Online media small form manual


In recent years, it has become quite common for all sorts of interest groups to have independent online publications. Channels that allow the message to be disseminated independently of traditional media, and are often done for their own interests and are consequently quite often unbalanced and inclined towards the author’s views.

It is noteworthy that a large number of such sites have names and web addresses that contain the word news – recent news, Estonian news, free news etc. starting with imitating news portals with their names.

It is only understandable that we cannot read hobby journalists texts for political party publications, compare it to the news published by professional journalists, and ERR editors.

In Estonian- language Facebook groups, there have been many cases of news being shared as honest reporting but actually coming from fake news sites or propaganda text from Russian owned environments.

Online publications, which as a rule would not receive much attention on the internet, are reaching the readers through social media. There, however the news-posting format significantly reduces references to the original source, its format, context and requests. In social media, Postimees as well as the fake news forwarder, seem like equally credible sources.

Here are some examples of theses types of publications:

Political Parties online publications
We are dealing with an online „news portal“ held by political parties. These are not the home pages of political parties, but environments in which political parties publish their ideological texts in news formats. – The Isamaa political party’s news portal, which is low on activity and the context, indicates a lack of authors. – The news portal of the Conservative People’s Party of Estonia, which provides numerous inputs for groups associated with the party on Facebook. A large number of postings and activity on various topics shows the involvement of professionals in content creation. – The internet version of the Estonian Centre Party’s newspaper „Kesknädal“. A media release that has appeared for years, it works with a certain structure and creators. It is meant to generate volume and takes up topics that do not directly contain party messages. – The news portal of the Free Political Party (Vabaerakond) in blog form. In terms of content, it is more like the party’s website than a news portal. For example, late January postings were mostly promotional presentations of party candidates, not news.

Online publications with worldwide views
Interest groups „news portals“ filled with original or translated interesting stories for the readership. The goal is to promote their own worldviews and publish and distribute supporting materials on the internet. – feminist worldview news portal – The conservative Christian web magazine of the Augsburg Religious Society – The news and opinion portal for the Protection of Family and Traditions Foundation. It provides numerous content for right-wing groups on Facebook. In terms of content, it is a religiously weighted conservative environment that in addition to its own author’s material also publishes translated stories from Breitbart, Zero Hedge, Info wars etc. – Anti- cohabitation law and anti-immigration activist Reimo Sillamaa’s news portal, that writes nationalistic views based on newspaper articles. Similar to Objektiiv (the lens) the is a frequent source for right-wing Facebook groups.

Theme-based online publications:
Interest-based publications where the published material has an exact and narrow readership. –  a hobby blog for politically interested individuals whose authors are; Andreas Kaju, Keit Kasemets, Erik Moora, Tõnis Leht, Tõnu Runnel and others. – financial topics blog

Entertainment publications
„News channels“ designed to provide entertainment through published material. Much of the material is fantasy or very close to it. – the latest humour page that looks like a serious press releasing publication. Writes fake stories on topical issues that unfortunately are found mixed with serious news.– a news portal writing on alternative topics, such as esotericism, reptilians and flat earth theories.– a humour magazine with a long history, which is active in the Facebook environment.

Publishers with long texts – a publication in blog form, that publishes long opinion pieces for text gourmets. Authors are; Ilmar Raag, Indrek Neivelt, Marko Mihkelson, Meelis Kubits, Tõnis Saarts and others.

Advertising monies testing online channels
A group of news stories aimed at producing or re-publishing news and texts that bring readers to the page for whom ads could be displayed – A news portal by Inno and Irja Tähismaa that publishes Finnish news in Estonian. Often the focus is also on immigration and nationalism. – a commercial news portal whose focus is on entertainment materials.

Online propaganda publications
Russian led Estonian-language content publications, which within neutral news publish Kremlin views and hostile materials against Estonia. – The Estonian branch of the Russian propaganda network, which publishes material prepared on Kremlin guidelines in both Estonian and Russian. – The Estonian branch of the propaganda network published in the Baltic nations, which is supported by Russia. It publishes propaganda materials in both Estonian and Russian, being an active producer of anti-Estonian material for Russian media channels – The Baltic branch of the international Kremlin propaganda network, which publishes pro-Kremlin material primarily in Russian, although Estonian articles are also found in the environment. An active platform for pro-Kremlin activists like; Mstislav Rusakov, Sergei Seredenko, Dmitri Klenski, Andrei Zarenkov and others.

The above examples are a selection of this genre’s most characteristic channels. It is important not to forget about their features and their goals when reading or sharing them in social media.