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Archived Articles 27 Jul 2009 Justin PetroneEWR
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The entire news staff of the Baltic Times quit recently, according to various news reports.

Vello Vikerkaar's got a stirring piece up on the issue right now: his Postimees piece (in Estonian: http://www.postimees.ee/?id=14... - EEonline) inspired this venture into "me too" blogging.

I am not surprised, having seen editors come and go through the years. Several tried to reform the newspaper for the better but failed. At one point, one even told me, "If you want the job, it's yours for the taking." For some reason, I declined and decided to remain in my auxiliary capacity.

When I used to freelance for BT, I would fantasize about how I would remake it. First, I would kill all the cosmetic "Baltic" crap, whereby any creature living within the territory of Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania was a "Balt" -- a term originally used for Baltic Germans. Go into an Estonian supermarket and ask the cashier if she's seen any Balts lately. See what she tells you.

After the death of "the Balt," I would add an office in Helsinki to make it a full-fledged "eastern rim" newspaper. That might irritate people in that post-tsarist nordic country, but they deserve it.

Finally, I'd set up stringers in major Baltic Sea cities: Stockholm, Gdansk, St. Petersburg. The Baltic Times would have daily online content, and suddenly make other local English-language news sources in the region look provincial. It would be a sea-sized publication. We would keep a pensioner at a desk in Riga, the natural center of the region, and call it our headquarters.

That was a fantasy. Accomplishing it would have been impossible. I suggested the "Finnish office" idea to an editor once, but was told that Finland was labyrinthine and "you have to have a cousin up there to get anything done." From there, one could guess that an expansion to Stockholm or St. Petersburg was not really an option. BT would march on, publishing on such topics as "Baltic fashion," "Baltic music," and "Baltic fiction."

Nowadays, if you want something in English on the region, you've got to search the blogs, decipher the news stories on BBN, or wait patiently for The Economist's Edward Lucas to write something, when he's not in Ruthenia or Moldova.

Or you could just learn Estonian.

Itching For Eestimaa, pühapäev 26. juuli http://palun.blogspot.com/
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