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RESULTS OF A SURVEY ABOUT THE COMPLIANCE OF RUSSIAN MEDIA WITH ISAS BC AND P 9001 STANDARDS has realized an interesting survey about Russian media on behalf of the Geneva-based Media & Society Foundation. The results shown below were drawn from 34 self-assessment questionnaires on quality management within the Russian regional media, completed in Moscow by the participants of Internews Russia "Training the trainers programme", on January the 13th, 2006. The questionnaires – translated into Russian - dealt with around 150 points. The questionnaires were anonymous, but participants had to indicate their professional quality, that is managers and consultants (20) or journalists (14).

Global trend
The consolidated results show that Russian regional media are still far from meeting the minimal requirements of ISAS BC/ P – 9001 standards (75%), with an average of more or less 40%. The reality is not uniform and this aggregation of figures hides great gaps between the different quality management aspects considered. Besides, the self evaluation can vary importantly according to the professional position of the answering persons. Basically journalists and media managers do agree on their evaluation of the general situation (points 4.1), of the quality policy state (5.3, 5.6) and of the planning issues (5.4).

Both give the highest marks (more than 50%) to management commitment (5.1), to corporate social investment (5.7), to resources provision (6.1), to facilities and infrastructures (6.3) and to management focus on stakeholder (5.2). It is to be noted that the testimonies presented during the different training sessions sounded contradictory to this latest assessment. As far as audience focus is concerned, journalists and managers did agree during their oral presentations on their bigger commitment to satisfy their owners and announcers than to meet the expectations of their audiences.

Journalists and managers self assessments mainly correspond on the Russian media management weaknesses (less than 10% mark). They agree on the lack of basic documents and internal structures to ensure quality policy (4.2.c + 5.5.c to 5.5.f, 8.5.a), on their weak mechanism to measure their products/ contents (7.5.e to 7.5.g), on the insufficient evaluation of their suppliers (7.4.e, 7.4.j) and on the very limited use of self-assessment (8.2.e). It is to be noted that this ultimate question was answered by less than the middle of the participants.

Interesting that journalists evaluate documentation requirements (4.2.b to 4.2.f) as weak (under 30%), whereas managers situate it above the average (40% to 50%). Is it to say that journalists do not know about the internal codes guiding their activities – or do not implement them? The fact they over-evaluate the existing number and role of ombudsmen (mark of 19%, when managers are putting a 4,4%) could also signify that they are not used to appeal to such mediation.

Differences according to the professional status
Globally journalists tend to be more optimistic than managers, regarding the situation of Media quality in Russia, perhaps due to their lack of some management data. This don't imply necessary that managers are more realistic; on the contrary, facing daily difficulties, they could assess their situation worse than it is. Therefore one should remain cautious by playing with statistics.

Journalists tend to minimise – compared with the managers' vision – the existing documentation (4.2), the development and control of measuring and monitoring devices (7.6) as the control of nonconformity (8.3) and the management improvement ability (8.5). Their perception of their working environment (7.1) also differs – in bad -  from the opinion of their managers. Conversely journalists over-estimate (more than 8 points of difference) the know-how and concerns of their managers, as far as management commitment (5.1), stakeholder focus (5.2), responsibility, authority and communication, analysis of data (5.5) and provision of resources (6.1) are concerned.

Understanding problem regarding the questionnaire
Last but not least, some of the asked questions were not answered by a large part of the participants (up to 50% of the participants). One can observe that journalists generally felt more comfortable than managers to answer the questions. This does not necessarily mean that the journalists had a better understanding of the issues.

The most unanswered questions are related to documentation (4.2), planning (5.4 - as far as managers are concerned), management review (5.6), purchasing (7.4), production and service operations (7.5), measurement and monitoring (8.2), control of non conformity (8.3) and improvement (8.5). All those points were bad marked by the participants who tried to answered them, which implies that the issues were or in-existing or poor attended within their media companies.

Two main explanations could justify the rather high number of unanswered questions: on the one hand because some participants were not in a position to assess the situation within their own media, and on the other hand because they were not acquainted enough with the quality management philosophy and vocabulary.