Abundance or crisis' Transformations in the media ecology of Swedish cultural journalism over four decades

Research paper by Andreas Widholm, Kristina Riegert, Anna Roosvall

Indexed on: 20 Feb '20Published on: 06 Aug '19Published in: Journalism


Journalism, Ahead of Print. The aim of this study is to map and scrutinize developments within Swedish cultural journalism, with a particular focus on transformations in genres, text types and thematic repertoires. Drawing on a constructed week sample from press, television and radio during four decades (1985, 1995, 2005, 2015), we address three aspects of ‘the crisis discourse’ of cultural journalism: (1) the potential decline in cultural coverage due to economic cutbacks and downsized cultural desks; (2) cultural journalism’s perceived ‘quality crisis’ connected to transformations of thematic repertoires; and (3) the alleged decline of cultural expertise related to changes in cultural journalism’s generic structures. The study makes a unique contribution to cultural journalism scholarship by identifying media-specific differences and complementary relationships between media forms, building on media ecology and genre theory. In contrast to the crisis discourse, results show that cultural journalism has expanded significantly through popularization and thematic and generic diversification, but the transformations are different in press, radio and television due to differing role positions in the larger media ecosystem. In addition, some parts of the cultural journalism media ecology appear to be endangered.