The Endorsement of the RGS: Dmitry Peskov Highlights the Features of the 2022 Media Grant Competition

Пресс-конференция Дмитрия Пескова. Фото: пресс-служба РГО/Анна Юргенсон

The Russian Geographical Society has announced the start of the 2022 Media Grant Competition. Its features will be increased attention to more modern formats for presenting information, support for youth-themed projects and young authors, as well as the maximum elimination of bureaucratic obstacles in their path. The total campaign budget is 44 million rubles. The maximum grant amount is 1.8 million rubles. Applications are accepted from February 17 to March 11. Dmitry Peskov, chairman of the Media Council of the Russian Geographical Society, spoke about this during a press conference at the Moscow Headquarters of the Society.

The landscape of information sources and channels in the modern world is inevitably changing. Everything around is becoming multimedia, in fact, the traditional radio stations, TV channels, news publications technically exist in a new reality. New media is increasingly attracting the audience of the usual media. The Russian Geographical Society will not ignore the ongoing changes.

“We will focus on multimedia platforms related to the Internet, blogging, social networks. It is from these sources, as sociological studies say, that the younger generation receives information. We assume that representatives of the respected older generation have serious knowledge of the geography of our country, so we need to focus more on those who have not yet managed to travel properly in their lives,” Dmitry Peskov explained the position of the Society.


Пресс-конференция Дмитрия Пескова. Фото: пресс-служба РГО/Анна Юргенсон

Under the new conditions, cooperation with those authors who managed to interest their subscribers on Telegram, YouTube, VKontakte, TikTok and other social networks, assume a stable position there and gain authority is seen as promising for the Russian Geographical Society.

“We will focus on them. Of course, we would like them to have millions of subscribers, but people who have tens of thousands of readers will help us promote the ideology of the Russian Geographical Society, love for our country as well,” Peskov stressed.

Another feature of the new campaign will be the elimination of unnecessary bureaucratic barriers in obtaining grants. Of course, the Russian Geographical Society is responsible for the funds that go to the budget thanks to the Society's trustees, but it will become easier to file an application and report on the work progress.

“But without loss of quality, without deviating from strict financial discipline!” Peskov added.

The Russian Geographical Society will primarily expect applications in three areas of activity. One of them is a unique system of voluntary certification of tourist routes under the stamp "Recommended by the RGS". Russia is the largest country in the world that can interest travelers of all tastes. The potential for the development of domestic tourism is most fully revealed in the current restrictions when crossing borders between states. The Russian Geographical Society can and should objectively assess the quality of tourist destinations.

“The following practice has arisen in the Russian Geographical Society: route organizers can reach out to the Society, and the Russian Geographical Society gives the quality stamp ‘Approved by the RGS’ according to a certain set of criteria. We decided to expand this practice and offer grant applicants to focus on those areas that, from their point of view, are potentially in demand or popular right now. Talk about how people can get there, how convenient and cheap it is, whether it is cold or warm, whether it is worth seeing. All this together will either be approved by the Russian Geographical Society, or we will go further – we propose to debunk the popularity of some destinations that are actually artificially talked up in order to warn people," Peskov said.


Пресс-конференция Дмитрия Пескова. Фото: пресс-служба РГО/Анна Юргенсон

No less important are the projects of excursions to local attractions in various regions of Russia. As the RGS competition showed, the country already has a huge number of unique, talented guides. However, there are still not enough of them.

“We will wait for applications for grants from our guides, who will talk about those very routes from a professional point of view,” Peskov stressed.

Among the priorities of the grant campaign will be the favorite topics of the Russian Geographical Society related to the already known projects: the Konstantinovskaya Battery in Sevastopol, the historical building of the Headquarters in St. Petersburg, “The Golden Ring of the Bosporan Kingdom” route in Krasnodar Krai, and others.

“These topics are so deep that they deserve further study,” said Dmitry Peskov.


Пресс-конференция Дмитрия Пескова. Фото: пресс-служба РГО/Анна Юргенсон

The second priority general direction when considering grant applications is the implementation of author's ideas on topics close to the values ​​of the Russian Geographical Society. However, the requirements for such projects will change in line with new trends. Feature-length documentaries will be excluded from the support program. Now the duration of a film should not exceed 26 minutes.

So that this format can be used both on TV channels and on the Internet. It seems more convenient when promoting this information to consumers. We will also welcome formats that are compatible with all media environments, with the standards of large multimedia companies,” Peskov added.

The third feature of the current RGS media grant competition is special attention to applications from talented youth, students of arts universities and other educational institutions.

“We will try to give way to the young if we receive creative proposals from them,” stressed the chairman of the Media Council of the Russian Geographical Society.

Answering questions during a press conference, Dmitry Peskov noted that any good idea that meets the ideals of the Russian Geographical Society will be considered. The main thing when making a decision is how it will be framed from a creative point of view. The result of the work should be interesting to the audience.

“The application should focus on two elements. Only two: first, it should be relevant to the Russian Geographical Society. And secondly, it must show talent," Peskov said.

The chairman of the Media Council of the Russian Geographical Society also reminded that the Russian Geographical Society does not assume full funding for grant projects, but only participates in it.

“We give the support of the Russian Geographical Society and, to the best of our abilities, help in the implementation of these projects,” said the head of the Media Council. At the same time, the Society will not welcome those who are going to “start from scratch” using the endorsement by the Russian Geographical Society. A blogger does not have to compete with traditional media and have millions of subscribers, but the first 10-20 thousand readers should be “earned” on their own.


Пресс-конференция Дмитрия Пескова. Фото: пресс-служба РГО/Анна Юргенсон

There are no uninteresting regions in Russia, there are those that are not talked about much, Dmitry Peskov added. It is clear that project initiators cannot always independently find sources of financing. Despite the fact that the funds of the Russian Geographical Society are limited, regional authors have a chance to realize their undertakings entirely at the expense of the Russian Geographical Society.

But still, we will give preference to those who have found some money themselves – in large media holdings, in the media, who have arranged in advance to go on the air,” he stressed.

At the same time, the Russian Geographical Society will not pay attention to the organizational and legal features or the founders of the organization that applied for a media grant, Peskov noted. Also, the terms of the competition do not limit the number of applications from each participant.

“Be talented, be free in your creativity. We will be waiting for your applications for the next three weeks!” Dmitry Peskov, chairman of the Media Council of the Russian Geographical Society, concluded the press conference.


Aleksander Zhirnov