Writings by members of the Riigikogu in nationwide and local newspapers
The writer of this article was responsible for shaping the content of the newspaper Postimees for many long years. Her current position as information specialist with the Estonian National Library allows her to view the process from the other side – compiling bibliographies of articles and helping library users find the information they need on particular topics.
A function of journalism is to disseminate the positions of representatives of the supreme legislative branch to the public, as the decisions adopted in parliament determine the framework for life in society – a framework in which people operate on a daily basis. However, the publication of opinions of members of parliament cannot be the goal in and of itself. The opinions must be relevant to the reader, give an exhaustive answer to the burning questions of the day, shed light on the background for decisions, and offer a solution to problems. In 2007, according to data from the Estonian National Library, members of the Riigikogu were credited with a total of 2,906 published pieces. These, among other genres, included articles by, interviews and Q&As with, and short opinion pieces by current and former members. Analysis of articles and interviews published in county newspapers leads us to state that on one hand members of the Riigikogu consider county newspapers an important channel through which they can communicate their (and their party’s) ideas to readers. On the other hand, there is a sense of them making concessions regarding quality – compared to writings in papers with a national circulation, articles in county newspapers display a more sloganeering trend.