Newspapers and Citizenship Participation in the Case of a Minority Ethnic Group
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In popular science and technology writing, “boosterism” is prominent. Writers overwhelmingly describe science and technology in enthusiastic terms, thereby promoting the deficit or Public Appreciation of Science and Technology model (PAST). A crucial aspect of the PAST model is its pro-innovation bias: writers enroll chaperones in the texts, such as spokespersons, users, celebrities, witnesses, experts, and authorities, to support their claims. Both “boosterism” and pro-innovation bias constrain the public’s critical understanding of science and technology. This study includes a detailed exploration of pro-innovation bias in the popularization of the Internet in the Norwegian press and how journalists use chaperones to support their claims. The author demonstrates that, in popularizing the Internet, pro-innovation bias manifests several other biases, such as individual-praise, pro-technology, individual-blame, technology-blame, and source biases.
What do the relations between the PR industry and the media look like? Are they traditional media-source or pressure group relations from the PR side? What is the outcome of these relations and how do they affect journalism and news selection? This study, based on interviews with both sides, identifies a close and continuous, though mostly one-sided, contact, in which PR actors steadily provide journalists and editors with instrumental news angles with regard to news management. While the former claim that they often succeed in planting their promotional ideas in newspapers and programmes, the latter mostly deny such a claim. However, admitting that the PR sphere does constitute a skilful news producer, journalists relate that, in times of decreased editorial resources, they are dependent on material from outside sources. A mutually dependent, exchange relation can thus be seen as a summarized picture of the PR-media relationship.
Confronted with serious challenges to human survival, communication should be mobilized to rescue the planet’s future. This requires the development of new forms of discursive power that shift from a culture of fear to a culture of hope. This can be achieved through global networks of those urban movements that increasingly move beyond their local political environments. The global city can emerge as a crucial site for the claim to human survival in dignity.
PISA, News Media and Public Opinion in Norway, Sweden and Finland
The Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA) has gained popularity in educational debates, and scholars argue that the tests influence national educational governance. It has further been claimed that PISA has penetrated the news media and that public opinion on education has been affected, but few have offered empirical evidence for such arguments. The present study contributes to the area by investigating the relationship between (i) news consumption and public awareness of PISA, and between (ii) awareness of PISA and public opinion on education in Norway, Sweden and Finland. The findings suggest that consumption of newspapers and public service TV (PBS) news is positively associated with awareness of PISA; consumption of commercial TV news is negatively associated with awareness of PISA. Further, “PISA effects” on public opinion are dependent upon news consumption and political considerations. The most significant relationship is found in Norway, where mass political polarization is stronger among respondents who are aware of PISA, compared to those who are not.
This study examines 20 Iranian-Norwegians and their diverse media consumption. The claim is that the dynamics between media’s hegemonic quality, expressed in their discursive representation of realities, and Iranian-Norwegians’ subjective positions seem to have a vital impact on the processes of meaning construction and positioning that Iranian-Norwegians experience in Norwegian society. Analysis of the respondents’ media preferences indicates that they are most often attracted by three characteristics linked to their status: being Iranian, immigrant and Muslim. These elements emerge as identity markers that Iranian-Norwegians focus on in their relationship to the media, and furthermore employ in their negotiation of identity and position in Norwegian society. They often express an anomaly between their understanding of themselves, who they are and where they belong, and the discursive representation of them in the media. This results in an attitude of resistance, in the shape of the subjective constructions of the respondents, and which seems to propel them in different directions.
Theoretical research has modelled the existence of so-called advertising-circulation spirals of newspapers. The present article examines the existence and shape of the growth functions of circulation for leading regional newspapers in Finland, and assesses their effects on their competitors. The article also provides results on the household coverage of the regionally leading newspapers. Our results enable us to draw conclusions concerning the level of convergence of the market shares of the larger newspapers, and the possibilities of the minority newspapers to survive. The findings relate directly to the assessment of competition in the market of newspaper publishing, as economic analysis has already shown that difference in size between the two largest firms may define the scope for dominance. Consequently, the results may have implications for assessments of the relevant market and the state of the competition, and claims concerning dominance in newspaper markets
The Problem of Generality in Qualitative Media Audience Research
During the last few decades, the possibilities and limitations of qualitative media audience research have regularly been discussed in media and communication research. Quantitatively oriented researchers have claimed that qualitatively oriented research is incapable of producing general knowledge. From a ‘radical ethnographic’ point of view it has been stated that such knowledge is more or less useless, while other qualitatively oriented researchers have approached the question of generality in a more balanced way, and argued for the necessity to interpret specific events within a framework of more general theories. But these solutions are not satisfactory. The aim of this article is to suggest an alternative conceptualisation of generality. From the meta-theoretical viewpoint of critical realism, this article states that generalisations have to take into consideration the domain of the deep structures of reality. Qualitative media audience research should aim at producing general knowledge about the constituent properties or transfactual conditions of the process of media consumption.
Mediagraphy as Identity Work in Upper Secondary School
Daniel Schofield and Reijo Kupiainen
The article explores how upper secondary students use the learning activity mediagraphy to reflect on their identity and on media as constraining and enabling factors in their social practice. In mediagraphy, the students research four generations of their own families, including themselves. They write a mediagraphy essay on the differences and similarities across the generations in media use and turning points in individuals’ lives, in addition to societal and media-related developments. Data from student products and interviews are analysed through three “identity dilemmas” that any identity claim faces: the constant navigation between 1) continuity and change, 2) sameness and difference with regard to others, and 3) agency as “person-to-world” and “world-to-person”. The findings suggest that mediagraphy is a type of identity work that can potentially help students develop an agentive identity in a time of insecurity, with rapidly shifting social and cultural conditions and increasing media density.
Reflections on Meaning-making Processes and Participatory Research
Kaoruko Kondo and Ulrika Sjöberg
In relation to any claims about “child-centred” research, the present article stresses the need to reflect on what is actually at stake in terms of participation and the meaning-making processes that evolve in a certain research setting. Our experiences with photo-taking methods are based on two separate studies involving children (age 5-8 years) and young adolescents (age 12-16 year). Taking a constructivist approach, the article draws special attention to issues related to the age of the children, the type of camera used, the researcher’s status in the fieldwork and the type of data acquired through these children’s photos. The article stresses the need to perceive the story behind the photo as an outcome of how the child chose to position him/herself within a certain research context, which in turn affects how the child sees, thinks and acts, but also what he/she sees.