Euroopa Liidu kuvand üleriigiliste ajalehtede ja maakonnalehtede ajakirjanike seas



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Tartu Ülikool



In my bachelor´s thesis I studied the attitude of the journalists of the Estonian media towards the European Union (EU) during the years 2006 and 2007 and how this attitude is reflected in the articles written in Estonian language about the EU. The aim of the study was to assess the image of the EU among the journalists and to compare to what extent this image differs between nationwide daily and local newspapers. In addition a goal was set to investigate if and how this image influenced the content of the articles. Principal expressions: Image – For use in the field of public relations Aune Past has proposed the following definition: “an image is a vision about an organization or an individual among the target groups that forms their attitude towards the bearer of the image and influences the readiness of the target groups to react to the actions of the bearer of the image in one way or another” (Past 1999). A journalist is defined as any person involved in the preparation of content of all nationwide and local daily newspapers, including editors and others who contribute to the content of the newspaper. The European Union is a community of European countries that exists in its present state since 1993 and its institutions. Article is a journalistic text produced by a particular author in an editorial office that has been published in an Estonian newspaper and which contains the expression “The European Union” or its equivalent. Local newspaper is a newspaper that is published in Estonian language in mainly one county at least twice a week. Nationwide daily is a newspaper that is published in Estonian language at least 5 times a week all over the country. Methods and results Firstly I created a formalized questionnaire and analyzed the results by using the methods of semantic differential and the situation theory of Grunig. Altogether 40 journalists filled the questionnaire anonymously, 20 of them were from nationwide dailies and 20 from local newspapers. According to the answers, I assessed the image of the EU and determined the target groups of Grunig, at the same time the questioned journalists also evaluated the use of their sources and their reliability. As a result of the analysis of the empirically collected answers it is clear that the image given to the EU by the journalists is mainly positive, the image by local newspaper journalists being even more positive than that of the nationwide daily journalists. It became evident that according to the Grunig method most of the journalists belonged to the target groups named as “aware” or “active” and there were noticeable differences between these groups regarding their image of the EU. In order to find out, how the positive image influences the articles, I used the method of content analysis and analysed 100 articles about the EU that had been randomly selected from 1st of March to 30th of April 2007 and published during this time in Estonian newspapers and internet web pages. From this analysis I found that even though most of the articles were mainly neutral, positive articles were more abundant than negative ones. Local newspapers published significantly more positive articles. In order to clarify the reasons why the image of EL is positive among the journalists and why positive articles are published more often than negative ones, I analyzed the transcriptions of four in depth interviews. All the interviewed journalists had been working at a newspaper more than ten years, two of them at nationwide dailies and two at local newspapers, two were editors and two were reporters. As a result it became evident that a consciously positive attitude towards the EU prevailed in the editorial office and among the journalists already before the referendum in 2003 and it has not changed. At the same time the EU as a subject has become less important and more often journalists are satisfied with easily accessible information and material. All four hypotheses were confirmed: The image of the EU among the journalists is mainly positive, being more positive among the journalists at local newspapers. In both, nationwide dailies and local newspapers, positive articles about the EU were published more often than negative ones. The journalists get most of their information from Estonian sources and do not show activity in searching new themes and sources. Most of the journalists belong to the aware and active target groups.


H Social Sciences (General)