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‘I Believe in Having a Career that Focuses on Solving Both Academic and Industrial Problems’

‘I Believe in Having a Career that Focuses on Solving Both Academic and Industrial Problems’

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Mutiu Iyanda Lasisi is a first-year master’s student of Critical Media Studies at the Faculty of Creative Industries. He chose to pursue his master’s at HSE University out of a desire to combine theory and practice and to create real solutions. Mutiu spoke to the HSE News Service about why HSE University was the right place to realise his ambitions, how theory shapes learning into frameworks for action, and how he has already put his knowledge to real-world use.

Mutiu Iyanda Lasisi
Photo courtesy of Mutiu Iyanda Lasisi

A Dual-Focus Career

I earned a Bachelor of Arts in Communication and Language Arts from the University of Ibadan in Nigeria. I also have a mini-Master of Business Administration certificate from the Tekedia Institute, Boston, in business development, growth, and execution. My areas of interest include media research, journalism, big data, computational journalism, and digital humanities. In 2015, I began working as a management consultant at Enterprations Limited in Lagos, Nigeria, where I managed a variety of projects using both theoretical and practical approaches. I have a better understanding of how strategy operates in various markets in terms of processes, people, technology, and products.

I learned about HSE University through a friend at another Russian university.

In my background research about the university, I discovered that it resonates with my dual-focus career of using theoretical and practical approaches for providing solutions to problems or offering media products to various stakeholders in academia and industries

Initially, I had an interest in the Data-Driven Communication Master's programme, but I changed my mind when I discovered that few courses would be taught in English and the majority were in Russian. It was a decision I found difficult to make because the content of the programme aligns with my vision of becoming a data-driven communication strategist. However, the Critical Media Studies programme became the next best alternative choice for me because it also offers courses that I have been doing through media management consulting for some years in Nigeria.

Transformative Learning

I embarked on a Master's degree programme in Critical Media Studies at HSE University in Moscow with the vision of having a transformative learning experience that would enable me to become a skilled communicator with a deep understanding of the dynamics of media production and consumption. Throughout my first year, my academic journey was shaped by the Mentor's Seminar on ‘Media Theories and Student's Individual Trajectory’, which had a profound impact on my personal growth and evolving professional identity.

My fellow students and I had the opportunity to delve into media theories and their intersection with other disciplines during the Mentor's Seminar. The seminar provided us with the necessary tools to navigate media theories, make informed decisions about our individual study plans, and explore critical media studies.

Through theoretical and practical approaches, I gained a deeper understanding of societal needs and issues from a media perspective

During the Mentor's Seminar, I was able to situate my own research within the frameworks of functionalism and critical theories. Through various tasks, I came to recognise the significance of framing theory, rooted in functionalism, and moral panic theory, situated within the critical paradigm. Framing theory helped me understand how media selectively present societal issues, influencing the perceptions and actions of stakeholders. On the other hand, moral panic theory shed light on how media hype and alternative sources generate anxieties and responses within society. These theories became crucial for me as I sought to analyse media dynamics and stakeholder reactions to drug abuse, focusing on the Nigerian context.

Bridging Theory and Practice

The Mentor's Seminar was a game-changer for me. It wasn't just about understanding media theories, but it gave me the tools to apply them in real-life situations. I realised the immense influence media has on public opinion and used my knowledge of normative, working, and media effects theories to address power imbalances and advocate for positive social change. During the 2023 general elections in Nigeria, I actively participated in discussions, using my expertise to help citizens make informed decisions and exercise their democratic rights responsibly. Between September 2022 and June 2023, more than 20 of my articles have been published on Tekedia, a Boston-based online information repository. Some of these articles focused on dynamics of the general elections, especially campaign activities of the key presidential candidates.

As I progressed through my first year of study, I transformed the theoretical concepts and practical skills gained from the seminar into academic contributions

I presented research papers at conferences, co-authored publications, and even secured a summer internship at an African-focused centre, where I will continue to explore the role of media in shaping information pollution during Nigeria's 2023 presidential election campaign.

I believe in having a career that focuses on solving both academic and industrial problems. As I shape my dual-focused professional identity, I am determined to bridge the gap between theory and practice, contribute to the field of media studies, and advocate for equitable media representation.

Making an Impact

My first-year journey in the Master's programme of Critical Media Studies at HSE University has been transformative, thanks to a well-designed mentor's seminar and an individual learning trajectory. Through the exploration of media theories and their applications, I have gained the necessary tools and frameworks to navigate the complex media landscape and make an impact in my chosen field.

By nurturing a dual-focused professional identity that combines theory and practice, I am committed to advocating for ethical conduct, positive societal change, and empowering individuals and organisations through critical engagement with media

As I continue my academic and professional path, I am poised to contribute to the advancement of media studies and its interdisciplinary intersections.

I have the intention of pursuing a PhD programme after getting my Master’s degree. However, I am not sure whether it will happen in Russia, because English-language PhD programmes are rare. I will be applying the new concepts I am learning from my professors where they are needed the most.

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