|dc.description||The aim of the paper was to collect different and diffused examples of practicing
public journalism, also known as civic an grassroot journalism.
The methodology of the paper is an interview. Nine interviews were conducted with
chief editors of Estonian regional papers during April 2004.
The aim of the interviews was first, to find out editors’ attitude towards the present
involvement of the local peole.
The second aim was to find out, what do Estonian regional papers’ chief editors think
about selection of some public journalism’s practices. These were readers particpatory
groups, media’s extended role as a campaigner compared to mainstream role of
attempting to reflect reality; increased inolvment of citizens as sources compared to
that of experts and finally, an attempt to avoid angling o conflict, but rather trying to
smooth the subject and find common ground in it.
It occured that editors found citizens’ present participation rather ineffective as it
concentrated mostly on personal and communal issues. However, it was noted that
the quality of feedback and offered issues is getting more useable.
The citizen’s inability to communicate their suggestions regarding paper and its
subjects was the biggest problem for editors. A reader knows only what he dislikes
and cannot give constructive criticism, was a general conclusion.
The editors tended not to support the idea of citizen’s participatory groups as they
viewed it not suitable for individualistic and shy Estonians.
The editors strongly disagreed with public journalism’s idea to avoid critical and
Most of them agreed that there is a need to increase usage of ordinary people as
sources for it attaches people to the paper and the number of expert sources is limited
in regional areas as well.
However, several editors mentioned that they had formed occasional readers’ groups
when visiting a factory or a workplace. That could also be regarded as an inheritage of
Soviet times, where the newsroom’s work with readers was similar, but ideologised
and far more systematic than in public journalism.
That, in turn, could be an explanation to a rather sceptic view of public journalism’s
practices by some editors, as these may have reminded forced practices during Soviet
In general, the editors stated their strong interest towards the opinon of their region’s
people. However they remained somewhat sceptical regarding some practices, but
kept an open mind of possibly using some of them.||