Lokalpressens självbilder 1920-2010 Exemplet Gävleborg

Detta är en avhandling från Sundsvall : Avdelningen för medie- och kommunikationsvetenskap, Mittuniversitetet

Sammanfattning: The newspaper press is in a state of flux, reflecting both technological, cultural, economic and political changes. The digitization of the media is expected to bring about major changes in the media landscape and many are predicting the demise of the traditional newspaper.However, the media landscape has always been in transition and the press has always had to adapt to new competing media as well as new economic circumstances. The focus of this study is on the meaning production of newspapers and the overarching question is how, at different times, newspapers have marketed their products, communicated their identities and legitimated their privileges.The purpose of this dissertation is to investigate the self-images of local newspapers in a historical perspective. It contributes to the study of the media history of the press by investigating how four local newspapers in the county of Gävleborg in Sweden have formulated and communicated their self-images over time. Self-image is defined broadly and contains different meanings of, and aspects on, the concept of newspaper. A common feature of the texts included in the empirical material of this study is that they, in different ways, describe what the newspaper is, what it does, how and/or why.The period studied comprises ninety years, from 1920 and the time of the modernisation of the Swedish press after the First World War, until 2010 and the changing media landscape of today. The overarching questions for this study are: (1) What aspects of newspaper (institution or individual newspaper, opinion making or news reporting, the organisation or the audience) have been emphasised in the meaning production at different times? (2) What differences and similarities are there between the different newspapers regarding the self-images? (3) How have the self-images changed over time?The study concludes with a historical periodisation covering the most important changes in the self-images. The period studied is divided into four sub-periods in which different aspects of newspaper have been prominent in the self-images: (1) Mobilization (1920-1945). The newspapers are described primarily as a means of political mobilization and the medium is understood as a political tool or weapon. (2) News reporting (1935-1965). The newspapers (and their supporting technologies, especially the teleprinter) are characterised as a fast and technologically sophisticated media between the readers and the world beyond the local. (3) Critique (1965-1995). The local newspapers portray themselves as scrutinizers of the local governments and others in power. (4) Construction (1995-2010). The newspapers start to describe themselves as constructors and maintainers of local communities and identities. In a globalized and boundless world, the local newspapers provide their readers with a sense of place and community.The overall conclusion of this dissertation is that the self-images of the local press has undergone significant changes in the period studied. What the press – according to itself – is, what it does, how and why, and to whom, are questions that have received very different answers at various moments in history.