Upcoming and ongoing:The NRK Online: A Longitudinal Study of Online News (2013-)
Building on the project "The NRK's Online News (2010)" (see below), this project aims to offer an updated overview of how the Norwegian public service broadcaster the NRK provides news on the web. Partly replicating the data collection and analyses from the the 2010 project, the idea is to prodive comparative insights into how a news organization like the NRK has changed, and what consequences such changes have for the news. The project employs a combination of several large svale data sets, along with case studies, to shed light on the issues at hand. The project is partly funded by the Council for Applied Media Research.
Regulating Public Service beyond Broadcasting (2008-)
Building on my PhD-project Public Broadcasters, the Internet, and Democracy (see below), this project looks at to which extent and how media policy is adapted to incorporate media beyond broadcast radio and television in the idea of public service. By now, while the actual services of public service institutions have expanded onto new media platforms, the regulations lag behind, still mainly characterized by ad hoc solutions and an unsettled regulatory context. Concentrating on the situation in Germany, the UK and Norway, the project compares and critically evaluates ongoing regulatory developments.
Past:Online Media Participation and the Transformation of the Public Sphere (2009-2012)
The primary objective of this project is to assess how online media participation facilitates structural changes of the public sphere in modern democracies. The project will provide an empirical mapping of the blogosphere from a Norwegian perspective. Analyzing how online media participation changes a mass-mediated, mainly nationally demarcated public sphere, the project will test two main hypotheses: (1) language barriers and geographical belonging remain key frames for online media participation. (2) Online media participation is only partly dialogical and scarcely networked. The project's secondary objectives are to appropriate recent democratic theory, and contribute to reconceptualizing the debate about the fragmentation of public debate, as well as the transnational and networked character of the public sphere. The prosject is funded by the Norwegian Research Council.
Main output: with Anders Olof Larsson "Studying Political Microblogging. Twitter Users in the 2010 Swedish Election Campaign". New Media & Society, 14(5): 729-747; with Anders Olof Larsson "Methodological and Ethical Challenges with Large-Scale Analyses of Online Political Communication". Nordicom Reveiw, 33(1): 117-125; "Who Participates and How? Twitter as an Arena for Public Debate about the Data Retention Directive in Norway". International Journal of Communication, 6: 1222–1244; with Anders Olof Larsson "Twitterbruk under valgkampen 2011" [Twitter use during the Norwegian 2011 election campaign]. Norsk medietidsskrift, 19(2): 151-162; and "Mapping the Norwegian Blogosphere: Methodological Challenges in Internationalizing Internet Research". Social Science Computer Review 29(3): 313-326.
Class, Higher Education, Media Use and Cultural Taste (2008-2011)
This project combines the knowledge interests of educational and cultural sociology with those of media studies. It aims to contribute applied knowledge about the relations between three factors: (a) social background, (b) the choice of various sorts of higher education, and (c) cultural preferences and the uses of media (including ICT). The project replicates and expands a study conducted 10 years ago. It will thus result in a very large and internationally unique set of data that will yield new insight into current media use and communication practices among youth in Norway, as well as increased understanding of substantial changes in media use and communication practices over time. Furthermore, the data analyses will be used for theory development pertaining to the interrelatedness of social stratification, higher education, media, communication and culture in the ongoing reproduction of the social system. The project is to a considerable extent inspired by the theories, methodologies and empirical work of the French sociologist Pierre Bourdieu. The project is a collaboration with Jostein Gripsrud and Jan Fredrik Hovden.
Main output: with Jostein Gripsrud and Jan Fredrik Hovden "Changing relations: Class, Education and Cultural Capital". Poetics, 39(6): 507-529.
The NRK's Online News (2010)
This collaborative project, led by Dag Elgesem, is a study of the online news provision by the Norwegian public service broadcaster NRK. Mapping the overall activities on the web, but focusing on the textual provision of news, the project combines large-scale datasets and computer-assisted analyses with manually coded samples and qualitative case studies. The aim is to assess whether or not the NRK's online news is in line with the organization's remit. The project is funded by the Norwegian Media Authority.
Main output: with Helle Sjøvaag and Eirik Stavelin "Public Service News On The Web: A Large-Scale Content Analysis of the Norwegian Broadcasting Corporation’s Online News". Journalism Studies, 13(1):90-106; and with Dag Elgesem, Helle Sjøvaag, Eirik Stavelin, Maren Agdestein, Joachim Laberg, Linn Lorgen and Gyri S. Losnegaard NRKs nyhetstilbud på Internett i 2009 [The NRK's online news in 2009 - in Norwegian]. Report to the Norwegian Media Authority. Bergen: University of Bergen. 165 pages.
Public Broadcasters, the Internet, and Democracy (2004-2008)
PhD project studying public service broadcasting facing a digital media system. The focus is on internet services since the mid-1990s. With a comparative design, the I discuss how public service broadcasters seized opportunities and handled challenges related to the internet, and how national and supranational regulatory regimes and policy actors coped with public service broadcasting venturing online. I concentrate on publicly owned former monopolists, assessing four such institutions in three states: the British BBC, Norway’s NRK, and the ARD and the ZDF in Germany.
I argue that traditional practices of media policy do not suddenly change in the digital era. Rather, settings for public service are to a large extent still defined within well-established frameworks, and dependent on the conditioned legacies of each state’s political culture. Discussing similarities and differences in the development of the institutions’ internet activities, and their corresponding national regulations, I find the development characterized by ad hoc solutions. This also applies to the EU policy regime, built on a competition law-logic. With the latter regime, I argue, we are incapable of grasping the autonomous democratic functions of public broadcasters’ online services. Moreover, the regime provides insufficient space to play out national differences.
In the project I also explore the democratic functions of public broadcasting institutions in an online environment. With a founding in normative public sphere theory, I contend that there is a potential in online communication not only for dialogue, but also for dissemination. Both communicative forms should be utilized by public service actors in ways that consistently counter processes of enclosure and balkanization in the public sphere. On this basis, I develop a scheme for public service media online. By scrutinizing marginal parts of the cases’ internet activities I lastly explore this scheme, and the limits of public broadcasters’ publicly funded online offers. Thereby, I aim to revitalize discussions about the functions of public service as a media policy tool in the digital era. In my view, public service media remain relevant. The project publications substantiate why, and outline how.
Main output: Public Broadcasters, the Internet, and Democracy. Comparing Policy and Exploring Public Service Media Online. Phd-thesis. Bergen: University of Bergen.
Public Sphere Theory (2004-2010)
This project (lead by Jostein Gripsrud) is based on a thorough reading of political philosophy and democratic theories from the social sciences, focused on the idea of the public sphere and the functions of the public sphere in modern democracies. During the last decade, public sphere theory has been central to thinking about and studies of democratic rule and political communication. The public sphere is also a key term politically, not least in the EU's effort to develop and legitimize democratic procedures on an European level. The project aims to provide an updated overview of public sphere theory, and also contribute to its further development within media studies.
Main output: The Digital Public Sphere. Challenges for Media Policy (Nordicom, 2010), co-edited with Jostein Gripsrud; The Idea of the Public Sphere: A Reader (Lexington Books, 2010), co-edited with Jostein Gripsrud, Anders Molander and Graham Murdock, in collaboration with Martin Eide, Karl Knapskog, Leif Johan Larsen, Leif Ove Larsen and Peter Larsen; and The Public Sphere: Vol. I-IV (SAGE, 2011),co-edited with Jostein Gripsrud, Anders Molander and Graham Murdock.