Journalistik som bæredygtig forretning? En analyse af magtrelationer i et mediemarked i forandring

June Risum Scheibel

Student thesis: Master thesis


During the last decade, the media industry has found itself in a self-proclaimed crisis where traditional news publishers have experimented in finding a sustainable business model for journalism in a "digital revolution". Digital technology is believed to strategically create dialogue and loyal bonds with media users. The relation of journalism to users is seen as the competitive factor of media organisations. And this relation is changing. This master´s thesis explores the current digital transformation in the Danish media industry by conducting a case study of how the news publishing group Berlingske Media strategically communicates user involvement. A Foucauldian governmentality approach to journalism as a historically and contextually variable technology is employed, focusing on its concrete techniques, practices and forms of knowledge in performatively shaping user identifications. Following Dean (2006), the study emphasises how visibility, technical aspects, rationalities and subject formations create a specific space of practice where power relations are formed.The analysis investigates how the corporate identity of Berlingske Media oscillates between publicist ideals and market demands. On the one hand, the involvement of users through digital tools enables an increased rationalisation and commercial control of journalistic practice, constructing users and their conduct as measurable data. The niche oriented journalism and the fragmented commercial activities expand the network of possible identifications for users, who are viewed as individuals with unique needs and interests that Berlingske Media should meet any time and place as a service provider. On the other hand,direct user participation risks reducing the control of journalists with a dispersed editorial process. Various user identifications and self-descriptions are examined in terms of which competencies, actions and engagement they work to support. A range of context specific power relations emerge, manifesting themselves through opposing demands towards Berlingske Media and the users.User involvement per se is not challenging the jurisdiction of journalists, as the logic of engagement is private and consumer oriented. The thesis concludes that the market discourse enhances user engagement addressing them as active consumers, knowledgeable everyday experts as well as self-promoting members in value communities. By aiming to optimise the individual's quality of life, it seeks to establish an intimate and therapeutically relation.By contrast, the publicist ideal excludes users from participating as citizens. As a selfpreservative strategy, professional control and distance of journalists is maintained in areas considered as "quality journalism", which are carefully separated from user contributions.

EducationsMSocSc in Political Communication and Managment, (Graduate Programme) Final Thesis
Publication date2011
Number of pages94