Disruption of Danish News Media

Mie Tuekær Albrechtsen

Student thesis: Master thesis


Media’s role in society is often seen as fulfilling the essential role of the fourth estate, namely as the guardians of democracy, creating public awareness. However, the media landscape is changing rapidly due to the emergence of social media, where especially Facebook gains ground as a news platform. Consequently, the purpose of this master thesis is to explore how Danish news media perceive their role in society and, additionally, to examine why they believe that the role of today’s media is vital. In doing so, I introduce media sociology by Hjarvard and Lund, followed by Habermas’s theory of deliberative democracy combined with perspectives on social media as a public sphere by Linaa Jensen, Papacharissi and Lauridsen & Olesen. In order to shed light on social media logics van Dijck & Poell and Christensen serve as theoretical basis, whereas the field theory is based on Bourdieu in combination with the perceptions of Svith. The methodology is based on empirical research, applying a qualitative and hermeneutical approach, which, due to the focus on interpretation and understanding, involved interviewing six Danish news media. The findings suggest that the media perceive themselves as the fourth estate by providing information to the public about society, including the act as watchdog. However, the analysis shows that the media are economically affected by tech-giants challenging them to comply with journalistic news values. Specifically, media have given up the authority as gatekeepers, because the public opinion no longer depends on the press. Instead, users online can contribute as the fifth estate. As a result, citizens are presented with fragmented news, as the media produce one-sided news and target different segments to gain attention and profit. Some media tend to focus more on performance than others do; however, it is concluded that no connection can be drawn between public service-media and private publicists as both are economically challenged. Furthermore, journalists often belong to the same social class and they vote for the same political parties, diverging the publics’ distribution of votes. Through a discussion, it is argued that this explains why the public classifies journalists as having low credibility, as journalists do not represent the Danish population. Overall, the thesis shows that the disruption of Danish media is significant on many scales, where social media gain ground, affecting the media’s authority, journalistic practice and role in society

EducationsMSc in Business Administration and Organizational Communication, (Graduate Programme) Final Thesis
Publication date2018
Number of pages95