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Editorial Policy

December 23rd, 2020

The Goal of Eesti Elu / Estonian Life

Eesti Elu / Estonian Life is a weekly newspaper created for Estonians and friends of the Estonian community across Canada and around the world. The owner and publisher of Eesti Elu / Estonian Life is Tartu College.

Published weekly since 2002, Eesti Elu / Estonian Life’s primary mandate is to inform its readership on matters that specifically impact Estonia, the Estonian-Canadian community, and other Estonian readers. This includes reporting local community news, news from Estonia, Estonian events and community announcements, as well as pertinent cultural and lifestyle topics.

Eesti Elu / Estonian Life shall uphold its independence as a publication; independent from any organization, including those which may financially support Eesti Elu / Estonian Life newspaper.

The Purpose of Eesti Elu / Estonian Life

  1. To publish Eesti Elu / Estonian Life once per week.
  2. To report on matters that directly impact Estonia, Estonians, and Estonian-Canadians, while carefully selecting submitted content that is consistent with the newspaper’s journalistic principles.
  3. To publish media content in the Estonian language for the newspaper’s Estonian readership, while also including content for non Estonian-speaking readers in the newspaper’s English supplement (Estonian Life). Some content may be duplicated in both sections.
  4. To be a point of congregation for the Estonian-Canadian community and its Eesti Elu / Estonian Life Editorial Policy – Google Docsfriends, where ideas may be shared freely, objectively, truthfully, and with a commitment to inform readers.

Journalistic Principles

All media content (written, photographic, or otherwise) in Eesti Elu / Estonian Life aligns with these principles.

Truth: Eesti Elu / Estonian Life publishes accurate content. Articles indicate sources for facts and data. Reported facts come from reputable sources and provide evidence for claims that are made. Quotes are presented in an intact form. Grammatical and spelling errors in quotes are noted in both Estonian and English as “(sic)” or “(sic!)”, indicating that the error appears as it does in the original text of the quote.

Objectivity: Eesti Elu / Estonian Life publishes content that represents differing interpretations of an issue. When one interpretation is published, other interpretations will be given the opportunity to be published, and when possible, at the same time. Eesti Elu / Estonian Life writers do not receive gifts, compensation, or other incentives from sources for their writing. Paid advertisements are marked as such.

Tact: Eesti Elu / Estonian Life’s content upholds respect for all individuals, regardless of nationality, race, religion, sexual orientation, disabilities, or gender expression. Eesti Elu / Estonian Life does not publish articles that constitute personal attacks. Libellous content is avoided. When reporting on legal matters that are not yet public, Eesti Elu / Estonian Life protects the names and privacy of individuals.

Attribution: Wherever possible, permission for the inclusion of copyrighted material will be obtained for Eesti Elu / Estonian Life‘s publications. When media content—including but not limited to photos, videos, and illustrations—accompanies an article, credit will be given to the source of the content.

Roles and Responsibilities


Eesti Elu / Estonian Life publishes content from three classes of writers: staff writers, non-staff contract writers who regularly contribute content, and non-staff writers who contribute on an infrequent basis. A writer’s relationship with the paper is indicated when appropriate and/or necessary, and determined by the staff of the paper.

Most articles will have the author’s byline. Provided the Eesti Elu / Estonian Life Editors know the true identity of an author, the use of a pseudonym is acceptable. Two exceptions exist. The first is when community information articles are written by the Eesti Elu / Estonian Life Editors. Second, anonymity cannot be used in order to print malicious or slanderous articles. Editors are accountable for managing and ensuring that this does not occur.

Eesti Elu / Estonian Life publishes three types of written content:

-News reports consist of purely factual writing to inform the readership.

-Op-eds (Arvamus) are written submissions, by an identified writer, expressing the opinion of the writer.

-Letters to the Editor are brief written submissions directed to the newspaper on matters that affect the newspaper and its readership and often in response to a topic previously reported in Eesti Elu / Estonian Life. These contributors may be identified or their identity held in confidence by the editors when the truth and accuracy of the content has been confirmed by other sources.

Managing Editor and Editors

Ultimate accountability for all content in both sections of Eesti Elu / Estonian Life is with the Managing Editor. The Managing Editor uses discretion to determine the selection of articles based on the newspaper’s journalistic principles. All newspaper staff, including Eesti Elu / Estonian Life’s two Editors, report to the Managing Editor.

There is one Editor for each section (Estonian and English) of the newspaper. Each Editor selects articles to be published in each section and may edit article content for the sake of clarity and accuracy. The Managing Editor reserves the right to publish or not publish what is submitted.

In the interest of objectivity, the publication of op-eds may be delayed by the Managing Editor so as to solicit another perspective on the op-ed topic and to position differing viewpoints side-by-side in the same issue of the newspaper if possible. The Editor may ask the writer to edit the op-ed when necessary.

If the Managing Editor and Editors cannot reach a decision on whether or not to publish an op-ed, they may seek advice from the Advisory Committee (described below). Regardless, the ultimate decision rests with the Managing Editor.

Mindful of the space allocation for all other articles that Eesti Elu / Estonian Life publishes, a 6,000 character limit is used as a guideline and provides the Managing Editor discretion as to the length of articles. The publication of longer articles is under the discretion of the Managing Editor. The Managing Editor may ask the writer to redact any submitted article, or may redact the article themselves. Redactions by the Managing Editor cannot change the tone of the op-ed and it must be made clear with a notice at the end of the article that it has been redacted.

When an error or omission is found in a published article, all reasonable effort should be taken by the Managing Editor to promptly notify readers of that error with a notice (a correction) in the following print issue of the newspaper, as well as below the website version of the article, if applicable. If an entire article is retracted on the Eesti Elu / Estonian Life website, this will be announced with a written notice in the following issue of the printed newspaper as well as a written notice on the website. When formal complaints are lodged against the newspaper regarding its content, the Managing Editor is responsible for responding.

Though Tartu College may provide a portion of funding for Eesti Elu / Estonian Life‘s budget (newspaper subscriptions and sale of advertising space make up the rest of this budget), it does not make editorial decisions. Tartu College will become involved with the Editorial Department in the event of Eesti Elu / Estonian Life facing legal repercussions for content that it publishes.

Advisory Committee

The Advisory Committee will be appointed on an annual basis by the Board of Directors of Tartu College. The six (6) members of the Committee will consist of:

-One representative from the Tartu College Board of Directors.

-The two Editors of Eesti Elu‘s printed newspaper.

-The Digital Editor of Eesti Elu.

-Two members from the community at-large who may be experienced media, financial, business, or legal professionals.

The Advisory Committee will meet at least twice annually, to give advice on strategy, operations, personnel, and business matters, to be conveyed in writing to the Managing Editor and to the Tartu College Board of Directors for their consideration. The Committee may also meet at the request of any of its members.

The Managing Editor can approach the Advisory Committee about any matter at all, including the content of the newspaper. However, the final decision on the content of Eesti Elu / Estonian Life is the Managing Editor’s responsibility.

The Advisory Committee may recommend amendments to this Editorial Policy for consideration by the Managing Editor. The Managing Editor will also consult with the Advisory Committee on any changes to the policy that she plans to make. All changes to the Editorial Policy must be communicated by the Managing Editor to the Tartu College Board of Directors.

Function of the Eesti Elu / Estonian Life Website (Digital Platform):

The purpose of the Eesti Elu / Estonian Life website is to extend the reach of the newspaper in a digital format, to serve as a Community Hub that continuously shares resources and information for Estonians and friends of the Estonian community. The Digital and Editorial teams work closely with community organizations to ensure a consistent exchange of information.

Reflecting the printed version of the newspaper, articles and media will be selectively posted on the Eesti Elu / Estonian Life website. The Editorial, Digital and Marketing Departments will work together to decide which articles to publish online. These articles and media will be uploaded to the website, corresponding to the newspaper’s weekly publication. The website/digital publication may publish articles in addition to ones in the printed newspaper.

In addition to publishing some of the newspaper’s content in a digital format, the Eesti Elu / Estonian Life website includes sections that host multimedia content and articles created exclusively for the website.

Digital Platform Roles:


Web-specific content has the contributor’s byline. The website publishes content from three classes of contributors: IT/Web and Content Creation “staff contributors” of Eesti Elu / Estonian Life, “non-staff contract contributors” who represent community organizations, and “non-staff user contributors” who submit content through the user-generated content sections of the website. All contributors are identified as needed.

Beyond a selection of news reports, op-eds, and letters to the editor also published in the printed newspaper, the Eesti Elu / Estonian Life website publishes content of two types through its numerous sections:

Information and resources that are provided by staff contributors and non-staff contract contributors, as well as user contributors who pay to include their community information on the website.

Community media created by user contributors in the form of brief pieces of writing, photos, audio, and videos, content which is located in its own section of the website. Community media submitted by contract contributors is located in sections of the website specific to the contract contributor’s organization.

Community Engagement Manager / Digital Editor

As with the printed newspaper, the Managing Editor holds ultimate accountability for all content on the Eesti Elu / Estonian Life website. However, the solicitation and editing of website-specific content is managed by the Community Engagement Manager / Digital Editor, who reports to the Managing Editor.

The Community Engagement Manager / Digital Editor is a liaison for the Community Hub. They establish and develop relationships with representatives of organizations in the Estonian community, facilitating frequent submission of content from non-staff contract contributors for the website.

The Community Engagement Manager / Digital Editor may assist in the creation of this content, and selects submitted content from non-staff contract contributors to publish on the website in accordance with Eesti Elu / Estonian Life‘s purpose and principles. Information and resources on the website are edited by the Digital Editor for timeliness, accuracy, and clarity.

If an error is found within content published on the website, the Digital Editor will notify users with a correction below the content.

When media content is submitted for publication on the website by non-staff contract contributors—including but not limited to photos, videos, and illustrations—the Digital Editor ensures that credit is given to the source of the content.

The Digital Editor reports to the Managing Editor when questions arise about the content submitted by non-staff contract contributors. The Managing Editor reserves the right to publish or not publish what is submitted for the website.

Website Management:

While reporting to the Managing Editor, the Web/IT, Editorial, Content Creation, Marketing, and Advertising departments will work collaboratively to maintain and monitor the website, including the comments sections below articles published on the website. Comments will be monitored to ensure that they are civil and respectful.

As with the printed newspaper, Tartu College will become involved with the Editorial Department in the event of legal action being taken against the newspaper for its newspaper or website content.

Website access

Selected content is always accessible free-of-charge, at the discretion of the Managing Editor, while small samples of subscriber content are provided before purchasing one of three subscription plans:

-digital monthly

-digital annually

-print + digital

Each of these subscription plans makes all of the website’s content accessible.

Digital policy elements have been informed by resources from École polytechnique fédérale de Lausanne.