|dc.description||The bachelor’s thesis gives an overview of writing a biography, placing it into context and
interpreting it, focusing also on the problems involved and how to solve these. The
abovementioned issues are supplemented with the framework of various possibilities of
handling a biography from the viewpoint of different disciplines.
In the introduction the author discusses the necessity and usefulness of the biographical
method in understanding and recording journalism and the history of journalism. Researching
the biographies of journalists helps to understand internal developmental processes of
journalism. At the same time the implementation of the biographical method in the history of
journalism ensures individual sense of history.
The second chapter gives an overview of the biographical method: for which purposes and
how this method is used in various disciplines and what is its history of development in these
disciplines. Subchapters take a closer look at the discussions and views that have emerged in
Estonia in the context of researching biographies.
A separate subchapter gives a thorough overview of reference books published in Estonia that
can be used as bibliographical source material. Even though the overview touches on other
areas as well, it still focuses mainly on literature/journalism and also film, as the directors
who were studied for this thesis, are recognized also in the world of film.
According to the source material, the biographies and/or times of several journalists have
already been studied, but even more have not and unfortunately a great deal of material has
not been recorded at all. This aspect is discussed in the subchapter Researched and
unresearched biographies of journalists in Estonia.
When the source is not reference books or some other lifeless source, two people meet:
researcher and the one being researched. A person cannot be compared to a lifeless document
– he has his own aims, attitudes, opinions, needs etc. The researcher is also merely a human
and the use of biographical interview and the analysis of its results make the attitude towards
the subject a more personal and closer one, which may also change the results. A biographical
interview is interaction. The role of the researcher in the biographical approach and his part in
forming the sources is discussed in a separate chapter.
The second part of the thesis is about the biographies of directors Rein Maran and Andres
Sööt. Writing down a person’s biography and understanding through it the times, profession
and organisations is an extremely fascinating opportunity for academic work. When
interpreting the biographical ‘findings’ it is necessary to analyse the framework conditions. A single biography can be interpreted only within the context of society, economy, politics etc.
This is the way it is interpreted also in the present work. There is a detailed overview of
societal-political situation. Both men were born into Republic of Estonia and had made plans
that could not be realised in the changed conditions they had to live in. One had to find a
golden middle between one’s own values and the societal possibilities. “You had to be on the
lookout all the time. In retrospect you start to think… But as far as I know, no-one took it very
seriously. Everyone knew that the boss couldn’t do it any other way.” (Andres Sööt’s story in
To understand the field the directors worked in, the thesis contains also an overview of the
development of documentalism and other television genres both historically and for Estonia.
Rein Maran’s biography is similar to that of his contemporaries (compare Pallas 2004,
Hinrikus 2001): war and occupation destroyed the plans and dreams of a young man. It was
hard enough to stay alive and find work; there was no point in even dreaming about realising
one’s dreams. Still, even then a lot, if not everything, depended on people’s sensibility and
relationships and cooperation between people. This is how Maran, like others, managed to get
a university degree – at the age of 40 – and worked with dedication despite the ideological
apparatus. Later, despite the once again changing times, he continued and expanded his
The story of Andres Sööt is shorter because he only agreed to talk about his professional life
in Eesti Telefilm (Estonian Telefilm), a period that lasted seven years of his life. Still, there
was gathered more material on him from various other sources in order to present his
biography as a whole. Sööt, just like Maran, continued to make telefilms even after the
company ceased to exist, and he is still doing it.||