rss_2.0Nordicom Review FeedSciendo RSS Feed for Nordicom Review Review Feed Reviews spectating in the digital public sphere: A qualitative exploration<abstract> <title style='display:none'>Abstract</title> <p>Through an interpretive, user-centred approach, in this article I investigate a frequently overlooked dimension of online political engagement: spectating. Drawing on mini focus groups with Norwegian young adults, I challenge depictions of so-called lurking as antisocial and unproductive by advocating a more nuanced view of silent social media use. The findings demonstrate that spectating is viewed as a socially acceptable and meaningful activity within the participants’ broader expectations for civic behaviour. The analysis also presents active and normatively desirable activities encompassed in spectating – such as monitoring, critically consuming, and consciously curating political content – which can support citizens to maintain public connection and develop informed opinions. Ultimately, the study elevates the discussion on digital citizenship by illustrating how active spectating can serve as a meaningful and cooperative form of participation within a distributed understanding of civic engagement in an era of communicative plenty.</p> </abstract>ARTICLEtrue, values, and the epistemic authority of journalism: How journalists use and define the terms fake news, junk news, misinformation, and disinformation<abstract> <title style='display:none'>Abstract</title> <p>In this article, we examine how journalists try to uphold ideals of objectivity, clarity, and epistemic authority when using four overlapping terms: fake news, junk news, misinformation, and disinformation. Drawing on 16 qualitative interviews with journalists in Denmark, our study finds that journalists struggle to convert the ideals of clarity and objectivity into a coherent conceptual practice. Across interviews, journalists disagree on which concepts to use and how to define them, accusing academics of producing too technical definitions, politicians of diluting meaning, and journalistic peers of being insufficiently objective. Drawing on insights from journalism scholarship and rhetorical argumentation theory, we highlight how such disagreements reveal a fundamental tension in journalistic claims to epistemic authority, causing a continuous search for unambiguous terms, which in turn produces the very ambiguity that journalists seek to avoid.</p> </abstract>ARTICLEtrue crisis communication in Finnish news media: Evaluative images of the Covid-19 pandemic in digital news headlines<abstract> <title style='display:none'>Abstract</title> <p>During crises, news headlines not only communicate objective information but also express attitudes and emotions towards the reported events through different linguistic markers of evaluation. By analysing Finnish headlines from digital news sources on 16–17 March 2020, in this article we unravel how evaluative parameters, themes, and actors construct evaluative images of Covid-19 in Finnish news media. The results show how themes such as daily lives, health, and restrictive measures are evaluated, for example, through emotivity, mental state, evidentiality, and style. Findings also highlight the variety of different actors, from authorities to ordinary citizens, involved in the headlines. Consequently, three evaluative images emerge: 1) the pandemic that evokes concern and solidarity in the everyday lives of citizens; 2) the pandemic as a challenging health crisis, with the authorities as responsible decision-makers; and 3) the pandemic as a crisis that creates concern and negatively impacts the different functions of society.</p> </abstract>ARTICLEtrue are the users of Danish alternative media? A survey study on the prevalence of alternative news use in Denmark and profiles of the users<abstract> <title style='display:none'>Abstract</title> <p>Nordic countries have experienced an upsurge of partisan alternative media positioning themselves as correctives of the mainstream, but only little is known about how many and who uses them. Building on original survey data from a representative sample of the adult Danish population (<italic>n</italic> = 2,455), this article presents the first study of the use of left-wing and right-wing alternative media in Denmark. Findings show that users are generally more likely to be older, male, and live in disadvantaged parts of the country, but that alternative media appeal across all levels of education and urban–rural divides. Results also show positive associations with use of national dailies and high political interest. Furthermore, use of alternative media is associated with taking ideological positions further to the left or right. Yet, the findings do not indicate that users generally take extreme positions. This study thus adds considerable nuance to the picture of alternative news users and also finds that alternative media with different degrees of alternativeness attract similar users.</p> </abstract>ARTICLEtrue thoughts on digital first: Exploring the development of election campaigning among Swedish political parties, 2010–2022<abstract> <title style='display:none'>Abstract</title> <p>This article offers a longitudinal perspective on communications during election campaigns from a political-party perspective, where strategic considerations about digital media are compared across time. Our analysis is grounded on the concepts of hybridisation and data-driven campaigning, where digital technology tends to play a central role without replacing all traditional campaign features. Empirically, the study is based on a longitudinal analysis of four election campaigns in Sweden during 2010–2022. The analysis shows that Swedish political parties have gradually integrated digital campaign features in their structure and strategy. The process is not linear, but rather back and forth, as party perceptions of the importance of communication channels vary across time. The results imply a development where all parties, regardless of size and ideology, are increasingly making rational judgments of which combinations of old and new campaign methods and communication channels are most effective.</p> </abstract>ARTICLEtrue of digital counterpublics: Mapping alternative news environments in Sweden and Denmark<abstract> <title style='display:none'>Abstract</title> <p>This article maps and compares digital alternative news environments in two Scandinavian countries: Sweden and Denmark. Drawing on an analysis of over 20,000 public social media accounts that have shared alternative news content on eight different social media platforms from January 2019 to March 2022, we document the importance of different types of curators, such as political actors, social media pundits, public discussion groups, and individual “hyper-tweeters”, in multiplying the reach of alternative news content on social media. The analysis reveals substantial differences in the digital curation of alternative news between the two countries, as well as between the curation of left-wing and right-wing alternative content. In the article, we discuss how different types of alternative news curation practices contribute to the formation of digital counterpublics.</p> </abstract>ARTICLEtrue media, Scandinavian audiences: Contextual fragmentation and polarisation among Swedes and Norwegians engaging with American politics<abstract> <title style='display:none'>Abstract</title> <p>This article explores the contextual nature of fragmentation and polarisation – subjects that have attracted significant concern in the age of social media. I investigate the media sharing practices of Scandinavian Twitter users discussing the 2020 American presidential election, an event that attracted international attention. Using links in tweets, I map the media networks of users in Sweden and Norway in their national languages and in English. This intranational approach provides a view into whether fragmentation and polarisation are characteristic of the audience or the media milieu. The findings show Scandinavian users exhibit low audience polarisation within their national languages, but they display polarisation similar to American users when engaging with English-language media. At the same time, media fragmentation is higher in the Norwegian language than in any other sphere. This article sheds light on the relationship between the sometimes-conflated concepts of fragmentation and polarisation and provides a discussion of the implications of political information sharing on transnational digital platforms.</p> </abstract>ARTICLEtrue and digital disintegration: Platforms, actors, citizens<abstract> <title style='display:none'>Abstract</title> <p>The digital transformations of contemporary media systems have had severe consequences for democracy and public debates. This introductory article addresses key challenges of what we refer to as varieties of “digital disintegration” within democratic societies. The eight contributions in the special issue are thematised in three parts. The first part explores disintegration within the context of political communication during elections, including data-driven campaigning, populism, and politicised forms of news production. The second part delves into the role of alternative news curators, audience polarisation, and issues of self-censorship in digital information environments. The third part centres on deliberative norms connected to content moderation of user comments within legacy media and the consequences digitalisation has had on journalistic sourcing practices and source diversity over time. The contributions offer valuable empirical insights, as well as new lines of thinking concerning democracy and digital and disintegrative transformations in the Nordic region and beyond.</p> </abstract>ARTICLEtrue makes the difference? Social media platforms and party characteristics as contextual factors for political parties’ use of populist political communication<abstract> <title style='display:none'>Abstract</title> <p>Social media has contributed to the spread of populist political communication, yet we still lack systematic knowledge of the contextual factors affecting its use. In this study, we investigated how and to what degree platforms (Facebook, Instagram, Twitter) and party characteristics (populist vs. non-populist parties; political ideology) affected the use of populist communication by Norwegian political parties on social media during the 2021 national election campaign. Based on a tripartite conceptualisation of populist communication consisting of people-centrism, anti-elitism, and the exclusion of out-groups, we conducted a standardised content analysis of the official social media accounts of nine parties and their party leaders. Populist communication was overall rather rare, being most widespread on Facebook and least widespread on Twitter. Which parties used populist communication the most depended on the platform, and it was not always the populist Progress Party [Fremskrittspartiet] that communicated in the most populist manner. Parties located towards the fringes of the political party spectrum used more populist communication. Anti-elitism was more widespread among left-wing parties, and almost exclusively the right-wing Progress Party excluded out-groups.</p> </abstract>ARTICLEtrue discussion threads as promotors of citizen democracy: Current opportunities and challenges for small- and medium-sized media organisations in Finland<abstract> <title style='display:none'>Abstract</title> <p>This article focuses on user-generated discussion threads in journalistic online publication platforms. We investigate how journalists can apply deliberative norms to promote a democratically sustainable discussion within the threads. We also examine which opportunities and challenges journalists currently see with such threads in relation to central citizen democracy principles such as user participation and interactivity. Semistructured interviews were conducted with 18 Finnish news journalists and personnel in charge of moderation strategies. The findings show that deliberative norms are used to some degree in discussion-thread moderation, and that such norms are a key factor to promote democratically sustainable discussions in media organisations. The findings also show that threads can be useful tools for promoting citizen democracy due to their participatory features, but that several current challenges affect this, including uncivil user-generated content, limited representativeness among active users, and lacking resources to handle content in smaller media organisations. One main implication is that journalists see a risk of challenges with discussion threads outweighing benefits for democracy.</p> </abstract>ARTICLEtrue civic virtue and vice: Self-censorship of political views on social media among Norwegian young adults<abstract> <title style='display:none'>Abstract</title> <p>While small groups leverage disproportionate visibility online, oftentimes resorting to hostile language, the use of social media for political expression by the majority of Norwegian users has been theorised in terms of lurking, inhibition, and self-restraint. Drawing from qualitative in-depth interviews with young adults of different political orientations and ethnic-cultural backgrounds in Oslo, Norway, I take an abductivehermeneutic approach to analyse their rationale for self-censorship. The findings reveal shared frustrations and risks that explain the prevalence of lurking yet point to different coping mechanisms and expression strategies adopted by the respondents. While progressives tend to internalise their reactions by withdrawing and avoiding confrontations, conservatives more often appeal to self-censorship on the presumption of actual censorship. Different styles of media use call into question divergent ideals of democratic theory, setting self-expressive rationality at odds with deliberative norms of citizenship. I argue that this can help explain increasing perceived political polarisation and disconnection tendencies.</p> </abstract>ARTICLEtrue communication as television news: Party-produced news of the Sweden Democrats during the 2022 election campaign<abstract> <title style='display:none'>Abstract</title> <p>Political communication has taken new and complex forms within the contemporary hybrid media system. In this article, we examine how political campaigning that draws on television news forms utilises the increasingly blurred boundaries between news journalism and politics online. We assess the digital television news channel Riks, which during the 2022 national election was operated by the Sweden Democrats party and distributed via YouTube. Deploying a mixed-methods approach, we analysed all videos published by Riks four weeks prior to the election. Results show that Riks blends descriptive, interpretative, and outrage genres, and strategically frames the most important political issues of the election campaign in favour of the party’s policies. Hence, the study contributes to political communication scholarship by emphasising how news has become an integral part of strategic party communication, challenging established scholarly conceptualisations of alternative media and hyperpartisan news.</p> </abstract>ARTICLEtrue elites in quoted sources: Institutional alignment in Finnish media, 1999–2018<abstract> <title style='display:none'>Abstract</title> <p>This article addresses the question of whether and how sourcing practices of journalistic news media have been transformed by online-first publishing and the hybridisation of the media system. Focusing on four Finnish news outlets from 1999 to 2018 (a daily newspaper, a news agency, a tabloid, and a public broadcaster), we analyse the essential gatekeeping practice of giving voice to actors by quoting them directly or indirectly. According to our data, the hybrid media context does not lead to an increased diversification of sources. Instead, our analysis indicates a concentration and consolidation of sources across different news outlets: a continued elite source dominance in domestic political news. This development we term institutional alignment, suggesting that, by foregrounding elite sources, the news media seeks to maintain both its gatekeeping function and its key position in networks of power.</p> </abstract>ARTICLEtrue are the connections between collaboration values and communication practices? An investigation exploring collaborators’ perceptions of supports and constraints in collaboration practice<abstract> <title style='display:none'>Abstract</title> <p>Interorganisational collaboration is often proposed as an ambitious and democratic method to address complex societal problems, yet it faces criticism for its perceived inefficiency. While this critique questions the effectiveness of interorganisational collaborations to achieve collective goals, little attention is awarded to the variety of impacts brought by members’ possibilities to communicate. With this study, I aim to enhance the understanding of interorganisational collaboration by exploring their members’ perceptions of how communication practices influence their ability to generate collaboration value. Eleven members of a Swedish interorganisational collaboration were interviewed, and the material was subjected to thematic analysis. The analysis revealed three overarching collaboration values: monitoring, networking, and empowering. By highlighting the communicational support, constraints, and interconnections of these values, the study offers insights into the communicational challenges and potentials of generating societal impact in fair and effective manners. These insights are valuable for practitioners involved in interorganisational collaborations and for guiding future research inquiries.</p> </abstract>ARTICLEtrue much more than news: Revisiting press epochs from an explorative study of non-news genres in Danish newspapers, 1918–2018<abstract> <title style='display:none'>Abstract</title> <p>Newspapers are so much more than news content. However, the history of journalism is typically told through studies of news genres or news epochs. In this article, we test the theory of three epochs of Danish press history in an explorative study of non-news genres, as exemplified by letters to the editor, editorials, and “celebratory items” on birthdays and deaths. Through an investigation of newspapers from 1918 to 2018, we demonstrate how these non-news forms were established in the first half of the twentieth century, were institutionalised during the period after World War II, and have been transitioning over the past two decades. This confirms the theory of the partisan press epoch, the omnibus press epoch, and the segment press epoch in Danish press history. At the same time, this study expands our understanding of these three press epochs by showing how the non-news genres provided in printed newspapers are important in the construction of readers as a class in the partisan press period; as a population in the omnibus press period; and, most recently, as elites in the segment press period.</p> </abstract>ARTICLEtrue uses of the term polarisation in Swedish newspapers, 2010–2021<abstract> <title style='display:none'>Abstract</title> <p>In this article, we investigate the rhetorical uses and media frames associated with the term polarisation in Swedish print media from 2010 to 2021. We first produce a qualitative and detailed assessment of a sample of 240 articles and then proceed to a computational (word2vec) analysis of all major Swedish newspaper articles including the term (<italic>N</italic> = 32,805). We find that the term has changed its rhetorical function over time. Initially used to describe, – that is, used as a technical descriptor of events and issues in society – this use later became increasingly vague and general. Instead, it has been rhetorically used to <italic>amplify</italic>, implying a sense of urgency, conflict, or threat. Over time, the term has been used increasingly frequently, but has been applied less to Sweden and, instead, most often associated with political actors and events in the US. Moreover, we find that, for Sweden, the term polarisation was mostly related to social and political issues, whereas for the US, it carried affective associations.</p> </abstract>ARTICLEtrue Reviews the legitimacy of the news media: How Swedish members of parliament use Twitter to criticise the news media<abstract> <title style='display:none'>Abstract</title> <p>Over the last decade, the news media increasingly seem to have become a target for politically motivated criticism seeking to delegitimise the news media. The prevalence of delegitimising media criticism is, however, unclear. Hence, the purpose of this study is to investigate the extent to which Swedish members of parliament (MPs) engage in delegitimising media criticism on Twitter, the party distribution of those engaging in such media criticism, and the targets and expressions of such media critique. Among other things, the findings show that when MPs tweet about the news media, they are more likely to be critical than supportive, and that a clear majority of tweets that are critical toward the news media contain delegitimising media criticism. Moreover, the results show that MPs from the political right – in particular the Moderate Party and the Sweden Democrats – are most active in tweeting delegitimising media criticism, and that the most common target is public service media.</p> </abstract>ARTICLEtrue media as an agenda-setting instrument in local politics<abstract> <title style='display:none'>Abstract</title> <p>This article contributes to the literature on political agenda-setting on social media in the local context. Using interviews with local politicians in northern Norway, we discuss local politicians’ use of social media for agenda-setting in between elections from an agency perspective. We ask whether local politicians seek to promote and control the definition of an issue on social media, and whether local politicians are influenced by citizens’ opinions on these platforms. We find that local politicians do take advantage of social media in the agenda-setting process, both for problem definition and to sell their ideas. Our findings reveal that local politicians use social media to bypass traditional media for political messaging and that they are sensitive to public opinion on Facebook. Furthermore, there is evidence in our study of online debates brought into formal policymaking processes.</p> </abstract>ARTICLEtrue