|dc.description||The aim of this study was to analyze how Russian-speaking journalists perceive their
professional roles and tasks. The professional qualities and abilities that journalists and their
employers value highly were surveyed as well. It was also analysed if the education of
journalists does have an influence on their professional roles’ perception and job’s satisfaction.
The analysis of the questionnaires and the interviews-in-depth has shown that mainly
Russian-language journalists view their professional roles:
- to forward information to the audience quickly;
- to help people to be guided in social-political events;
- to promote expansion of the audience’s cultural outlook.
As it turned out, Russian-speaking journalists from different age-groups have different
concerns about the “Russian question”. Less than half journalists consider their role “for
promoting integration into Estonian society within their audience” important. Only few
journalists think that their professional tasks are to defend and protect the interests of ethnic
minorities and to promote development of their national consciousness.
This indicates that the majority of Russian-speaking journalists have adopted the role of
an informer, whose main task is just to transfer accurate information to the public quickly.
Russian-speaking journalists think that they cannot much influence the decisions of the Estonian
It is also discovered that higher education in journalism does have an impact on how
Russian-speaking journalists perceive their professional role. They meet less ‚technical‘
diffculties and have better professional skills and knowledge, but they still admit that sometimes
they feel lack of knowledge about specific fields they have to cover.
In general, the professional qualities that the journalists value most highly, match with
those that the employers expect journalists to have (the ability to flexibly react to the changes in
society, quickly grasp the core of the problem, wide knowledge of different areas of life etc).
However, employers claim that Russian journalists are not good enough in providing themselves
with a trustworthy network of sources (from the interview with Belobrovtsev V. 13.12.2004).
Commercialization of the media influenced the level of journalists’ professionalism as
well. Whereas before, during the Soviet regime, journalists faced strict requirements while
preparing their article or broadcast, now the main demand for the journalist’s production is “how
it sells”. Journalists from both the younger and older generation acknowledge this. But
journalists from the younger generation are much more ready to accept this situation. But in
every age-group there are a majority of those journalists who claim that level of professionalism has declined. This indicates that Russian-speaking journalists are ready to undertake some steps
to improve the situation.
Russian-speaking journalists try to follow ethical rules while working. Only a few are
ready to break them because of an extra fee or the possibility to attract the audience’s attention.
But at the same time 63% of journalists claim that it is possible to bribe Russian-speaking
journalists. 33% of them point out the cases when Russian-speaking journalists have been bribed.
This data indicates that the assumption that Russian-speaking journalists can receive bribes (as
made above) is true.
On journalists’ Russian-speaking media more often faces such ethical breakages as:
- defamation or libel;
- disclosure of confidential information;
- concealment of important information from the audience;
- publication of unchecked information;
- breaking of the author’s rights;
- publication of unilateral information;
- deformation of information in some person/s’ interests;
- lack of objectivity.
The Estonian Journalists Union is not popular among Russian-speaking journalists. Only
23% of them are a member of this organization. But the journalists greatly need the support of a
professional Union in several instances. For example, this Union’s representatives could take
part in salary negotiations with journalists’ employers. Besides this journalists suggested a range
of tasks that they wait for this Union to execute.
In spite of low salaries the majority of Russian-speaking journalists are satisfied with
their job. It indicates that besides the salary factor there are plenty of positive moments in
journalists’ work that bring a feeling of satisfaction to them.
Obviously Russian-speaking journalists have to work in difficult conditions. From one
side their salaries are quite small, from another – there is a rigid competition among Russian-
speaking journalists also the Russian media market in Estonia is unstable. According to this
survey Russian-speaking journalists are willing to improve their professional level and attain
new knowledge. The meaning of higher journalistic education has become much more important