Five biennial surveys from 2005 to 2013 reveal a high degree of stability in Norwegian newspaper executives’ attitudes towards digital media, despite a high turnover in the executive ranks. Editors and managers do not approve fully of their own organizations’ online activities, and they struggle to find a balanced focus between traditional and new activities. However, the rationale for online publishing has become less blurred through the period, and an important shift in the strategic development of user fees is reviled: While it was driven by perceived threats from 2005 to 2011, opportunities for the industry is the strongest predictor in 2013.
The newspapers are in a pressed situation of circulation decline. This is partly a consequence of increased Internet usage, a development the papers themselves have helped push forward. This survey reveals that Norwegian newspapers executives do not approve fully of their own organizations’ online activities, and explores their rationale for online publishing: Is it marketing of the print product, the development of new business, or are the newspapers still in an explorative mode?
This article summarises findings from a research project on the digitisation of Norwegian newsrooms, analysing trends in the industry and changes in user-habits. Findings suggest that most journalists are positive about the digitisation of the newsroom but fear that cutbacks in staff will prevent them from exploiting the potential of the new technology. They also fear that too much focus on technical skills will leave less space for critical journalism. Findings also suggest a correlation between resources used to develop the online edition and the perceived ethical standards of the content. More online journalism leads to a higher degree of scepticism among the readers. There are two different justifications for using resources on the online edition. Some newspaper executives hope to use the online edition to recruit new readers to the paper edition while another group hopes to develop the breadth of market service through a portfolio of publishing platforms.