Reporters and editors from Äripäev, with Laura Mallene at far right.
Ask your average reader what the newsroom of a typical business newspaper looks like, and she would probably describe a bunch of middle-aged men sitting at desks, pecking away at their computers. But for Estonian business daily Äripäev, that would be totally wrong. "Right now, the average age in our editorial team is around 30 years or less," says Meelis Mandel, editor-in-chief. And there are plenty of women on the team - approximately 60 percent.
Born during the turbulent years following the dissolution of the Soviet Union, Äripäev was founded by Bonnier to help during the transition to democracy. Some 23 years later, the free spirit is still alive and well in the newsroom.
For Laura Mallene, the newest (and at 24 years old, the youngest) member of the staff, Äripäev's reputation as a good place to work was part of what brought her to the paper. That and her writing at weekly Eesti Ekspress, which had gotten the attention of Äripäev editor Aivar Hundimägi.
"Before joining Äripäev, I worked for biggest Estonian daily newspaper Postimees," says Mallene. "Aivar called me and asked if I would be interested in working for Äripäev. Previously I'd heard from other journalists how Äripäev is really good at supporting and teaching young journalists to be their best. So there was no hesitation. I met the editor and said 'yes' on the same day."
Mallene says what makes the atmosphere the best of all the newspapers she's worked at - six in total - is her co-workers and the true teamwork done at the paper. "I feel it every day," she says. "Life at Äripäev is never boring."
That matches Mandel's view of the atmosphere at the paper. "Intense, open and friendly," are what he comes up with when asked to describe the paper in three words. He certainly does his part to foster the atmosphere, including being calm to help counteract the intensity and help his team in meeting the daily challenge of offering readers a steady diet of useful and interesting news and information to make the paper, both in print and online, an indispensable part of the reader's day.
Which isn't always easy. For Mallene, the biggest personal challenge is dealing with angry or insulting sources. "I feel bad every time it happens. That is the difficult part of my work," she says. But he co-workers more than make up for any ugliness in doing stories. "Our investigative journalists inspire me every day," she says.