New publication: the hyperlinked news ecology

It’s been in process for around two year, so I’m very please to announce that Digital Journalism has just published the article “The Hyperlinked Scandinavian News Ecology. The unequal terms forged by the structural properties of digitalisation“. I’ve co-authored the article with Helle Sjøvaag, Eirik Stavelin, and Michael Karlsson (and I sure shouldn’t claim that the majority of the contributions were done by me).

Here’s the abstract:

The article presents a network analysis of 22,861,013 geocoded external hyperlinks, collected from 230 Danish, 220 Norwegian and 208 Swedish news websites in 2016. The analysis asks what the structural properties of the Scandinavian media systems—including its geography and ownership structures—mean for news outlets’ centrality within the hyperlinked news ecology. The analysis finds that whereas incumbent legacy media occupy central positions, about one third of the network is absent from the hyperlinked interaction, primarily local, independently owned newspapers. A multiple linear regression analysis shows that national distribution and corporate ownership correlates to network centrality more than other predictors. As brokers in the network consist of the large, legacy, capital-based news organisations, hyperlink connectivity is primarily characterised by proximity to the centres of power, corporate ownership, agenda setting incumbency and national distribution.

The study is the first published result from the research project ““The Hyperlinked News Network in Scandinavia” (2017-2020), which is headed by Helle Sjøvaag and funded through a 10 m SEK grant from the Ander Foundation. We are currently working of several studies that pursue similar ideas to the ones in this article.

Ny bog: Digital journalistik

Digital journalistik er et relativt nyt fænomen, der på én gang udfordrer og viderefører journalistikken, som den har set ud gennem det seneste århundrede. For digital journalistik omfatter brugerdeltagelse, deadlines hvert 5. minut og mediekonvergens såvel som traditionelle redaktionelle rutiner og klassiske journalistiske værdier. På den måde er det en paradoksal størrelse, der spænder over både forandring og kontinuitet, og som fortsat rummer et stort udviklingspotentiale i det digitaliserede samfund.

Det er i korte træk det, min nye bog Digital journalistik handler om. Den har været (for) længe undervejs, men jeg er meget glad for og stolt over, at den nu er udkommet på det danske forlag Samfundslitteratur som en del af deres serie Kort og præcist om medier og kommunikation.

Bogen er skrevet som en kort (110 sider) og letlæst introduktion til den digitale journalistik og dens formater, forandringer og forretningsmodeller. Fokusset er primært på danske forhold, men der inddrages også eksempler fra den internationale medieverden. Så den kommer omkring Berlingske, Ekstra Bladet og Tyngdepunkt såvel som New York Times, Verdens Gang og Tuscaloosa News.

Den er primært rettet mod medie-, journalistik- og kommunikationsstuderende – på sin vis er den skrevet som den bog, jeg selv manglede, da jeg underviste i medievidenskab og journalistik. For at gøre bogen særligt velegnet til undervisning, afsluttes hvert kapitel af en liste med anbefalet videre læsning samt arbejdsspørgsmål til undervisnings- og eksamensbrug. MEN: Jeg har gjort mig umage for, at bogen også bør kunne læses af andre, der er interesserede i journalistikken og dens udvikling i den digitale tid. Så den er altså ikke kun til studerende.

Jeg håber, I vil gå ombord i Digital journalistik, at den kan være til om ikke ligefrem glæde så gavn, og at I vil tage godt imod den. God læselyst.

PS: I forbindelse med udgivelsen deltager jeg i et par arrangementer. Vigtigst er et dobbeltarrangement med dygtige Anette Grønning fra SDU, hvor vi taler om vore respektive områder (hendes er digitale samtaler), og forlaget byder på forfriskninger. Det finder sted 5. februar kl. 15:15-17:15 på Syddansk Universitet i Odense og 28. februar kl. 15-17 på IT-Universitet i København.

Bogens data:

  • Forlag: Samfundslitteratur
  • Udgivet: 2018
  • Sider: 110
  • Sprog: Dansk
  • ISBN: 9788759319499
  • Vejledende udsalgspris: 118 kr.

New publication: cultural journalism in Denmark

Nordicom has just published the book Cultural Journalism in the Nordic Countries, which is edited by Nete Nørgaard Kristensen and Kristina Riegert. A part of this book is a chapter that I have co-authored with Nete Nørgaard Kristensen and Unni From about the history and research of cultural journalism in Denmark over the last 120 years.

Here’s the abstract:

Even though it is often overlooked in scholarly and public discussions of the proceedings of the news media, cultural journalism constitutes an important dimension of journalism among media workers as well as audiences. Providing a broad introduction to cultural journalism in Denmark, this chapter outlines the most important historical developments of the eld over the last 120 years and identi es central transformations in recent years. It builds upon and reviews the existing body of Danish research in this specialised eld and points to new routes for future research. On this basis, the chapter argues that the transfor- mations of cultural journalism relate to what is considered within the boundaries of culture and the cultural public sphere, by whom and where cultural journalism is conducted and published, and which professional logics are at play in cultural journalism. For when it comes to cultural journalism, a tension exists between the traditional ‘watchdog’ understanding of journalism in general and the speci city of cultural journalism, which is characterized by a more experience-based or ‘so ’ orientation; the chapter addresses this tension through an analysis of recent discussions of cultural journalism’s place in the news media.

The book contains similar chapters about Finland, Norway, and Sweden, a number of case-study chapters (about the role of public service, the editorial responses to the Charlie Hebdo attack, etc.), and a chapter where Martin Eide revisits his idea of “service journalism”. It’s published open access (i.e., the digital version is free).

“The Media Welfare State”, review

The Media Welfare StateFor the European Journal of Communication, I have recently reviewed a new book, “The Media Welfare State: Nordic Media in the Digital Era” by Trine Syvertsen, Gunn Enli, Ole J. Mjøs, and Hallvard Moe.

The book is about the important role of the (news) media in the development and maintenance of the Nordic countries’ welfare states. The central contribution of the book is the introduction of the very concept of the “media welfare state”, which captures many of the underlying assumptions that have existed in Nordic media policy as well as research over the last many years. Also, the book identifies four pillars that the “media welfare state” rests upon (p. 17, emphasis in original):

1: An organization of vital communication services that underscores their character as public goods, with extensive cross-subsidies and obligations toward universality.

2: A range of measures used to institutionalize freedom from editorial interference and self-governance in day-to-day operations.

3: A cultural policy that extends to the media in the form of content obligations and support schemes that aim to secure diversity and quality.

4: A preference for consensual solutions that are durable and involve cooperation between main stakeholders: the state, media and communication industries and the public.

I think the book is an important and highly useful one, and the review is, accordingly, positive. People who have an interest in the media system of the Nordic countries but want to go beyond Hallin & Mancini’s idea of the “democratic corporatist model” should read it, and so should everyone else who wants know what goes on in the Danish, Finnish, Icelandic, Norwegian, and Swedish media.

Here is the conclusion of my review, which is published in the latest issue of European Journal of Communication:

The Media Welfare State offers an interesting and convincing theoretical framework for understanding the particularities of the media system of the Nordic countries. The book will likely become a standard reference for researchers and students who work with media in this region, and that will be well-deserved. It is highly relevant and comes at a time where the relationship between public and commercial media is in flux, the scholarship is sound, and the very concept of the media welfare state as well as the identification of the four pillars can prove most useful as analytical categories in future research. While it lacks the internationally comparative scope that, for example, Hallin and Mancini’s neo-classic book has, it is all the more thorough in its analysis of one particular type of media system, and it constitute a valuable contribution to the existing literature on media systems.

Post-Industrial Cultural Criticism

As I have advertised in an earlier blog post, my research article on post-industrial cultural criticism (i.e., amateurs who review arts and culture online) was published in the prestigious journal Journalism Practice. It is part of a special issue on “Cultural Journalism and Cultural Critique in the Media”, which is edited by Nete Nørgaard Kristensen and Unni From, and that special issue has just been published in its entirety. There is a lot of interesting articles in it, and I do recommend it.

For those interested in my work, here is the abstract of my article “Post-Industrial Cultural Criticism. The everyday amateur expert and the online cultural public sphere“:

Integrating perspectives from research into cultural and post-industrial journalism, this article presents a pilot study of websites with reviews of arts and culture conducted by amateurs. Such websites constitute a popular space for cultural criticism, and one that challenges traditional hierarchies within journalism. The article maps which Danish websites conduct arts and culture reviews, asks what features these websites have that facilitate public discourse, and measures the actual discussion on the websites. While academic diagnoses of the state of the online public sphere have generally been discouraging, this article argues that this is partly due to a strong focus on politics rather than on culture and illustrates how the cultural public sphere of online reviews constitutes a heterogeneous space for a public discussion about arts and culture. Furthermore, it shows that some amateur reviewers have highly specialized knowledge of culture and, on that basis, argues that the emergence of this type of critic might represent a qualitative strengthening of cultural criticism.

Special issue of Journalism Practice on cultural journalism

In case you missed it, a research article of mine was recently published in Journalism Practice. The article is part of a special issue on “Cultural Journalism and the Media Reporting of Culture”, which is edited by my good colleagues Nete Nørgaard Kristensen and Unni From. It is, I think, an important special issue because the community of journalism scholars has tended to neglect research in journalism on arts and culture and instead focus on political journalism (not that political journalism is not important – it most certainly is). In an international context, this special issue is one of the first publications on the subject, and it will likely be a standard reference or go-to source for students, researchers, and practitioners alike in years to come.

The special issue will be out in hard copy in December, but the articles are already published online. And so, as a service and in the spirit of getting good research out there sooner rather than later, I have taken the liberty to put together an improvised table of contents here with links to the articles:

Because of the set-up at the publisher, people not employed by research organizations probably will not have free access to the articles (except of, perhaps, through public libraries); should you have trouble with accessing the articles, contact the authors directly and they will likely be happy to provide you with pre-print versions of their articles.

For people attending the NordMedia 2015 conference in Copenhagen, which starts on Thursday, please note that some of the research found in the special issue will also be presented at the panel “Pushing the boundaries of journalism: Nordic cultural journalism in transition” on Friday, 10:15-12:00, in room 15A.1.13.

And should you be interested in our research on cultural criticism, stay tuned for the collaborative “From Ivory Tower to Twitter: Rethinking the Cultural Critic in Contemporary Media Culture“ research project that starts officially on September 1 this year.

New publication: post-industrial cultural criticism

It has been a busy summer in terms of publications as two articles, which I have worked on for quite some time, have finally been published and I have spent a lot of time writing my Danish-language textbook on online journalism (due to serious sickness, however, the actual finishing of the book manuscript is again postponed).

So, earlier this summer, the prestigious journal Journalism Practice published my research article “Post-Industrial Cultural Criticism: The everyday amateur expert and the online cultural public sphere“.

Here is the abstract:

Integrating perspectives from research into cultural and post-industrial journalism, this article presents a pilot study of websites with reviews of arts and culture conducted by amateurs. Such websites constitute a popular space for cultural criticism, and one that challenges traditional hierarchies within journalism. The article maps which Danish websites conduct arts and culture reviews, asks what features these websites have that facilitate public discourse, and measures the actual discussion on the websites. While academic diagnoses of the state of the online public sphere have generally been discouraging, this article argues that this is partly due to a strong focus on politics rather than on culture and illustrates how the cultural public sphere of online reviews constitutes a heterogeneous space for a public discussion about arts and culture. Furthermore, it shows that some amateur reviewers have highly specialized knowledge of culture and, on that basis, argues that the emergence of this type of critic might represent a qualitative strengthening of cultural criticism.

The article is the first tangible result of a long-time collaboration I’ve had (and have) with colleagues from Denmark and abroad in the NOS-HS funded research network Cultural Journalism in the Nordic Countries. The work will continue in the collaborative research project “From Ivory Tower to Twitter: Rethinking the Cultural Critic in Contemporary Media Culture”, which is headed by Nete Nørgaard Kristensen and has just received 6.2 m DKK from the Danish Council for Independent Research.

The article is part of a special issue of Journalism Practice on Cultural Journalism and the Media Reporting of Culture, which is edited by Nete Nørgaard Kristensen and Unni From and will be published in hard copy in December, 2015.

My article draws heavily upon some of the thoughts presented in the report Post-Industrial Journalism: Adapting to the Present by C.W. Anderson, Emily Bell, and Clay Shirky (2013) – if you have not read it yet, I absolutely recommend it. (Their work, in turn, borrows from an old article on Doc Searls’ blog.)

Because of the publisher’s business model, access to the article requires subscription, but send me an email and I’ll send you an early version of the article.

New publication: who will pay for online news?

The Journal of Media Business Studies has now published my new research article “The free-to-fee transition: audiences’ attitudes toward paying for online news“. The article is co-authored with Morten Boeck, Jakob Vikær Hansen, and Lars Juul Hadberg Hauschildt and builds, empirically, upon research they did for their master thesis in 2013 (I was the supervisor of this thesis*).

In the article, we present a study of audiences’ attitudes toward and willingness to pay the subscription, which Danish omnibus newspaper Politiken launched on its news website politiken.dk in May, 2013.

Here’s the abstract:

After more than a decade of giving online news away for free, legacy newspaper organisations in many Western countries have recently begun charging audiences for access to online journalistic content. Focusing empirically on a Danish case, this article uses one survey (n = 1054) and two focus groups to examine audiences’ attitudes towards paying for online news. The analysis suggests that audiences’ general principles regarding paying for online news influence their willingness to pay more than the size of the subscription fee. Furthermore, the analysis shows that younger audiences’ willingness to pay increases if they can combine content from different news providers and thereby individualise their news products. The latter in particular can have practical implications as it presents a way forward for economically challenged legacy newspaper organisations, but it might also compromise the democratic ideals of journalism.

The article is, ironically, published behind a paywall, but I can send you an early version upon request.

* Students often do a lot of good work in their master theses, and it is in the final instance paid for by the tax payers (through the Danish system of free access to higher education) who can also use it for something, but it rarely reaches a larger audience than the people who have an obligation to read it – the author, the examiners, and the mothers or partners who cannot say no to proof-reading the final copy. With this article, I am happy to have helped some of the high-quality student-conducted research get out to the public.

My PhD dissertation available now

Just a public service announcement: I have now made my PhD dissertation News on the Web: instantaneity, multimodality, interactivity, and hypertextuality on Danish news websites available here on my website. As most of it is already published and the data aren’t getting any younger, there really is no point in not having it out there.

A large part of the dissertation consists of research articles, and most of those are now published in academic journals (in more or less revised versions):

Furthermore, parts of the theoretical introduction is commissioned as a book chapter for publication next year. I’ll post more on that here on the blog later.

If you want the printed-book version, it is for sale at Publikom at the price of 172.50 DKK (approx. 32 Euros/31 USD). For some reason, they haven’t added the dissertation to their online catalogue even though they sell it, so you’ll have to send them en email.

New publication: the state of online news

A piece of good news from the publications department: my new research article “Online news: between private enterprise and public subsidy” has just been published by the leading academic journal Media, Culture & Society. The article is co-authored together with Stig Hjarvard from the University of Copenhagen and examines the current economical state of the Danish press in light of recent developments with digital business models and changes subsidy frameworks and is part of a special section (edited by Philip Schlesinger and Alex Benchimol from the University of Glasgow) on media systems in small nations.

Here’s the abstract:

The Nordic countries’ media systems are exemplary of the democratic corporatist model, and newspapers have occupied a very prominent position in the political public sphere supported by wide circulation and a political will to subsidize the press and still keep an arm’s length distance. During past decades, these features have come under pressure due to – among other things – the spread of digital media. In this article, we explore two current structural economic challenges to legacy newspaper organizations in Denmark. The first challenge regards the implementation of subscription on news websites since 2013. The second challenge concerns the revision of the Danish press subsidy law in 2013–2014. The introduction of a ‘platform neutral’ subsidy law could be interpreted as a first step toward rethinking the entire press subsidies system. Taken together, these developments pose serious challenges to the printed press: on the one hand, no viable business model seems ready to replace the old one; on the other hand, a reorientation of the regulatory system, which subsidizes the press, seems under way. Despite the global nature of ongoing transformation (digitalization and commercialization), national particularities continue to influence developments and reflect continued support for the democratic corporatist model.

The article is published behind a paywall, but I can send you an early version upon request.

“Journalism in an industry”, special issue

Journalistica 1-2013In Danish newsrooms, a saying goes that “we don’t produce a newspaper in order to make money. We make money, so that we can produce a newspaper.” The idea is to signal how publicist considerations are more important than commercial ones in a news organization, and how selling news is only a means to undertake news production.

In recent years, we have, however, witnessed a change in that perception. Newsrooms as well as journalism research have increasingly been oriented towards the economic framework of news production. It’s a shift in focus which is caused, to a large extent, by the economic crisis of the news industry – and it is also the subject of a recently published special issue of academic, peer-reviewed journal Journalistica, which I have edited. The special issue corresponds with my current research into the digital business models of the press and also ties in with a seminar I arranged back in 2012.

The headline of the special issue is “Journalism in an industry“, and the theme section consists of one introduction and five research articles:

  • Aske Kammer: Introduktion: Journalistik i en industri [Journalism in an industry; in Danish]
  • Jonas Ohlsson: De svenska tidningsstiftelserna: Partipressens sista bastion? [Swedish newspaper foundations – the last stand of the party press?; in Swedish]
  • Piet Bakker: The life cycle of a free newspaper business model in newspaper-rich markets
  • Astrid Marie Holand: Et delt mediemarked: Prosesser som fremmer små aviser [A divided media market; in Norwegian]
  • Jens Barland: Innovasjon av inntekter: Journalistikk som bygger kunderelasjoner [Innovation of revenues; in Norwegian]
  • Ingela Wadbring: Journalists care about commercialization

In addition to the theme section, the issue also contains a number of articles (mostly in Danish). The journal is published open access, so all articles can be read free of charge. Enjoy.

Update January 11, 2014: Some of the research articles have resonated with people “out there”. Piet Bakker’s article received a very nice mentioning on the Nieman Journalism Lab website, while Jannie Møller Hartley’s article on hierarchies in news organizations (article not in the theme section) was discussed on the dSeneste blog (Danish).

New publication: terrorism in real-time

As I hinted in an earlier blog post, I’ve had an important publication coming up.

Now, I’m happy to be able to announce that “Terrorisme i realtid: 22. juli 2011 i danske og norske netaviser” [Terrorism in real-time: July 22, 2011, on Danish and Norwegian news websites] has just been published in academic journal Norsk Medietidsskrift. It’s the second research article of my PhD dissertation on news on the web.

Here’s the abstract:

In cases of emergent crises, news media undertake an important societal function by providing the public with timely and correct information. Using the terrorist attack in Norway on July 22, 2011, as case, this article analyzes how Danish and Norwegian news websites cover emergent crisis in real-time. First, the article analyzes whether this coverage made use of the affordances of news websites (instantaneity, multimodality, interactivity, and hypertextuality). Second, it analyzes the accuracy of the coverage. The conclusion is that the real-time coverage both used the affordances and was accurate, suggesting that digital journalism managed to undertake its societal function during the terrorist attack.

The article is in Danish, but an early, English version can be mail available upon request.

Journalism’s struggle for legitimacy

New post on MediaWatch (behind paywall and in Danish):

Journalistikken kæmper for sin egen legitimitet

Når DR sætter Martin Krasnik til skyde skarpt mod sin egen chef om exitpoll-fadæsen, er det et eksempel på, hvordan medierne i stigende grad kæmper for at forsvare deres egen troværdighed, skriver Aske Kammer, ph.d. og ekstern lektor.

Den famøse exitprognose, som DR offentliggjorde ved sidste uges kommunalvalg, har fået megen opmærksomhed i medierne: Den ramte langt forbi det endelige valgresultat, kan have påvirket vælgerne og gav ikke mindst Socialdemokraternes formand fejlagtigt stof til en taber-tale

Men exit-fadæsen rummer også et andet perspektiv: Efterdønningerne er blevet endnu et eksempel på, hvordan medier og journalister i stigende grad kæmper aktivt for deres troværdighed.

Dagen efter kommunalvalget interviewede Deadline-vært Martin Krasnik DR’s daværende nyhedschef (og altså Krasniks egen chef) Jakob Kwon om sagen. Og Krasnik gik til stålet med særdeles kritiske spørgsmål.

Interviewet blev selvfølgelig nævnt på både sociale og traditionelle medier (det vanlige ”Sådan, Krasnik!”, osv). Men de mere principielle fortolkninger er blevet forbigået.

Journalistikken og nyhedsmedierne er magtfulde institutioner. De er borgernes primære bindeled til den politiske offentlighed, og kan (og skal) sætte spot på urent trav hos de formelle og uformelle magthavere.

I bogen ’Hvor kommer nyhederne fra?’ fra 2009 fremfører mediejournalist Lasse Jensen dog den kritik, at medierne glemmer at rette kanonen mod en vigtig magthaver: Journalistikken selv. Der skrives meget om mediernes strukturer, økonomi, osv., men meget lidt om selve journalistikken, skriver Jensen.

Det kan der være mange gode grunde til. Men det ændrer ikke ved, at det har været uklart, hvem (om nogen) der har vogtet vogterne. Der har naturligvis været Pressenævnet, men dets rolle og ikke mindst (mangel på) slagkraft har været en tilbagevendende debat i mediebranchen – og kritik fra politisk hold.

2013 har imidlertid budt på flere bemærkelsesværdige eksempler på, at journalist-standen vender det kritiske blik mod andre journalister:

Hos Zetland skrev Ida Nyegård Espersen en single om BT’s redaktør Simon Andersen, hvor sammenblandingen af private, professionelle og politiske interesser blandt journalister blev fremhævet.

I fagbladet Journalisten skrev Rune Skyum-Nielsen og Emil Ellesøe Ditzel i en særdeles kritisk artikel, hvordan Dan Tschernia angiveligt kørte TV 2 Lorry lige på kanten af reglerne.

I kølvandet på Krasniks meget omtalte interview med formanden for Trykkefrihedsselskabet, Lars Hedegaard, interviewede TV 2’s Poul Erik Skammelsen som gæstevært på Deadline Krasnik om journalistisk metode og rimelighed.

Og nu udspørger Krasnik altså sin egen chef uden at lægge fingrene imellem.

Disse eksempler er ikke blot interessante, fordi de giver et indblik i en kulørt, magtfuld og lukket medieverden. De er også interessante i en større sammenhæng, fordi de kan ses som eksempler på journalistikkens kamp for at fastholde sin legitimitet.

Når politikere og andre magthavere konstant udfordrer journalisternes arbejde, angriber det mediernes vederhæftighed. Jyske Banks aggressive strategi i forhold til DR’s dokumentarserie om skattefifleri er et aktuelt eksempel. Selvom det ligger i journalistikkens DNA stille spørgsmål til andres troværdighed, så tærer det alligevel, når der offentligt og ved gentagne lejligheder sættes spørgsmålstegn ved mediernes egen troværdigheden.

Som jeg ser det, kan de kritiske portrætter og historier om journalistikken, dens personer og virksomheder, forstås som et tegn på, at medierne er blevet sig dette bevidst: De er nødt til at forsvare deres egen legitimitet. De må åbne op og vise sig villige til at underkaste sig selv og sine egne den samme behandling, de samme krav om transparens, som de udsætter andre for.

På den måde er den kritiske journalistik om journalistik ikke kun samfundsrelevant stof, der forholder sig til en af de magtfulde institutioner. Det er også små fægtninger i kampen om, hvilken plads og legitimitet journalistikken fremover kan påberåbe sig

What’s people’s position on paywalls?

A very brief post just to draw attention to two recent pieces of work (both in Danish) by yours truly.

The first is the report “Nyheder om den anden side” on the coverage of socially marginalized people (alcoholics, drug addicts, prostitutes, homeless people, etc.) in local news media. The report was commissioned by the Council for Socially Marginalized People in Denmark, who wanted to know if local councils speaking the case for this group of people resulted in more coverage in the local press. The short answer: they didn’t.

The second one is an article (published on Kommunikationsforum) that outlines the current state of the Danish discussion on news websites’ paywalls. It argues that there are four positions in the discussion: 1) it’s okay to be charged for journalism, which is an expensive product, online; 2) it’s not okay – in fact, it’s against everything the digital media stands for; 3) it’s okay to charge readers online – we’ll just circumvent the paywalls and get the news for free anyway, and 4) it would be okay to be charged for journalism online if only the quality was better.

Another (and, honestly, more important) publication is due within the very near future. Stay tuned!

From journalism to paparazzi reality

New post on MediaWatch (in Danish and behind paywall):

Fra journalistik til Paparazzi-reality

Ekstra Bladets nye web-tv-format ‘Paparazzi’ er endnu et eksempel på, at aviserne går ud over kerneydelserne for at hente læsere. Og kommercielt rummer 24-timers kendis-format interessante perspektiver.

Ekstra Bladets nye tv-satsning ’Paparazzi’ er et web-tv-format, hvor en kendt person i 24 timer følges af et kamerahold, hvis optagelser streames live på Eb.dk.

Det er altså et format, der lokker med at give et blik ind i den ægte privatsfære bag facaden. Som sådan har det meget til fælles med populære reality-formater på de kommercielle tv-kanaler – ikke mindst ’Haps! Du er fanget’ på Kanal 4 og Kanal 5, hvor værtinden Annette Heick lænkede sig sammen med andre kendte og fulgte dem i tykt og tyndt. Første afsnit af ’Paparazzi’ er næsten reality i anden potens; første “offer” er nemlig – meget symptomatisk – Mascha Vang, der i sin tid blev kendt ved at deltage i 1. sæson af ’Paradise  Hotel’.

Det er på flere måder interessant, at Ekstra Bladet producerer et format som ‘Paparazzi’. Helt overordnet er det et tydeligt eksempel på, hvordan nyhedsorganisationer i disse år bevæger sig væk fra kerneydelsen og begynder at varetage medieproduktion i bredere forstand. Tiden, hvor en redaktion blot lavede dagens avis, og så var det det, er endegyldigt forbi.

Vi har i mange år set nyhedsorganisationer sprede deres aktiviteter bredt – ofte ud over områder, der ikke er strengt nyhedsrelaterede, men fungerer som annonce- eller trafikheste. JP/Politikens Hus har således andele i Bilzonen og har netop opkøbt hele Jobzonen, mens Berlingske Medias driver Sweetdeal, hvor kunderne kan få rabat på alt fra hårkure til kroophold.

Men det er alligevel noget nyt, at en avisredaktion udvides med en decideret underholdningsgren, som ’Paparazzi’ synes at være udtryk for.

Udvidelsen synes at give særligt god mening i et kommercielt perspektiv. Selvom produktionen af ’Paparazzi’ sandsynligvis er relativt bekostelig, er den for det første med til at cementere Eb.dk’s førerposition inden for dansk  web-tv. Flere mediebureauer forventer, at netop web-tv fremover vil blive et fremtrædende element på netaviserne, og at det er her, annoncemidlerne i vid udstrækning kommer til at ligge.

I en branding-sammenhæng er det næppe helt tosset at satse på web-tv, der kan trække et større publikum til siden. Ifølge Ekstra Bladet selv har premiere-udgaven således været i kontakt med brugere over 250.000 gange, hvilket må siges at være ganske pænt.

For det andet kan de 24 timers optagelse klippes op og pakkes til en lang række mindre artikler, der hver især kan generere trafik på netavisen. Vel at mærke trafik, hvor publikum bliver længere på siden end ellers. Der er altså tale om en form for økonomisk ræsonabel synergi-strategi, hvor det samme indhold kan genbruges og præsenteres flere gange i forskellige indpakninger.

Og for det tredje sender Ekstra Bladet med et tiltag som ’Paparazzi’ et klart signal til de andre aktører inden for kendis-/sladder-mediemarkedet om, at det ikke er et område, man har tænkt sig at overlade til de kulørte ugeblade (der dog ligesom de trykte aviser taber læsere såvel som oplag) og blogs.

Det kan måske være nødvendigt med et sådan signal i en tid, hvor blogs i hvert fald internationalt synes toneangivende og stjæle sladdertrafik fra de etablerede medier, og hvor Danmarks førende sladderblad ’Se og Hør’ opruster digitalt med Ekstra Bladets tidligere redaktionschef Niels Pinborg som ny mand i chefstolen.

Guest editor on Audiovisual Thinking #6, 2013

The editorial board of Audiovisual Thinking have kindly asked me to guest edit an issue on journalism, and I have happily accepted. Audiovisual Thinking is something as exotic as “a leading journal of academic videos about audiovisuality, communication, media and design” (i.e. you submit videos instead of papers!) so this task is quite different from anything academic I’ve ever done before. It’s definitely going to be challenging and exciting. The headline of my issue is “News and Journalism in an Online Environment”, and the call for videos goes:

Since their popular emergence approximately 20 years ago, the internet and the World Wide Web have changed news and journalism as we knew it. More recently, other digital and online technologies such as smartphones have intensified the development. Even though core values and self-understandings of journalism remain the same, working practices, business models and approaches to news are challenged. The question, then, is how the online environment changes, challenges and transforms the making, presentation and use of the news. Or to put it another way: if Michael Wesch’s The Machine is Us/ing Us explains digital text, then how can we explain digital journalism?

Topics could include (but are not limited to):

  • Changes in the journalist/audience relationship
  • Challenges to journalism as a profession
  • Transformations of modes of presentation
  • News without a deadline
  • Convergence of different news media
  • Social networks as channels for news dissemination and tools for journalism
  • Tensions between personalized news and a coherent public sphere

Deadline for submissions is February 2013; the issue will be out in the summer of 2013. If you have questions or comments, feel free to contact me or editor Inge Ejbye Sørensen.

Update February 2, 2012: For administrative reasons, the editorial board has pushed the dates for my special issue a little. Submission now opens Spring 2013 and closes November 15, 2013, and the issue is #8. The content remains the same, however.

Update June 3, 2014: This has been a long process, but today it has finally reached its logical conclusion: due to the lack of acceptable contributions, my special issue will not be made. That’s ok, though I would of course have liked to actually have a series of videos about digital journalism that could be used for, for example, teaching purposes. But then it’s a good thing that we still have the video summer school from the Centre for Journalism at the University of Southern Denmark (including my presentation on audience participation in online news).