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Regular version of the site

‘The Profession Must Come Naturally to the Students’

Ernest Mackevičius talks about the future of the HSE School of Media at the Faculty of Communications, Media, and Design

In May, Russian news presenter Ernest Mackevičius was appointed Head of the HSE School of Media at the Faculty of Communications, Media, and Design. HSE University Life talked to him about the appointment and what students and teachers can expect of their new administrator.

—How did your appointment to HSE University come about? When did you get the offer? What were your considerations when you agreed to it?

I first got an offer to cooperate with the HSE School of Media from Andrey Bystritskiy five long years ago. But circumstances at the time meant I had to turn it down.

In 2019, I came to HSE as a teacher: I taught several courses for undergraduates and a few for continuing education programmes. At first, I worked with students as part of a workshop, and then continued as part of the optional course ‘Contemporary Media Host’ for third-year students. It attracted a lot of applicants—I even had to split them into groups and find additional slots in my schedule. I am still impressed by HSE students, their erudition, intelligence, motivation to achieve and their willingness to master new skills. I tried to share some professional secrets with them, things that will be useful while working on air, shooting coverage, passing casting sessions, and structuring the work of a news room. I am happy that I managed to get some of my students employed by a major IT company. In addition, I had the opportunity to meet some teachers and administrators at the Faculty.

And early this year, I got the offer to head the School. The discussions took a long time, since I had to find a solution as to how to combine my new job with my ‘First Media Academy’ educational project at Plekhanov Russian University of Economics. But in the end, we managed to settle all the issues.

—Will the School’s educational programmes change? Will there be HR changes?

It is a great honour for me to join the HSE University team, many members of which I have known well for many years. The School of Media boasts a strong faculty; its programmes are unique and have proven their effectiveness and popularity among students.

The Faculty is awaiting a reorganisation that was planned a long time ago. We are also waiting for the admissions campaign and the new academic year. We must be careful in terms of our team and the achievements of the School of Media in order to preserve its best developments and enrich it with new opportunities. I believe that the key task today is to bring education closer to the profession and add more practical training. Without compromising fundamental knowledge, we should provide students with skills and competencies that are in demand in the market today. This will ensure that they do well after they become professionals, and that they can pursue a career according to their specialisation. We are going to attract as many people from the industry to teach as we can—these will be acting shareholders in the process, including potential employers. This will give our students an opportunity not only to learn the profession first-hand, but to get the necessary networking for their careers.

I started working in television in 1991, when I was a third-year journalism student. When I was a fifth-year student, I became a staff member of the new NTV channel. But that was quite an exception.

What I and my classmates desperately needed was a grown-up person, a tutor, a professional who could navigate the right path, give praise or criticism when needed; someone to give us a fishing rod, offer advice on good fishing spots, and explain how to avoid traps. I was lucky—I managed to find everything on my own, but our task is to turn these practices into a system, so that the profession comes naturally to the students and they understand where they will go to work after graduation and why.

May 30