Narrating the Double Helix: The Immigrant-Professional Biography of a Russian Journalist in Israel


  • Nelly Elias Ben-Gurion University
  • Julia Lerner Ben-Gurion University



immigrant-professional narrative, ethnographic approach, immigrant journalists, minority media, Russian-speaking immigrants, Israel


This research explores the professional and life experiences of a Russian-speaking immigrant journalist who relocates herself in Israel, within the new professional and cultural environment. She engages intensively in decoding and interpreting her new society for the immigrant readers. We conducted an ethnographic narrative analysis to examine the nature and significance of the "double helix" of an immigrant-professional narrative, constructed by the interplay of life and work experiences. This prism of analysis reveals the intersection between acquiring new professional knowledge and learning a new culture; between journalistic commentary and immigrant interpretation; between professional positioning vis-à-vis the local journalistic community and the immigrant counterparts; and between shaping the journalist's personal views and the collective political, civil, and cultural attitudes of her immigrant audience. The article contributes to the methodologies of qualitative study of migration by suggesting a multi-level interpretation of a migration narrative.



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Author Biographies

Nelly Elias, Ben-Gurion University

Nelly ELIAS, PhD, is a Senior Lecturer and Chair of the Department of Communication Studies and Director of The Hubert Burda Center for Innovative Communications, Ben-Gurion University of the Negev, Israel. She specializes in audience studies of immigrants and their children, with particular interest in immigrants’ media uses and diasporic online communities. She has various academic publications in the field of mass media and immigrants integration, including a book entitled "Coming Home: Media and Returning Diaspora in Israel and Germany" (SUNY Press, 2008). Her peer-reviewed articles in English, Hebrew, and Russian in journals include the International Communication Gazette, New Media & Society, Television and New Media, Journal of International Communication, Ethnic and Racial Studies, Israeli Sociology, Diasporas, and Journal of Advertising Research, among others.

Julia Lerner, Ben-Gurion University

Julia LERNER, PhD, is a Lecturer at the Department of Sociology and Anthropology, Ben-Gurion University of the Negev and a research fellow at the Van Leer Jerusalem Institute. Her research interests are in the fields of anthropology of knowledge and sociology of migration. At the intersection of these fields, she explores the relocation of ideas and people, and studies cultural change both in post-Soviet Russia and in the Russian-speaking collective in Israel. Her research is based on qualitative methodologies and she is teaching interpretative research at BGU.




How to Cite

Elias, N., & Lerner, J. (2011). Narrating the Double Helix: The Immigrant-Professional Biography of a Russian Journalist in Israel. Forum Qualitative Sozialforschung Forum: Qualitative Social Research, 13(1).