Lecture of professor Francesca Romana Seganti (American University in Rome)

On March 01, 2013 Professor Francesca Romana Seganti (American University in Rome) delivered two lectures at the Faculty of Journalism, Lomonosov Moscow State University. The lectures were devoted to the theory of Italian researcher Francesco Fattorello.

– What the theory of Francesco Fattorello is about?

– Fattorello’s Social Technique of Information is a communication model written in the ’50s that has always focused on audiences as active participants, as the pivot of the process of communication. Fattorello’s theory has always been in contrast with Anglo-Saxon theories. While these focused on the quality of the media product thinking that what a few considered to be a “good” product could be embraced by a variety of recipients, the Social Technique of Information’s main principle is that each media product has to be constructed by adapting the message to the expectations and the acculturaion of each specific audience.

– Why should it be studied nowadays?

– According to Fattorello, media can only act on people’s opinions but cannot act on the way we behave which is due to our subjectivity. Instead of accepting the idea that the media industry enterprises imposed values, behaviours and patterns that served to maintain domination, Fattorello in the ’50s focused on audiences as active participants. We think that today for those with economic power, it is still convenient to have people believe in the power of publicity, public relation and propaganda. So, people can blame the media and don’t think about their own responsibility in social change. Instead, if journalists, copywriters and politicians who are not yet powerful and don’t belong to the dominant media industry, became aware of the audiences’ active role in the process of communication and used Fattorello’s technique, they can create a shift in power relations. Therefore, we believe that the Social Technique of Information is an appropriate answer to the needs of today’s democratic societies.

– Can the theory somehow be applied to studying the political processes as well, and if yes – can it be used in analyzing the process and results of the Italian elections in 2013?

– Definetly yes. Italian processes can be interpreted in the light of Fattorello’s model. Those who managed to understand and interpret the expectations and acculturation of their audiences have been succesful, while those who based their campaign on their own believes without adapting the message to the audience had worst results. It is not sufficient to do things in a certain way but it is necessary to pay attention to the audiences’ desires and expectations. The Social Technique of Information in an extremly useful model to analyze political communication.

– What are your impressions about Moscow, meeting students, faculty staff?

– Moscow is a very fascinating city and I am “glad” I did not have the chance to see many parts of it because now I have an excuse to go back there! Also, I have been impressed by the great curiosity and the intellectual vivacity of the young aspiring journalists who paid attention to my speech and especially have been open and willing to understand a theory that was new to them. So it really looks like I have to return to Moscow soon!