Our 70th anniversary: From Sovinformburo to RIA Novosti 7.0

RIA Novosti marks its 70th anniversary today. Established on June 24, 1941, the Soviet Information Bureau, commonly known as Sovinformburo, has evolved into one of the world’s largest media holdings. RIA Novosti has held on to the best traditions of its past while at the same time remaking itself, expanding, and moving confidently into the future.

The agency’s management has decided to mark this significant anniversary less with festivities than with new formats, new platforms and seven new media projects symbolically called “RIA Novosti. Version 7.0.” The idea is to use seven media platforms (newspapers, websites, infoscreens, mobile and tablet applications, mobile TV and social networking sites) in seven media formats (text, photo, video, audio, infographics, infoscreens and 3D).

The seven new projects include a multimedia news center, a studio to produce 3D infographics, a rating agency, the sports news agency RIA Sports, a 24-hour online news channel RIA TV, and a school for image editors.

Future Media Forum

The highlight of the anniversary celebration was the Future Media international forum, which dealt with new media technology, the impact of new and traditional media on society and the future of journalism. It was attended by about 300 managers of the leading Russian, European, Asian and U.S. media companies.

Forum participants heard reports on new trends in the Russian media market and discussed the role of modern media in political change and revolutions, the growing influence of the Internet, and the influence of social networking sites and news aggregators on people’s views on global events. The opening addresses at the forum were delivered by RIA Novosti Editor-in-Chief Svetlana Mironyuk and Deputy Minister of Communications and Mass Media Alexander Zhukov.

Mironyuk said the media is transitioning to a new epoch, one that has been discussed by the media community for several decades, and that the rapid rise of social networking sites has made the changes underway in the media irreversible. This is the largest transformation in the history of media, the RIA Novosti editor-in-chief said, adding that traditional methods of drawing in audiences and traditional business models have become ineffective. The media’s social responsibility is growing, and the journalist’s monologue is turning into a dialogue between journalists and their audience.

Forum participants included such prominent media leaders as Guardian Editor-in-Chief Alan Rusbridger, Chairman Emeritus of MEF Americas and Mobilium International Ralph Simon, SUP President Annelies Van Den Belt, board chair of EDventure Esther Dyson, Facebook’s Russia and Eastern Europe development manager Angela Tse, deputy managing editor and standards editor of the Associated Press Tom Kent, head of strategic partnerships at Google News EMEA Madhav Chinnappa, and mobile app and personal data security expert Andrew Smolek.

The agency used all the available media technologies to bring people together to discuss issues of crucial importance for the global information community. The forum is being broadcast live on the RIA Novosti’s Russian and English language sites.


Yesterday Russian President Dmitry Medvedev and Minister of Communications and Mass Media Igor Shchegolev came to the agency to mark its historic anniversary and congratulate the agency staff.

“The agency has come a long way from the legendary Sovinformburo to the fantastic place we are visiting today,” the president said during a tour of RIA Novosti’s modern newsroom.

During his hour and a half visit, Medvedev spoke with media innovation experts and attended a multimedia conference. He was shown how news is prepared for publication, and he contributed to the process by writing two news hooks – one very grave, about the planned order on removing Tu-134 passenger planes from the fleets of domestic airlines, and the other encouraging, about the Eternal Values project that offers access to RIA Novosti’s unique photo archives.

The president admired the 3D photographs, the baskets with oranges all around the office and the Rap Info project, as well as QR codes, which can be used to receive additional images or information using phone cameras.

After watching a rap video created by the news agency to engage young people in politics and current affairs, the president joked about doing the same in a speech.

Many RIA Novosti employees received government decorations and certificates of honor. The most distinguished award was presented by President Medvedev himself to Editor-in-Chief Svetlana Mironyuk during his visit to the agency.

Prime Minister Vladimir Putin has signed an order on decorating RIA Novosti with a certificate of honor for its contribution to fostering an objective view of Russia abroad. The president and the prime minister also signed orders commending the agency’s staff.


RIA Novosti’s history dates back to June 24, 1941, when the Soviet Information Bureau (Sovinformburo) was established to oversee the coverage of international events, war and domestic news in print and on radio. Sovinformburo journalists reported from the front as well as on the war effort in the rear, the partisan movement and the country’s foreign and domestic policy for radio, newspapers and magazines.

In 1961, Sovinformburo was reconfigured as the Novosti Press Agency APN, whose charter defined its goal of “providing objective information about the Soviet Union for foreign audiences and informing the Soviet people about life in foreign countries to foster mutual understanding and trust and friendship among nations.”

APN published 60 illustrated newspapers and magazines in 45 languages in 4.3 million copies. The APN Publishing House printed over 200 books and pamphlets, with 20 million copies released a year.

The Russian News Agency RIA Novosti was established in September 1991 on the foundation of APN and was later transformed into the federal state unitary enterprise Russian News Information Agency RIA Novosti.

RIA Novosti. Version 7.0

RIA Novosti has since become the leading Russian multimedia, utilizing text, photo, infographics, audio and video in 14 languages to cover events in Russia and abroad. Texts are published in more than 20 newswires. The agency’s unique photo bank comprises over 600,000 photographs.

The agency supplies information not only to media outlets but also end users. Its multimedia site www.rian.ru is one of the most popular on the Russian-language internet. RIA Novosti sites in foreign languages are rated very highly among the news outlets covering events in Russia. The total number of visits to RIA Novosti sites exceeds 15 million a month. RIA Novosti’s mobile applications provide access to exclusive information and multimedia news anywhere, not just in your home or office.

The agency’s new multimedia press center was opened in time for the 70th anniversary. It was built on top of the former Foreign Ministry press center, which was opened 30 years ago and has been upgraded over the last few years.

The press center was built for Russian and foreign journalists covering the 1980 Moscow Olympics. It was from this location that the group of high-ranking officials who attempted a coup broadcast their press conference in August 1991. Today it is part of RIA Novosti’s multimedia press center with about a dozen halls for media events. The part of the building where the Foreign Ministry press center was located has been remodeled and now has four rooms for videoconferences, roundtable discussions, briefings and online conferences. They can accommodate up to 700 people at one time.

One of the agency’s biggest gifts to its staff is a modern newsroom that was unveiled last week. A large room on the agency’s second floor houses the Integrated News Department, the Agency of Legal and Court Information (RAPSI) and the R-Sport agency. There is enough space for over 400 people, with comfortable high-tech workplaces for journalists equipped with modern communications and other information systems. The room has some of the latest climate control equipment available.

RIA Novosti chose to mark its 70th anniversary with new technology, new platforms and new media projects on seven media platforms (newspapers, websites, infoscreens, mobile and tablet applications, mobile TV and social networking sites) and in seven media formats (text, photo, video, audio, infographics, infoscreens and 3D images).

The seven new products are an international multimedia news center, a studio to produce news video and 3D infographics, a ratings agency offering social, education, financial and industry ratings, a virtual press center, the sports news agency RIA Sports, a 24-hour online news video channel RIA TV, and a school for image editors of print and online media.

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