Limited scholarship, limited comparative analyses, limited publications in other than national languages, but most importantly – lack of analytical studies – contribute that media and communications research in the Baltic countries is still ‘Terra Incognita’ for many scholars outside this geographic and cultural region of Europe.
Broadly speaking, Baltic media change, transformations and developments, as well as journalism and communication cultures are at the core of this project.
In the context of ongoing debates about journalism homogenization, media convergence and commercialization as simultaneously taking place in many countries around the world, the analysis of media and journalism developments in small Baltic nations appears to be a very interesting research case for several reasons. Firstly, the transformations in these societies have started only few decades ago, in the late 1980s, thus people’s experiences and their memories are still very fresh. Moreover, the changes which emerged in the countries of Central and Eastern Europe were very complex as they simultaneously took place on multiple levels and in different political, economic and social realms. Secondly, local changes in the fields of media and politics of the newly born democracies were coupled with multiple external pressures such as globalization, modernization, regional integration, technological diffusion, digitalization and so forth. As popularly conceived, these processes have taken place in culturally and structurally very different contexts and thus their outcomes are quite diverse.
All these challenges and changes are documented in research studies and publications accessed on Balticmedia.eu.
The growth of Balticmedia.eu was a natural process. It grew out from a series of lectures and seminars taught by media scholars and practitioners at the universities of Kaunas, Tartu and Riga since the early 1990s. Its content was gradually filled with research publications, researcher profiles and online news.
Today Balticmedia.eu is a rich data-base which hosts over 500 publications, reports and video lectures. Its primarily mission is to reinforce our understanding of Baltic societies, particularities of their social structures and communication cultures, and especially of the role and functions of mass, social and alternative media as one of the constitutive and dominant fields of our contemporary life.
Balticmedia.eu is structured as an online data base: it gives access to research studies and statistical data; it also provides analysis of traditions, values and norms as well as emerging trends in journalism and communication development in yet another Europe. The issues discussed here range from theoretical constructs such as media development, democratization, professionalization and so forth, to more concrete debates providing up-to-date data on media system change (convergence and concentration), media consumption and other quantitative and qualitative characteristics of Baltic media.
Media Research Center at Vytautas Magnus University in Kaunas is a core coordinator of this project.