Koosolekukommunikatsiooni analüüs Eesti Päevalehe näitel võrdluses Irish Timesiga



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The aim of the present masters’ thesis „The analysis of meeting talk at Eesti Päevaleht in comparison with The Irish Times” is to investigate how newsworthiness is given to news items in the editorial meeting setting, and whether the distinctive meeting talk enables the production of newsworthy journalistic material or not. The focus of the study is on the editorial meetings of the Estonian national daily Eesti Päevaleht, with reference to the meetings of the Irish national quality daily The Irish Times. The research questions were as follows: what are the characteristics of and how effective is the meeting talk at Eesti Päevaleht, how is newsworthiness attributed to news items at editorial meetings, what degree of individual autonomy of journalists does the meeting talk refer to, how has the meeting talk changed after the uniting of the newsrooms of Eesti Päevaleht and the online news site Delfi, and what are the characteristics of meeting talk that differentiate Eesti Päevaleht from The Irish Times. The empirical base of the thesis was accumulated by observation of the newsrooms, recording the meetings and transcribing the verbal interaction, and interviewing the journalists. A combination of observation and conversation analysis was used to answer the research questions. The findings indicate that the meeting talk at Eesti Päevaleht is rather informal – the editorial meeting were loosely moderated, the allocation of turn-taking was often unstructured and simultaneous, topic changes occurred often, and the emotional tone of the meetings was usually quite humorous. After the joining of the two newsrooms the meetings appeared to be more formal and structured. Although a thorough discussion was expected at meetings on a daily basis, as it was believed that it would enhance the quality of work of the individual journalists, that goal was seldom reached in the actual setting of a meeting. There was little evidence of active listening during editorial meetings, and journalists were not motivated to participate in discussions. The aim of editorial meetings at The Irish Times was not to have thorough discussions on a daily basis, but to share information and to make editorial decisions as quickly and effectively as possible in a formal setting. Compared to the practice of The Irish Times, the meetings at Eesti Päevaleht were more about the socialisation of journalists rather than an effective way of communicating in the newsroom. Many instructions were given at editorial meetings at Eesti Päevaleht, especially after the joining of the two newsrooms. Journalists were instructed to use certain sources for their articles or to present the news item in a particular way. The instructions were voiced as direct commands rather than by following the principles of couching. Instructing was rather limited at the meetings of The Irish Times newsroom; if instructions were indeed given, they were about adding extra material to news items (e.g. location maps). Although journalists in both newsrooms believed to be autonomous in their work, the practice of giving detailed instructions indicated that the autonomy of individual journalists at Eesti Päevaleht was actually more limited. Judging by meeting talk, classical hard news was most valued at Eesti Päevaleht. On the other hand, attributing value to certain news items was not always a conscious action or comprehensibly phrased. For instance, instead of news factors, there would be talk of publishing something because of a certain “need” to do it. After the joining of newsrooms there were more visible signs of entertainment media discourse and a so-called news-you-canuse approach. There was little discussion about the newsworthiness of certain news items at meetings at The Irish Times, which indicates the common understanding of news values for the publication. At Eesti Päevaleht, on the other hand, if a discussion about newsworthiness did arise, the position was not unanimous. Therefore – compared to The Irish Times the journalists at Eesti Päevaleht are still debating the identity and role of themselves and the publication on a daily basis.