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Swedish Journalists to the Left of the Public and Elected Politicians
21 September 2012
University of Gothenburg
On the political scale, Swedish journalists can be placed to the left of the Swedish public and their elected politicians. And the distance between the two sides has increased significantly in recent decades, although this is more due to the public and politicians having moved to the right than to journalists having moved to the left. These are the results of a study conducted at the University of Gothenburg, Sweden.
‘The transition of journalists farther and farther to the left on the political scale stagnated in the mid-1990s,’ says Professor Kent Asp, who headed the study.
The research findings, which are based on questionnaires completed by journalists, the public and members of the Swedish Parliament, are presented in the book titled Svenska journalister 1989-2011.
Compared to the public, journalists generally have much less confidence in banks and the Swedish Royal Court, and journalists in the public service sector are more leftist than their counterparts in commercial radio and television and the daily press. And, as expected, culture journalists and journalists born in the 1940s also tend to be more leftist than their colleagues.
Again compared to the public, journalists are twice as likely to work overtime, and they eat out three times as often. In addition, two-thirds of them use social media on a daily basis. The professional ideals of scrutiny and objectivity are deeply rooted.
The book presents a great deal of results concerning journalists’ opinions and values and how they view themselves and their work.
‘The journalists’ responses have one interesting thing in common. Journalists perceive that their readers, listeners and viewers are gaining more and more power. The journalists are also becoming more and more positive to tailoring their work to suit their audiences.’ says Kent Asp.
Svenska journalister 1989-2011 is a book project that has involved a large number of researchers at the Department of Journalism, Media and Communication (JMG), with an aim to shed light on Swedish journalists in a broad perspective (the 2011 survey is the sixth conducted since 1989). The field work ended in February 2012. The analysis is as broad as in Den svenska journalistkåren from 2007, yet the book has fewer pages. The book has 15 chapters and can be downloaded at no charge at: