Helle Sjøvaag, Truls André Pedersen and Ole Martin Lægreid
This article assumes a media system perspective on the local news media structure in Norway, using a dataset of 847,487 news articles collected from 156 Norwegian news outlets in 2015–2017. Using a series of hypotheses, the analysis uses Latent Dirichlet Allocation (LDA) topic modelling to ascertain to what extent local journalism meets community information needs through infrastructure, output and performance. The analysis finds that the size of the publisher and the size of the community covered matter more for hard news coverage than regulatory factors. To that end, the results indicate that the Norwegian local media system is somehow shaped by the geography of the political landscape. The results and their contributions are discussed in light of media systems theory and local journalism structures.
Marko Siitonen, Panu Uotila, Turo Uskali, Jukka Varsaluoma and Tanja Välisalo
Producing digital and interactive journalistic products offers unique and important new learning opportunities for journalism education. This study analysed the experiences of two pilot courses on so-called ‘newsgames’ in a Finnish university in 2015 and 2017. The data consisted of the newsgames and other materials produced by the students, student feedback concerning the course and observations of teachers throughout the project. Our analysis demonstrates how producing newsgames in the context of higher education may foster project-based learning experiences, something that has been relatively rare in traditional journalism education. Collaboration with media companies also offered valuable feedback for the students throughout the course and provided them with an opportunity to practice selling their expertise. The study highlights how interdisciplinary and project-based cooperation may benefit journalism education.
Carmen Daniela Maier, Finn Frandsen and Winni Johansen
This study marks a shift in research focus from verbal to visual aspects in crisis communication and contributes to the emerging field of visual crisis communication by exploring the use of images in the Scandinavian press when reporting on and/or commemorating a disaster. We used rhetorical arena theory (RAT) and a social semiotic approach to visual analysis to investigate how fifteen newspapers from Sweden, Norway and Denmark visualised the MS Estonia disaster ten, fifteen and twenty years after the sinking of the ship. We examined 93 images published on the anniversaries in 2004, 2009 and 2014 to determine what kinds of images accompanied the press reports and how these changed over time. The results demonstrate that the images, which changed considerably over time, represented the disaster both as an irreversible loss and as a process with a strong symbolic value.
Photographs of older people on the website of the DaneAge Association
Christa Lykke Christensen
This article studies how the Danish advocacy group for older people, Ældre Sagen (the DaneAge Association, or DAA), of which around 46 per cent of all Danes over the age of 65 are members, visually represents older people. The study gains theoretical inspiration from media and cultural-gerontological theories concerning the cultural influence of media representations of older people, and the connected perceptions of what it means to be and to grow old. The study is based on an analysis of a sample of 59 photographs that appeared on DAA’s website in the period 2016−2018. The results indicate a dominant visual representation of older people as happy, socially involved and extroverted, while representations of older people as weak, introverted and alone constitute a minority. In conclusion, the organisation visually promote a positive image of older people, at the same time as they represent them as excluded from other age groups and from culture and society in general.
Commentary journalism in the regional public sphere
Birgit Røe Mathisen and Lisbeth Morlandstø
A significant trend within journalism is the growth of the commentary genre. Another trend is the regional withdrawal within news journalism. News media are closing down district offices, which raises concerns over media shadows and blind spots in coverage. This article addresses both of these trends through a case analysis of the Norwegian newspaper Nordlys. Launching its commentary innovation Nordnorsk debatt, Nordlys aims to exceed its geographical area within these columns, facilitating a regional public sphere in the Arctic region. The article discusses the role of opinion-based journalism in the regional public sphere, within the theoretical perspective of media ecology and institutional theory. We argue that covering the regional level in society is a vital part of journalism’s institutional role. In addition, from an ecological perspective, the role of being a regional voice is important in the national public sphere.
Snapchat and media-use before the 2016 and 2017 Althing elections
The increased importance of social media platforms and network media logic merging with traditional media logic are a trademark of modern hybrid systems of political communication. This article looks at this development through the media-use by politicians before the 2016 and 2017 parliamentary elections in Iceland. Aggregate results from candidate surveys on the use and perceived importance of different media forms are used to examine the role of the new platform Snapchat in relation to other media, and to highlight the dynamics of the hybrid media system in Iceland. The results show that Snapchat is exploited more by younger politicians and those already using social media platforms. However, in spite of this duality between old and new media, users of traditional platforms still use new media and vice versa. This points to the existance of a delicate operational balance between different media logics, that could change as younger politicians move more centre stage.
Ecological modernisation and the media imagery of climate change
The article analyses the discursive roles of two prominent themes of the habitual media climate change imagery: “the smokestack” and “renewable energy”. Through semiotic analysis of connotation and thematic content analysis of images in The Guardian, the article argues that the constant reliance on these two themes and the particular ways of representing them sustain a definition of climate change as a technological dualism. The article argues further that this dualism of “dirty” and “clean” technologies, as the predominant way of visualising direct causes of and responses to climate change, articulates ecological modernisation discourse and its central storyline of progressing from “defiling growth” toward “sustainable development” (Hajer, 1995). The article suggests (1) further research on conventional thematic imageries as a meaningful approach to studying policy discourses and (2) the relevance of applying concepts of policy research to understanding and challenging the political bearings of prominent visualisations.
In this study we investigate the abilities to determine the credibility of digital news among 483 teenagers. Using an online survey with a performance test we assess to what extent teenagers are able to determine the credibility of different sources, evaluate credible and biased uses of evidence, and corroborate information. Many respondents fail to identify the credibility of false, biased and vetted news. Respondents who value the importance of credible news seem to hold a mindset helping them to determine credibility better than other respondents. In contrast, respondents self-reporting to be good at searching information online and who find information online trustworthy are not very good at civic online reasoning. Our findings, which may be linked to theories of disciplinary literacy, science curiosity and overconfidence, provide a basis for further research of how to better understand and support civic online reasoning in classrooms and society.
The article describes the idea of creation and development of Polish biweekly magazine “Biały Orzeł” (“White Eagle”), originated in Boston in 2002/2003 by the White Eagle Media LLC publishing house. The periodical, which has been published until today, was at the time one of the largest projects in the segment of so-called ethnic media in the United States. The work’s aim is to present the title’s history, identify factors affecting on creation of the Polish diaspora press, diagnose components determining the success/failure of the project, as well as local conditions that had a direct impact on decision to launch described press title. The methodology used in the implementation of this material includes in-depth interviews with project co-founders (publishers and journalists) carried out over 2017 and 2018, executed jointly on a group of 9 people, providing quality data from staff directly involved in described publishing project from its very beginnings. A valuable source of data was also open access to archives of the “White Eagle” hard copies, dated between 2003 and 2008.