Journalism is a key factor in public sphere, in political communication as well as in formation of
identities in society. New digital technology, increased commercial pressure and the growth of a network society changes the conditions for journalism – but is it changing in the same way in different media systems? How are journalistic practices and values influenced by the media development in different media systems?
The purpose of the project is to study how professional journalistic cultures are influenced by media
development in three different media systems: Sweden, Poland and Russia. The three countries have a different historical and political legacy, the relations between media and political/economical power are quite different and there are big differences in the patterns in media use. The question is how the trends in media development relate to the different conditions of the media systems, and how the professional journalistic cultures are changing in the three countries? What is the relation between common trends and national differences – and what does it mean for journalism?
The theoretical foundations for the project are comparative media studies (Weaver 1998, Hallin/Mancini 2004, Hanitzsch 2007), journalism as a profession (Shoemaker & Reese 1996, Freidson 2001) and studies of journalistic cultures (Zelizer 2005, Ekström Nohrstedt 1996). Earlier research in the area has mostly covered US and Western Europe – both comparative media studies and media development. The project will use these theoretical perspectives and focus on central and Eastern Europe in comparison with Sweden as a representative of the north/central European model of media system.
Two methods are used in the project:
– A survey to 500 journalists in each country. The survey is focused on journalistic practices and how
they relate to the tradition and journalistic values in each country.
– Interviews with journalists in two different generations; one group in the age of 30 and one group 60-
65 years old.
In the project researchers from Södertörn University, College of Management in Wroclaw and Moscow State University are working close together with the same methods to make the project truly comparative. The empirical results will fill a gap in comparative media studies and studies of journalism as a profession. The project will also give a new comparative perspective on media development and how democracy is influenced by a changing journalism.