OXFORD MEDIA SOCIETY
Hello all, and welcome to Oxford Media Society for Michaelmas 2023!
As the long summer slowly draws to a close, I thought I would share a couple of essays and interviews which offer an interesting angle on where the world – and its media – are.
First up, Robert Kaplan’s piece in Time Magazine, recommended below, posits that, as the geopolitical world seemingly teeters on the brink, nothing is more necessary than a profound imagination. Kaplan reminds us that true clairvoyance about important questions– how will the Russian war in Ukraine end? How might Iran’s coming succession crisis play out? What could democratic reform look like for Arab dictatorships? – is really about the ability to vividly picture the future. Reason and analysis alone are not enough.
In the August issue of the London Review of Books, James Meek returned to Kyiv. He reported that one of the most striking things about the city this summer is the freedom with which people are imagining, and in some cases already making, their own future. The war is not over, but it has receded. This term, we will be doing some thinking about how Ukrainian journalism is faring over eighteen-months on from the invasion, as well as the extreme practical challenges journalists have faced whilst covering the conflict.
And finally, Tim Snyder’s ‘Lunch with the FT’ is a beautifully crafted interview in which the Yale professor – and one of the most eminent historians of Ukraine – considers the urgency of putting more historical context into our public debate: the more perspective we have, the more nuanced our perception of events can be. In Snyder’s words, “History gives us more ways of looking.” As we head into the new term we’ll be taking a longview on the media, which we hope will inspire you and spark your imaginations as to what might be possible.
Enjoy the rest of your summer.
Rachel Turner, President-Elect
- Time Magazine: What Tolstoy Can Teach Us About Geopolitics by Robert Kaplan https://time.com/6309819/leo-tolstoy-teach-us-about-geopolitics/
- London Review of Books: Every Field, Every Yard: Return to Kyiv by James Meek https://www.lrb.co.uk/the-paper/v45/n16/james-meek/every-field-every-yard
- Financial Times: Historian Tim Snyder’s Lunch with the FT https://www.ft.com/content/9a23b1a7-da4e-466b-99f4-9f7f369fe128