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OHMYGOSSIP

Helena-Reet: Good and honest news also DO sell

OHMYGOSSIP – It has recently caught my eye that many leading Estonian tabloids publish entirely unverified press reports, don´t always check up the facts coming from sort of unreliable sources, and last but not least, have been ridiculed by the artists themselves.

It´s almost funny to read every other day how even a novice artist plays games with the largest Estonian tabloids: someone “has got his wife pregnant”, someone “moved to another town”, someone “has sex with several men at a time”, someone “has died” because he hasn´t answered the phone for some time, someone “has released a crazy video on YouTube”, while he was drinking. And so on… Similarly, there are invented press releases sent out to the media which are most kindly being published without ever checking up the background. I find it unbelievable and totally irresponsible to present false facts as a truth. Both editors and journalists have a huge responsibility in front of the readers.

Abroad, in America for example, such “mistakes” never occur. I´m not talking about someones´s blog, I mean newspapers and magazines. You never come across a news that has been casually released without verifying the facts. This applies to all kinds of media, both serious publications and the “yellow” ones, as well as online editions. The reason being partly that americans go to court for in principle just anything and “I will sue you” is a common menace. A news doesn´t concern only the person in question, each news also affects the actual person´s relatives, friends and even acquaintances. Let´s say that someone has been exposed as a pedophile  –  it immediately affects the people close to him. And it´s extremely dumb when it was some kind of a joke. Secondly, journalists abroad have much better education and higher ethical values. Students and trainees working for nationwide publications are not entitled to publish or upload news either in printed or online media. Editorial boards have both strict hierarchy and internal rules.

In Estonia it sticks out like a sore thumb that the tabloids wish to give the impression that the yellow media may do as it pleases. No, it may not. A tabloid may not produce false information – it´s purpose is to produce entertainment. It can´t make up stories without investigating the background. Tabloids also have to do interviews, abstract only the sources they completely trust and especially in case of news with negative undertone comments from both parties are necessary.

Another quite an unpleasant trend is that the story is created out of the context. I don´t have to look far away for an example. When I started gossip.ee, several publications asked me questions like “Are you planning to cause us trouble? (“Are you going to be a pain in the ass?)” and “Why do you think you are going to survive when top.top was just beeing closed?”, “What was the biggest mistake Ingrid Tähismaa made (today she´s called Veidenberg)? “What is your strategy?” etc. When I answered that I was going to invest  more of my labour than my family´s funds in the new project, an article was published, titled as “Ingrid Tähismaa should have worked harder.” I had made it clear that I didn´t necessarily need an office in the old town and ten employees. As well as that there was a great difference in running an online magazine in comparison with a published one and that I had much more experience with a website. I made three phone calls and wrote numerous e-mails but the story  never came out  the way I wished – because it sold! Of course it sold, in Estonia media is willing to sell off even friends and beloved ones, and the point is … eventually it is going to sell off itself. Because ultimately – the reader is not stupid… and an empty bubble is inevitably going to burst sooner or later… and after getting tired of the circus you probably would like to have a bite of bread.

Believe it or not but good and honest news also DO sell. And very much so!

 




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