Vår tids ledare : en studie av den svenska dagspressens politiska opinionsbildning
Sammanfattning: The objective of this dissertation is to audit political opinion making by the Swedish press on the editorial pages by analyzing editorial production conditions and content and the role of the editorial in local democracy. Three main questions are of central interest in this effort: By whom are editorials written and what guides the work of the editorial writers? What is written in editorials? Who reads editorials and what role do editorials play in local democracy? These questions may be said to be linked to a journalistic scholarly ambition to illuminate a trend within the journalistic genre where in the relationship between the press and the party no longer seems to be playing the same role for editorial writers and editorials. If this relationship does not matter any more, or if it fills a completely different function and if so what impact it has on political opinion making in modern democracy are important questions when it comes to the main objective of this study.The scholarly methods used in this dissertation are first and foremost content analysis of editorials and survey studies directed at editorial writers, politicians, journalists and citizens. The editorial texts analyzed were primarily studied through quantitative content analysis. A selection of daily newspapers was made in order to gain a representative sample of various political groupings, various kinds of newspapers, different geographical areas, and various political levels. This material also includes a survey among Swedish editorial writers. The study was carried out in 1993 and included all newspapers published five, six, or seven days a week in Sweden. Eighty-two editorial writers responded to the survey. The third perspective of the analysis was the encounter between editorials and their audiences, so a survey study was included. The study was carried out in 1998 in six Swedish municipalities.The results indicated that the historically important party press ideal has to a great extent played out its role with respect to its former core area as well - political commentary by the press on the editorial pages. Party standpoints are becoming less common in editorials and party loyalty is not in high favor among editorial writers or their sub-audiences. Professional prioritizations in editorial work are also contributing causes of the party press connection having declined in importance. The only counteracting factors are certain lingering traditional and/or institutional ties between the press and the party and, sometimes, political reality. In dramatic political situations - during election campaigns or in connection with crisis response packages - the press still functions as an opinion maker according to the party press pattern. Otherwise, the overall picture is that the party-controlled press has lost significant portions of its original meaning as an anchor bolt of opinion making in the daily press.
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