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Journalistic interpretation of politics

In a nutshell, classic modern news journalists report what has happened, when and how it happened and who was involved. Political news journalists are no different. However, it has been pointed out that today’s political news journalists tend to not only (if at all) provide accounts of political events, but also interpretations of what happens or has happened in the political arena. They often analyse the background, possible consequences and relevance of things that happen, speculate about what may happen next and assess the behaviour of politicians. The nature of journalism has changed over the last couple of decades – from mere descriptions of events to interpretations and a good dose of speculations, value judgements and strong biases. However, these features were common back in the days of the party press as well, so what has really changed in political journalism over the years?

The purpose of the project is to unveil the character, extent and evolution of interpretive journalism in the daily press. The analyses are guided by four main questions: How are speculations, criticism and biases expressed in the press over time? What other interpretive components – besides speculation, criticism and bias – can be identified? How extensive has the interpretive journalism been relative to other political journalism at different points in time? And how can changes in the interpretive journalism as a genre be understood and explained? Every ten years since 1928, the empirical material is collected through a combination of qualitative and quantitative text analysis of news articles in both provincial and metropolitan press.

Page Manager: Mats Ekström|Last update: 7/18/2011

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