|dc.description||B.A thesis on the readability of the Põlva newspaper „Koit” and its reader’s
The purpose of the study is to find answers to the following questions:
g) How often do you read the paper?
h) Which channels for obtaining the paper do you use?
i) Which other papers do you read?
j) Which columns are most interesting in this paper?
k) Which are the weak sides of the paper?
l) How could the paper be improved?
In the given work I am making use of the study made by Ülle Harju in her
B.A. thesis „The use of media in south-eastern Estonia in 1998”. That is to say that I
am comparing my own enquiry performed among the readers of „Koit“ in 2007 with
the results of an enquiry which „Koit“ organized for its readers in autumn of 1998 and
which Ülle Harju used in her B.A. thesis. In order to find out about the importance of
the newspaper „Koit“, for the purpose of this B.A. thesis, short interviews were made
with the district governors of Põlva County, namely with Raul Kudre, the district
governor of Värska, Aivar Luts, the district governor of Kanepi, and with Andrus
Seeme, the district governor of Kõllaste. An interview was also given by Voldemar
Salomon, the district secretary of Räpina. Regarding the future of the local paper
discussed in this paper the following editors-in-chief of other papers of Põlva County
expressed their opinion: Igor Taro, editor-in-chief of the paper „Setomaa“ („Seto
County“ – written in the Võru County dialect), Ülle Harju, editor-in-chief of the paper
„Uma Leht“ („One’s Own Paper“ – written in the Seto County dialect), Urmas Paidre,
editor-in-chief of the paper „LõunaLeht“ („Southern Paper“) and Kalev Annom,
editor-in-chief of the paper „Võrumaa Teataja“ („Messenger of Võru County“). In
addition an interview was given by the Kauno Kõima, the editor-in-chief of the
newspaper „Koit“ (meaning „Dawn“).
The enquiry that was performed for the purpose of this B.A. thesis, which
deals with the county paper „Koit“, characterises the fact that the sampling was incidental. The sampling was rather spontaneous, in other words the more active
readers would respond to the enquiry.
A total of 117 people responded, of which 81 were women; 60 of them were
living in the country and 21 of them in the city.
34 women were in the age category of 15-44 years, 24 were aged 45-64 years
and 23 women were more than 65 years old.
There were 36 men among the respondents, of which 23 were living in the
country and 13 in the city. 7 respondents were of the age of 15-44 years, there were
16 men who were 45-64 years old and 13 of them were more than 65 years old.
Next, different groups of “Koit” readers were established:
1) Men and women
2) 15-44 years old, 45-64 years old, more than 65 years old
3) Those with less than secondary education, those with secondary education
and graduates from an establishment for higher education
4) City versus country.
The majority of the subscribers of „Koit“ were more than 65 years old (72%).
Among the groups of readers, instead of subscribing the paper, it was preferred to
obtain it elsewhere according to the respondents’ gender, level of education and place
of living, respectively.
Consistent readers of the paper are of the age group of 65+ years (84%), with
less than secondary education and with secondary education (61%) and with 56% of
them living out in the country. According to gender there were 51% of men and 55%
of women among the consistent readers.
The at random readers of the paper „Koit“ are of the age class of 15-44 years
with 52%. The readers aged 45-64 may rather be considered as readers at random,
who do not regularly read each single number, but who have not lost their interest in
the paper and adhere to it selectively. At the same time the number of readers at
random in the country as well as in the city is quite high.
The paper was considered to be generally interesting by all age groups. It was
considered to be uninteresting by no woman and only by 6% of the men.
The paper that was mostly read in addition to „Koit“ was the national daily
newspaper „Postimees“ („Postman“). The readers of another national paper „SL
Õhtuleht“ („SL Evening Paper“) are mostly women, aged 15-44 years, living in the
country and people with less than a secondary education or with a secondary education. The readers of the „Maaleht“ („Rural Paper“) are respondents who are
more than 65 years old, who live in the city and have less than a secondary education
or are with a secondary education. Among the regional papers „Uma Leht“ is one to
be read most by all age groups. Little interest was stirred in the readers by the third
national paper „Päevaleht“ („Daily Paper“) and the weekly paper „Lõuna Leht“.
When comparing the feedback given by all groups of readers regarding the
content of „Koit“, one must say that in one aspect all answers are coinciding – this is
the interest in local news.
Regarding a comparison of the B.A. thesis by Ülle Harju „The use of media
in south-eastern Estonia in 1998” of 1998 with this thesis the following may be
mentioned. First of all the number of respondents was somewhat higher in 1998 (144
people) than in 2007 (117 people). In both enquiries women were the more active
respondents; in 2007 there were 69% of female respondents and 31% of male ones
and in 1998 there were 74% of women and 26% of men. In both studies those with
less than or with a secondary education were more active readers of „Koit“ than the
readers with a higher education. Among the readers of „Koit“ in both cases the other
paper, which was mostly read, was the national daily paper „Postimees“.
Among the columns the most outstanding one in 1998 was advertisements,
which were always read by the readers. In 2007 the mostly read column in all groups
was local news.
The „Võrumaa Teataja“, which also is published three times a week (on
Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays), is the largest paper of south-eastern Estonia.
The size of the paper is 8-16 pages, „Koit“ comprises 8 pages.
As compared to „Koit“, a black-and-white edition, „Võrumaa Teataja“ is a
According to the opinion of Kauno Kõima, the editor-in-chief of „Koit“, this
newspaper will stay with a black-and-white printing; colour pages will be produced as
many as needed and as few as possible – a traditional paper has to be black-and-white.
However according to the data of the poll institute of Emor for the first quarter
of 2006 there were only 23% of constant readers and 77% of at random readers for
„Koit“ in contrast to 9% of at random readers and 91% of constant readers for the
Most of the readers of „Koit“ were aged 50-76 (60%) and for „Võrumaa
Teataja“ 30-49 years (43%). The readership of „Koit“ is becoming older and little interest is directed
towards younger readers; even the study of 1998 showed that there is little interest
among the youngsters in the paper „Koit“. Nonetheless, according to the editor-inchief
of „Koit“ the paper meets the readers’ expectations, otherwise the paper would
have neither subscribers nor retail buyers.
According to the data by Emor for the first quarter of 2006 „Koit“ is read
more by men (52%) than by women (48%). The Emor data also shows that the
majority of the readership of „Võrumaa Teataja“ consists of women (72%) in contrast
to only 28% of men.
Among the most preferred ways of obtaining the paper is a subscription with
the paper being delivered home both for the readers of „Koit“ and of „Võrumaa
Teataja“. According to Kalev Annom, the editor-in-chief of „Võrumaa Teataja“, the
number of subscribers has increased. The print-run of the Saturday paper amounts to 6
000 copies with a little less during the week. The print-run of „Koit“ was 5 300 in
1998 with a decrease to 3 500 copies by April of 2008.
One way of remaining in areas with a smaller readership would be to lesser
publish the paper. A good example is the paper „Hiiu Leht“ („Paper of Hiiu County“),
which is published twice a week. Obviously the best way, however, would be to get
younger readers involved. Ülle Harju, the editor-in-chief of „Uma Leht“ said in the
interview given for the purpose of this B.A. thesis that they are considering the sort of
younger reader in the making of their paper. Namely, there is a particular section for
children in the paper. There are quite a number of stories made up with youngsters or
school kids. According to Harju the „Uma Leht“ is even used in schools for the
teaching of the local dialect of Võru County. The paper has a separate page which
contains short funny stories, which are also understandable to children. According to
Igor Taro, the editor-in-chief of the regional paper „Setomaa“, their paper contains
quite a lot of information which is specifically geared towards youngsters.
Secondly the author of this B.A. thesis is of the opinion that the question is
about the quality of the product and the need for an increase in readership, i.e. about
sales activities. Oftentimes small enterprises with limited resources find a solution in
the internet business; however, an internet website for the paper cannot be an aim by
About the price: The enquiry performed showed that different research groups
have considered the price to be too high or rather that the ratio of price and quality is not in balance. If it is not possible to lower the price of the edition, then the paper
could still have programs for the constant client, be it for older people or for longterm
clients who would receive a considerable discount, e.g. on their annual
The interviews with the district governors showed that „Koit“ as a news
medium plays an important role in the districts as well as in the whole county; this
refers to the communication of news as well as the introduction of the districts. The
district governors were satisfied with the job that „Koit“ is doing in terms of the
communication of news and events. At the same time the need for updating the paper
was pointed out, in particular that „Koit“ could have a news archive on the web.
Will the local paper have a future? Regarding this question all editors-in-chief
who were interviewed for this B.A. thesis agreed that there will be a sure future for
this local paper. A quotation by Juhan Peegel resonated from the interview with Kalev
Annom, the editor-in-chief of „Võrumaa Teataja“ – for as long as a local paper is
capable of producing decent local news the local paper will remain. Whether this
statement is applicable to the paper „Koit“ with its decreasing print-run and a
readership that keeps growing older? Time will show.||en