Ajakirjanduslikud osaluseksperimendid ajalehes Eesti Ekspress 1989 - 2010
The aim of the Bachelor’s thesis “Participatory Stories in the Weekly newspaper the Eesti Ekspress 1989 - 2010” was to study participation as a method of reporting. Participatory story is one of the most challenging approaches of information gathering, which leads the journalist away from the safe environment of the newsroom and requires more than just excellent interviewing techniques and masterful skill of writing and is often exhausting both physically and mentally. The result, however, is more powerful. In the theoretical part of the thesis, the term "participatory story" was explained and also ethical conflicts, newsworthiness and the journalist's role in it were explored. First, an overview was given of different definitions authors have used for participatory story. It was then discovered that participatory story is understood very differently - the term itself is used in many different ways, whether it is understood as a genre in itself or a method of gathering data. Nevertheless, authors were at a consensus that participatory reporting should not be used lightly: it is a sensitive mode, which can easily damage both the source as well as the reporter. In the second part of the thesis, participatory stories from the Estonian weekly newspaper the Eesti Ekspress were analyzed, using text analysis as the main method. The analysis includes participatory stories from the very first issue in 1989 up to 2010. The analysis was supported with interviews made with professional journalists working for the Eesti Ekspress. Examining the definitions provided by the journalists and the definitions from the theoretical part from this thesis side by side, it was possible to compose a unified definition of a participation story: a participation story is a form of reporting, where the journalist manipulates reality and places him-/herself or the subject in a new environment, therefore creating the content of the story through direct action. The analysis showed that it is characteristic for a participation story to develop a strong first person narrative in the final article, mainly through expressing individual thoughts, commenting on (own or others') behavior and interior monologues. The unusually small role of soft news newsworthiness criteria also became apparent in choosing the topics for the articles, from which it can be concluded that the genre of participation story itself is as important as the newsworthiness criteria themselves or even more important. It is impossible to cover all aspects of the participation story in just one thesis. In this thesis I tried to discuss only the most noteworthy traits. There is much material for further study: an in-depth study of the language and style characteristic to participation stories, how a journalist conducting a participation story relates to his or her sources and a comparison of different perspectives used in participation stories in Estonian and foreign media.
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