Stiftelsen för forskning inom områden med anknytning till Östersjöregionen och Östeuropa

The future of visual journalism in Finland, Russia, and Sweden. Working with photographs as visual truths

Ämne: Media Studies, Journalism, Visual Communication
Projektledare: Liudmila Voronova
Startår: 2023
Projekttyp: Projekt
Beviljade medel: 5 772 000 kr

The aim of this project is to understand how visual professionals at news organisations classify, make, and present photographs as part of the broader context of visual journalism in order to make truth claims about the world. We look at the current changes in the field of visual journalism in Finland, Russia and Sweden. Today, photo departments at news organizations are shrinking and photojournalism is de-professionalized. At the same time, contemporary societies are facing knowledge struggles, where the traditional knowledge institutions, such as journalism, have been challenged by authoritarian and populist politics and discussions about “alternative facts”. Photographs are important in these knowledge struggles because of the strong correspondence between a photograph and how we visually experience reality. In an era of abundance of circulating images, the role of visual professionals is more important than ever. By participant observations and qualitative interviews at different news sites, this project will shed light on how visual professionals understand photography in different journalistic contexts and what kinds of visual competences and skills they value. We contribute by proposing ways of working with images to support critical thinking around photography’s trustworthiness and thereby strengthening the role of visuals in building sustainable democratic societies in the Baltic Sea region, which has become an epicentre of the knowledge struggles.