Supervisors: dots Maarja Lõhmus ja prof Marju Lauristin
Opponent: prof Mikko Lagerspetz (Åbo Akademi, Finland)
(CONSTRUCTION OF JOURNALISTIC FACTS IN DIFFERENT SOCIETIES)
The thesis discusses the construction of journalistic facts-the media's way of representing reality. In addition to selection of events for reporting, the construction of journalistic facts also involves considerations concerning the relationship of a journalistic text to the public that it addresses, as well as those concerning the various mechanisms of control employed by the authorities and editorial bodies to screen journalistic material scheduled for publication.
The thesis seeks to test the question of whether journalistic fact construction can be said to involve a limited number of sociopragmatic universals or modalities which operate equally in the context of authoritarian, totalitarian as well as democratic societies. For this purpose, the thesis includes an extensive section that sets out the results of the author's empirical research into the construction of journalistic facts in societies falling within each of the three categories mentioned.
The first body of texts analysed in the thesis consists of Estonian printed texts published in the largest Estonian daily (Päevaleht) from the beginning of 1939 to March 1940 and of the scripts of Estonian-language newscasts by Finland's national broadcasting company from the period of December 1939-March 1940. The second body of texts is the corpus of newscasts by the Estonian Television (ETV) during its initial period of operation, 1955‑1958. The news was broadcast chiefly in Estonian and in Finnish. The part of analysis concerned with democratic society examines, in comparative perspective, the journalistic construction of reality in Estonia, the UK, France and Germany.