This study examines the prevalence, methods and implications of external interference among Finnish journalists based on survey responses from 875 working journalists. The definition of external interference used in the study encompasses all active and invasive methods external actors use to interfere in the journalistic process with the objective to influence editorial content. The findings indicate that low-level interference in everyday journalistic practices and mediated verbal abuse are the most frequent types of external interference. While severe interference is rare, results show that the perceived risk of interference causes concern and self-censorship among the respondents. The results are in line with previous Nordic and European studies, and underline how external interference may have detrimental effects on journalistic autonomy also in countries with strong legal, institutional and cultural safeguards of press freedom.
A comparative analysis of the Swedish and Norwegian media coverage of the Therese Johaug scandal
Ulrik Wagner and Elsa Kristiansen
In 2016, Norwegian cross-country skier Therese Johaug made her positive doping test public. We compare how the Norwegian and Swedish media covered the ensuing scandal with the aim of discovering how constructions of subjectivity, national identity, anti-doping policy and the role of cross-country skiing are interrelated. Drawing on a critical discourse analytical research design, we identify significant differences: the Norwegian media hesitated to call it a doping scandal and occasionally portrayed Johaug as a victim, whereas the Swedish media provided a platform for harsh criticism of the Norwegian’s use of medicine and emphasised the individual responsibility of the athlete. Thus, this study elucidates how sport is mediated as part of a national rivalry between two Scandinavian countries that are both heavily engaged in cross-country skiing.
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.
Crowd-enabled responses to the Stockholm terror attack on Twitter
Digital connectivity enables ordinary people to participate in the social construction of crises. This article explores the crisis responses of common people through the prism of ritual communication in the case of the 2017 Stockholm terror attack. The ritual approach has helped to produce a nuanced understanding of the social functions of patterned and performative communication in crises and conflicts. However, the crisis communication of ordinary people has remained understudied from the viewpoint of ritualisation. Drawing from digital media ethnography and content analysis of a Twitter feed created around the hashtag #openstockholm, it is claimed that the ritualisation of crisis responses illustrates the active agency of ordinary people and contributes to ephemeral social cohesion.
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.
Topics and Interviewees in YLE’s Magazine Programmes During the “Asylum-Seeker Crisis”
Annu Perälä and Mari K. Niemi
In this study, we examine the choice of interviewees and discussion topics made by Finland’s national broadcasting company YLE during the so-called “asylum-seeker crisis” of 2015 and 2016. The rapid increase in asylum-seekers, combined with deepening political tensions regarding the situation and the entry of a populist anti-immigration party into government, created a challenging environment for the media. This was especially true for YLE, which is committed to political neutrality and cultural diversity. Our data shows that the “crisis” was framed as a crisis hitting Finland and European decision-making rather than as a humanitarian crisis. Despite long-term academic criticism of bias in expert interviewee selection (e.g. the underrepresentation of minority and female interviewees), the media continued to use traditional sources of knowledge. However, in a novel approach for Finland, the media engaged the large-scale involvement of politicians, and especially representatives of the populist Finns Party.
Uses and Experiences of the Transmedia Series “Skam”
Emelie Bengtsson, Rebecka Källquist and Malin Sveningsson
In 2015, the Norwegian Broadcasting Corporation (NRK) released a new youth series, Skam, which was acclaimed for its accurate portrayal of Norwegian teenagers but, above all, for its distribution as a transmedia narrative spreading content across several platforms. Through focus-group interviews, this article investigates how Swedish Skam viewers took part in the content and perceived the role and relation between the platforms. While the interviewees followed Skam in different ways, they nevertheless accepted and appreciated the transmedia format. While they argued that the core content needed to be video based, other content was also seen as a natural part of the series and essential in building the narrative. Furthermore, the idea of contemporary media consumption as being less constrained by time and space was partly contradicted. Especially real-time content and discussions with peers motivated the participants to abide by a new kind of TV schedule, reminiscent of TV viewing practices of the past.
Emerging Trends in Journalistic Visualization Practices
Martin Engebretsen, Helen Kennedy and Wibke Weber
The visualization of numeric data is becoming an important element in journalism. In this article, we present an interview study investigating data visualization practices in Scandinavian newsrooms. Editorial leaders, data journalists, developers and graphic designers in 10 major news organizations in Norway, Sweden and Denmark provide information for the study on a range of issues concerning visualization practices and experiences. The emergence of multi-skilled specialist groups as well as innovation in technology and the ‘mobile first mantra’ are identified as important factors in the fast-developing practices of journalistic data visualization. Elements of tension and negotiation are revealed for issues concerning the role and effect of complex exploratory data visualizations and concerning the role of ordinary journalists in the production of charts and graphs.