Journalism and democracy after the economic crisis: Journalistic representations of austerity policies

Forskningsoutput: AvhandlingDoktorsavhandlingSamling av artiklar


This dissertation investigates the relationship between professional journalism and democracy. The ability of professional journalism to facilitate democratic public communications is undermined by various factors. Technologically, journalism is being challenged by the breakdown of nationally regulated media environments, innovations in communication technologies, and the abundance of online content. Publishers can no longer exploit the bottlenecks between audiences and information and turn these opportunities into newspaper subscriptions and advertisement sales.

Politically, professional journalism is challenged by the social turmoil that has undermined the legitimacy of established political forces and experts in the aftermath of the economic crisis. The widespread anger toward elites seems to be directed toward journalists as well.

This thesis addresses the relationship between journalism and democracy via a synopsis and four case studies that deal with the austerity policies that quickly began dominating European economic policy-making after the financial crisis.
The synopsis chapter begins with an overview of professional journalism. Moreover, the synopsis chapter addresses the democratic functions of journalism via the different traditions of democratic theory. It also presents an overview of the financial crisis and the euro crisis and discusses the relationship between journalism and the economy.

The empirical case studies argue that European journalism echoed the narrative on the inevitable nature of austerity policies. To be sure, journalists also presented critical austerity analyses and criticized the hardline German stance on austerity.

Finally, the thesis argues that it is important to move beyond mere journalism criticism, which easily turns into cynicism and leads to the dismissal of journalism as inherently anti-democratic. The thesis makes the case for a journalism more attuned to the conflictual nature of 21st century political life. The thesis argues that by fostering ideological pluralism, journalism might be able to turn conflicts into settings where political worldviews could clash while maintaining a certain level of mutual respect. While acknowledging the enormous challenges that journalism is faced with, the thesis argues that such ideological pluralism might improve the public legitimacy of journalism and its democratic potential.
Tilldelande institution
  • Helsingfors universitet
  • Kantola, Anu, Handledare
  • Herkman, Juha, Handledare
Tilldelningsdatum24 jan 2020
Tryckta ISBN978-951-51-3422-6
Elektroniska ISBN978-951-51-3421-9
StatusPublicerad - 24 jan 2020
MoE-publikationstypG5 Doktorsavhandling (artikel)


  • 518 Medie- och kommunikationsvetenskap

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