G5 Doctoral dissertation (article)
Russophone journalists in Estonia : redefinition of professional roles (2021)

Jufereva-Skuratovski, Maria (2021). Russophone journalists in Estonia : redefinition of professional roles. JYU Dissertations, 344. Jyväskylä: Jyväskylän yliopisto. http://urn.fi/URN:ISBN:978-951-39-8481-6

JYU authors or editors

Publication details

All authors or editors: Jufereva-Skuratovski, Maria

eISBN: 978-951-39-8481-6

Journal or series: JYU Dissertations

eISSN: 2489-9003

Publication year: 2021

Number in series: 344

Number of pages in the book: 1 verkkoaineisto (98 sivua, 90 sivua useina numerointijaksoina)

Publisher: Jyväskylän yliopisto

Place of Publication: Jyväskylä

Publication country: Finland

Publication language: English

Persistent website address: http://urn.fi/URN:ISBN:978-951-39-8481-6

Open Access: Publication published in an open access channel

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This research focuses on the formation of perceptions of professional roles among Russophone journalists in Estonia during the political and societal transformation from 1991 when Estonia regained independence up to 2016. Since the character and scope of journalists’ professional performance largely depend on the contextual conditions in which journalists work, the social, political, historical and economic factors are also brought into focus in this thesis. Two main factors make the Estonian experience different from most of the other transitional states in the post-Soviet media landscape: 1) the existence of two separate, language-based, informational spaces and 2) the inclusion of Russophone journalists in the process of societal integration. It should also be noted that a range of characteristics makes the journalism of national minorities in the Baltic States, especially Estonia and Latvia, very different in comparison to the journalism of national minorities in the so-called old European democracies (Germany, United Kingdom, France). This is because Russophone journalists in the Baltic States became representatives of national minorities only after 1991, when the countries in question regained independence. The change of status from being members of the privileged majority in the Soviet empire to being part of an ethnic minority in a nation state has undoubtedly influenced the establishment of the civic stance and the reinterpretation of professional roles by Russophone journalists in Estonia. The leading research questions are: 1. What changes in the perception of professional roles and ethics of Russophone journalists have occurred during the process of societal and political transformation in Estonia from 1991 to 2016? 2. How do Russophone journalists see their roles and tasks concerning the integration into society of the Russophone population in Estonia? Theoretically, the thesis relies on the concepts of journalistic professionalization and perceptions of professional journalistic roles, which are thoroughly elaborated in the works of Thomas Hanitzsch (2007, 2011, 2013, 2017), Claudia Mellado et al. (2017). It relies too on the concepts of societal transformation and integration (Karol Jakubowicz, 2001; Peter Gross, 2004; Vihalemm, 2004, 2008, 2011). The study combines quantitative and qualitative methods such as a standardized questionnaire and in-depth interviews with journalists. The main trends in the perception of journalistic roles and ethical values were outlined in the standardized questionnaire. The interviews-in-depth allowed for a more detailed analysis of journalists’ professional performance in the Estonian context. The quantitative findings demonstrated that Russophone journalists felt a strong affiliation with their own ethnic group. A distinct majority (78%) of them regarded expressing and defending the interests of the Russophone minority as important or very important in their professional work. The interviews-in-depth confirmed that in terms of socio-political integration Russophone journalists did not position themselves as “watchdogs” challenging those in power, but more as “loyal facilitators” who had the same goals as the government in terms of socio-political integration. They aimed to contribute to the social integration of the Russophone minority. The situation meant an inner conflict for many Russophone journalists, as the government’s integration actions were not always in line with the specific interests of the Russophone population.

Keywords: Russian speakers; journalists; journalism; national minorities; linguistic minorities; societal change; integration (passive); professional identity; professional ethics

Free keywords: Russophone journalists; Estonia; professional roles; journalistic performance; ethics; societal integration; informational spaces

Contributing organizations

Ministry reporting: Yes

Last updated on 2021-03-02 at 12:58