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Professional media practitioners on commercialization of Swedish news work

Conference contribution
Authors Jenny Wiik
Ulrika Andersson
Published in ECREAs 2nd European Communication Conference, Barcelona, Nov 25-28 2008
ISBN 9788449025693
Publication year 2008
Published at Department of Journalism, Media and Communication (JMG)
Language en
Keywords commercialization, de-politication, journalists, news work, news practitioners, influence, Sweden
Subject categories Media and Communications


The journalistic norm of objectivity can be said to have made Swedish news work less political. But this comes hand in hand with an increasing market orientation forced by media owners - as well as advertisers and sources - attempting to widen their audiences in tough competition. The emergence of new market driven media channels, new technology and increasing profit demands is generally considered to have crucial effects on journalism and journalistic practice. Concepts as commercialization and depoliticization often make common ground for media research as well as public debate, including all kinds of worries about tabloidization and news “dumbing down” into infotainment. But how do professional media practitioners themselves perceive this matter – has journalism become less political and more commercial in the past decade? The paper intends to explore the views of Swedish journalists and managing editors on the two aspects of commercialization and depoliticization, and furthermore connect these views to what actors they perceive as influential on news content (such as politicians, media owners or journalists). The study is based on a national survey of professional media practitioners in Sweden, carried out at the Department of Journalism and Communication, Gothenburg University, in fall 2005. A representative sample of approximately 800 journalists and managing editors in daily newspapers, free-sheets, public service and commercial broadcasting have answered the questionnaire. The empirical evidence is analyzed and explained in relation to organizational professional theory, connecting to the journalistic role as being shaped in the intersection of market and democracy. The final discussion tries to pinpoint the meaning of our findings in terms of journalistic power contra managerial and political power.

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