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A Welfare State of Mind?: Nordic journalists’ conception of their role and autonomy in international context

Journal article
Authors Laura Ahva
Arjen van Dalen
Jan Fredrik Hovden
Guðbjörg Hildur Kolbeins
Monica Löfgren Nilsson
Morten Skovsgaard
Jari Väliverronen
Published in Journalism Studies
Volume 18
Issue 5
Pages 595-613
ISSN 1461-670X
Publication year 2017
Published at Department of Journalism, Media and Communication (JMG)
Pages 595-613
Language en
Keywords democratic corporatism, media systems, Nordic countries, professional autonomy, role conception, welfare state
Subject categories Media and Communications


© 2016 Informa UK Limited, trading as Taylor & Francis GroupThe development of journalism in the Nordic countries has been shaped by two interconnected ideologies: the welfare state and democratic corporatism. International reviews have repeatedly emphasized the similarities of the media systems in these countries. However, less work has been done on the professional identity of individual journalists working within these systems. In this article, the similarities and differences between journalists’ professional values and perceptions in the Nordic countries are explored based on survey data from the Worlds of Journalism Study. The results indicate that despite country-specific variance, Nordic journalists share a vision of their professional identity especially in terms of seeing themselves as detached watchdogs and renouncing the role of opportunist facilitator. Another Nordic characteristic is the low level of experienced economic influence on journalistic work. In important ways, thus, Nordic journalists’ professional views appear to reflect central characteristics of the political culture and media systems in which they work.

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