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Policy failure or moral scandal? Political accountability, journalism and new public management

Artikel i vetenskaplig tidskrift
Författare Monika Djerf-Pierre
Mats Ekström
Bengt Johansson
Publicerad i Media Culture and Society
Volym 35
Nummer/häfte 8
Sidor 960-976
ISSN 0163-4437
Publiceringsår 2013
Publicerad vid Institutionen för journalistik, medier och kommunikation (JMG)
Sidor 960-976
Språk en
Länkar dx.doi.org/10.1177/0163443713501932
Ämnesord political accountability, journalism, framing, accountability interview, nes, new public management
Ämneskategorier Statsvetenskap, Medie- och kommunikationsvetenskap

Sammanfattning

Political accountability is fundamental in a democratic society. Societal changes such as the marketization of the public sector have, however, made accountability issues complex and negotiable. The question of who is to be held to account for policy failures is increasingly a subject of struggle within the media. The aim of this article is to examine how journalism does “accountability work” in a political setting marked by new public management. The empirical study focuses on an example of intensive news coverage of the mistreatment of elderly people in private health care, in Sweden, 2011. A corpus of 156 news items is analyzed. The analysis focuses on the use of accountability interviews, and how journalism constructs boundaries of political accountability by framing social problems. In general, the study shows that the political accountability work carried out was weak and restricted, the problems were constructed as a moral scandal instead of a policy failure.

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