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How Social Media Managers for Danish Political Parties Perceive User-Generated Content

Johan Farkas and Sander Andreas Schwartz

Abstract

Based on 18 qualitative interviews, this article explores how the social media managers for the nine parties in the Danish parliament articulate the role of social media during the 2015 national elections. The article finds that the interviewees emphasise Facebook as an important means for one-way political communication and the monitoring of public opinion. The majority of the interviewees articulate a sense of responsibility for facilitating public debate on Facebook through the moderation of user-generated content and/or interactions with users. Yet the social media managers do not systematically analyse political input from social media users, nor do they see Facebook and Twitter as viable means of citizen influence on political decision-making. This is explained by a perceived lack of voter representativeness among Facebook users, fear of appearing politically imprudent and scepticism towards social media’s participatory potential.

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More Than Words?

A Test of the Effect of Emotionally Charged Photographs

Thomas Olesen

Abstract

Studies of activism and political participation have shown increasing interest in the relationship between photographs and activism. Most contributions are premised on the assumption that photographs have an impact on opinions, knowledge, and/or mobilising motivations. However, such causalities are rarely documented, and when it comes to what is arguably one of the most central questions in the field of activism and participation studies, why some people act and participate, and others do not, there is a near total absence of systematic knowledge on the impact of photographs. Taking the 2015 refugee crisis as its case, this article addresses the effect of photographs on individual willingness to participate politically using an experimental survey. While the hypothesis was that the inclusion of photographs in a call for action should lead to increased willingness to participate, the results showed that adding photographs had no significant effect on individuals’ willingness to participate. A possible explanation for this is the timing of the survey, in December 2015. By then, the debates on the refugee crisis were surrounded by less uncertainty, and opinions had crystallised.

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“Media Micro-Generations”

How New Technologies Change Our Media Morality

Stina Bengtsson and Bengt Johansson

Abstract

This article proposes and explores the notion of “media micro-generations”. Based on a survey of values and norms in relation to media-related behaviour in Sweden, we identify statistically significant media micro-generations. Through an analysis of the technologies that were introduced during the formative years of different media micro-generations, we propose that media micro-generations are formed with the introduction of new media technologies. Thus, the existence of media micro-generations illustrates how rapid transformations of media technologies can shape the moral notions of narrow age groups. It also explains why many earlier studies have detected a rather large span of years (1970-1985, in between the TV generation and the internet generation) during which no generational identity seems to have been formed.

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Local Newspapers, Facebook and Local Civic Engagement

A Study of Media Use in Two Norwegian Communities

Malene Paulsen Lie

Abstract

The European decline in newspaper circulation has fuelled debates on the consequences for civic engagement and democratic participation. Based on a qualitative interview study with 29 inhabitants of two Norwegian communities, this article examines the importance of the local press and of Facebook in the civic actions of ordinary citizens. Overall, the study suggests that both media are important and enable citizens’ involvement in collective problem-solving. However, their importance lies on different levels, as the two media play complementary roles: Whilst Facebook’s networking possibilities enable new forms of online volunteering and mobilisation, the local press constitutes a shared public sphere in which interviewees can gather information and create awareness of local happenings, politics and volunteering.

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Jewel in the Crown

The Nobel Banquet Broadcast as Co-Construction

Hillevi Ganetz

Abstract

This study explores the aims of the Nobel Banquet broadcast, produced by the Swedish public service company SVT and the Nobel Foundation. The study suggests that the programme can be viewed as a co-construction of science and media, and that the Nobel Foundation has three primary purposes: 1) to teach the audience about science; 2) to honour the laureates; and 3) to maintain and increase the status of the Nobel prize. SVT, for their part, has two main purposes: 1) to teach their audience about science, and 2) to entertain. The aims of the Nobel Foundation and SVT may seem disparate, but they are interrelated. At the same time, the subtleties between the entities create a tension that develops through mutual negotiations. The study ends with a discussion of two unexpected findings: 1) the shared, yet essentially differently-grounded aims of both parties to inform about science, and 2) the fact that their scientific content has increased in both absolute and relative terms over the years, a finding that questions notions of a continuous mediatisation of social institutions.

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Data Visualization in Scandinavian Newsrooms

Emerging Trends in Journalistic Visualization Practices

Martin Engebretsen, Helen Kennedy and Wibke Weber

Abstract

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.

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Combining New and Old Viewing Practices

Uses and Experiences of the Transmedia Series “Skam”

Emelie Bengtsson, Rebecka Källquist and Malin Sveningsson

Abstract

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.

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Orla Vigsø, Anne Marit Waade, Ulrika Hedman and Nete Nørgaard Kristensen

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Asylum Seekers Arrived, Elites Occupied the Air

Topics and Interviewees in YLE’s Magazine Programmes During the “Asylum-Seeker Crisis”

Annu Perälä and Mari K. Niemi

Abstract

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.

Open access

Ágnes Pethő