Estonia – Institute of Journalism and Communication of the University of Tartu (UT)

Brief description of the legal entity

The independent department of journalism at the University of Tartu was established in 1976. In 1996 public relations and information management curricula were added. Journalism has been taught at Tartu University since 1954.

The main research and teaching fields of the Institute of Journalism and Communication of the University of Tartu are journalism studies, history of journalism and communication, media economics, media policy and ethics, professionalisation of journalism and media literacy. Research in journalism is largely conducted within the framework of several international projects (e.g., COST A20, COST A30). The institute also conducts research in journalism cultures within the framework of a project funded by Estonian Science Foundation “Changing Journalism Cultures: A Comparative Perspective” (2008–2011, project leader Epp Lauk), and participates in the ongoing research within the Center of Excellence in Cultural Theory, the research group in cultural communication studies (2007-2013, principal investigator Halliki Harro-Loit).

Main tasks/previous experience relevant to those tasks

As an education institution for journalists, the main tasks of the Estonian project member will be the development of a best practise guidebook and the development and implementation of an online literature database on MAS. Furthermore, the Estonian partner will prepare and conduct the theory-building workshop.

Short profile of the staff member

Epp Lauk, PhD, is a professor of journalism at the University of Tartu and at the University of Jyväskylä, Finland. Her research activities focus on the fields of media development in Eastern and Central European new democracies, journalism culture and professionalisation of journalism in national and international perspectives, media literacy, journalism and censorship history and Estonian journalism history. She took part in several international research projects on the process of media transition and the impact of Internet. Currently, she conducts the research project „Changing Journalism Cultures: A Comparative Perspective“, and „Actual Complexity of Cultural Communication and Methodological Challenges of Culture Research“. She was previously concerned with the organisation of many international conferences and published more than 100 academic publications. Epp Lauk is member of numerous professional organisations including the International Association of Media Research (IAMCR; as co-chair of History Section), the European Communication Research Association (ECREA; as member of ECREA Task Force). She has been the Vice-Chairperson of the (original) Estonian Press Council in 2002–2004 and is currently the Chairperson of the (original) Estonian Press Council (since 2005).

Halliki Harro-Loit, PhD, is the Associate Professor and the Head of the Institute of Journalism and Communication at the University of Tartu. Her fields of research include communication policy discourse analysis of media content, journalism studies, communication law and ethics, and media education. She has taken administrative responsibilities in several projects, e.g. in a project about changes of organization culture in Estonian media organizations and another one about communication strategies of public authorities (including media strategies) before, during and after crises concerning risks, security threats and measures. Halliki Harro-Loit has numerous academic publications. Recently, she published about the diversity of media and online professional journalism in the Baltic states. Among other subjects she has been teaching communication law and ethics (since 1992). A member of the (original) Estonian Press Council (since 1992), which includes the position of the Vice-Chairperson (1997-2002).

Urmas Loit, diploma equivalent to MA, is a lecturer at the University of Tartu, mainly teaching radio. He was the country reporter and local translator, editor and publisher for the OSI/EUMAP all-European report “Television across Europe: Regulation, Policy and Independence” (2005). A member of the (original) Estonian Press Council (since 1992), which includes the position of the Chairperson (1996-2002). Former radio journalist (1988-1995) and former managing director of the Association of Estonian Broadcasters (1996-2009).

About MediaAcT

MediaAcT is a comparative research project on media accountability systems in EU member states as indicators for media pluralism in Europe.


Funded by the EC

Project funded under the Socio-economic Sciences and Humanties


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