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From Family Affair to Corporate Subsidary. The Contradictory Fortune of Sundsvalls Tidning

Conference contribution
Authors Jonas Ohlsson
Published in NordMedia 2011, Media management, economics and policy division, Akureyri, Iceland, August 11–13, 2011
Pages 14
Publication year 2011
Published at Department of Journalism, Media and Communication (JMG)
Pages 14
Language en
Keywords Media ownership, owner influence, newspaper owners, board of directors, Swedish press
Subject categories Media and Communications

Abstract

In 1985, the liberal Gefle Dagblad acquired Sundsvalls Tidning, a well-managed family-owned newspaper company on the Swedish Baltic coast. As it turned out, this takeover became the first major building block of the newspaper chain today known as MittMedia. At present, this “Media Empire of the north” comprises 17 dailies, making it the biggest foundation-owned newspaper group in the country. This paper addresses the long-term consequences for Sundsvalls Tidning of the ownership change. More specifically, it examines the changes in ownership influence on the operations of the company. Focusing on the distribution of power in the top realms of the newspaper firm (i.e. the parent company board of directors and the board and executive/editorial management of the subsidiary), it addresses such fundamental issues as coordination, subsidiary autonomy and local resistance, profit targets, and (party) political influence in expanding media groups. The paper builds on a systematic analysis of minutes from board meetings and other internal company documents. It also includes interviews with representatives of both Gefle Dagblad/MittMedia and Sundsvall Tidning. The research project, which in its entirety involves five different newspapers, is the author’s doctoral study.

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