were concerned about the possible closer relations between Donald Trump and Georgia and the tax code whose possible amendments were widely discussed in media.
Both magazines offer the former finance minister Kakha Bendukidze's stance on the tax system. His viewpoint is given as a column in the Tabula and as an interview in the Liberal. The Tabula was also concerned about the moral aspects of the Georgian Lari inflation. With regard to politics the Tabula devoted a long interview with Deputy Foreign Minister Giga Bokeria on a temporary withdrawal of Sukhumi and Tskhinvali from Geneva talks (and general situation regarding occupied territories). The Liberal provided brief article on the issue. But instead the latter responded to the Abkhazia-related issue, or to be more exact, Baghapsh's anti-corruption goals, in a separate material.
Out of political aspects the Liberal devoted keen attention to possible changes in the authorities, a possible creation of the youth ministry, Georgian left-wing political parties. The Tabula focused its attention on the US-application of the word "occupation" as well as governmental changes and a well-known letter (Georgian Mafia Planning Coup) by the Frankfurter Rundshau. In addition the Tabula inclusively tells its readers about the Polish elections expected to be held, the replacement of the general for the US and NATO forces in Afghanistan, presidential elections held in Columbia, recent elections in Europe, the situation in Central Asia (a column by David. A. Smith).
For the Liberal magazine foreign countries are closer. "Neighbors" is the title for the rubric which tells about Zaporozhe where Stalin's monument was erected this autumn and Chechnya being under Ramzan Kadirov's "cultural terror." The latter doesn't even feel lazy to recommend singers how to dress and what to sing, directs artists which direction to follow, prescribes builders what kind of buildings to construct and personally approves their projects.
In general politics and economics are the fields the media regularly devotes space to but the public-related issues, to be more exact social issues, remain beyond the attention of many media outlets. Softly speaking that is unfair. Politics, economics, foreign relations in normal countries are being developed to have the citizens satisfied. Otherwise the states can't be built. Accordingly the problems Georgia faces in this regard should be of interest to media.
In this regard the Liberal was concerned about flood in Tbilisi, our relations with the Soviet past, the danger the school autonomies might face, the crossing line of medicine and religion, reconstruction of the Ballet and Opera House. In addition the magazine offers a journalism investigation Narcotic Republic of Georgia.
The Tabula brought into focus: Abortion and mournful Georgian statistics, Georgian ballet troupe at Jacob's Pillow festival, Literature Fortunetelling within Saba literary awards, books' fair (Baku Sulakauri's column), sex-shop, that we don't have (Zaza Burchuladze's column), survey of vegetative situation carried out at Cambridge University, sexual scandal around Albanian Minister of Culture, French cannibal Nicolas Collaine and a Swedish family hiding the gender of their child aged 2,5, dressing him/her up with the clothes of both gender and stating it is being done for the freedom of their child.
Six pages in the Tabula are devoted to sport, totally to the foreign one, under the influence of world championship and not only (the Liberal devotes two pages to sport). The Tabula offers its readers the world fashion, Jackson's "eternal thriller" and it all somehow fortifies the impression that the magazine (at least this edition) missed a greater part of real Georgia. In other words the Tabula offered us a kind of "view from above" and didn't squander on what people have got to say: the magazine, through this edition, makes history with no place for everyone.
The Liberal somehow tries to include everything, feature stories from inside, inclusively but the edition discussed above looks a bit eclectic. It is missing a backbone. In case of the Tabula this backbone is strong even excessively and it takes up a form of ideological instrument. The only thing linking these editions is church, both keep censuring it.
At the very end of the superficial analysis one can say that whatever two editions of the given magazines are going to offer the XXII century Georgian is the story of different Georgia (interests and problems).