The article is focused on the press debate of 1893–1895, triggered by Jakob Hurt’s criticism of Matthias Johann Eisen’s methods of folklore collecting. Besides the invaluable role played by the press in the success of the collecting campaigns, one should also consider the multi-pronged nature of the local press sphere of the late 19th century. While the collectors used the press for their own purposes, the journalists felt free to make use of folklore topics in various other discussions and mutual disputes. Analysing the positions of four newspapers – Postimees, Olevik, Virmaline and Valgus – the article attempts to capture the general significance of the campaigns for the cultural space of the time. Hurt’s argumentation was based on his view of the scientific approach as the only right way, whereas the journalists put forward another perspective.