Ajalugu ajalehest!? Newspaper - a historical source?!


  • Varje Sootak




The paper of the University of Tartu was the first university newspaper
founded in Estonia after the WWII in 1948. It was meant to
be the voice of the rectorate, the party, Komsomol and Trade Union
committee, and had the same name as the university: Tartu Riiklik
Ülikool (Tartu State University).
Before the restoration of independence in 1988, the university got
the chance to elect its own rector for the first time after the war.
The university newspaper was at the centre of the upcoming great
changes, and took the name of Universitas Tartuensis since 1989, as
proposed by the readers.
Varje Sootak discusses work in the editorial office during Rector
Jüri Kärner’s term of office (1988–1993), when the old university
had to be demolished and a new one built, for which no-one had the
necessary experiences. She elaborates on the problems of newspaper
production, including the situation when official censorship was gone,
but the design layout of the newspaper was still given to the university’s
party committee secretary for review before publishing. The
academic community very bravely voiced their opinion at the time,
and took part in the creation of the new university, but, as the author
admits, due to the lack of time and limited printing space, many
texts did not make it to the paper, and the newspaper alone does not
give a full overview of university history. She stresses that the sooner
everyone writes down their memories, the better, even though they
are subjective and express the writer’s personal perspective. This is
how we keep the history of the national university versatile and colourful.


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