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Faculty of Communication SciencesUniversity of Tampere The School of Communication, Media and Theatre

Laura Ahvalaura ahva

(in Finnish, suomeksi)

Senior Research Fellow, Dr. of Social Sciences
Email: laura.ahva[at]
Phone: +358 50 5099 219
Office: Atalpa building, room 215
Address: Institute for Advanced Social Research,
(Ratapihankatu 55) 33014 University of Tampere, FINLAND


I am currently working as a Senior Research Fellow at the Institute for Advanced Social Research (IASR), University of Tampere. It is a two-year position (2017-2019) during which I will conduct research on the dispersing nature of journalism as practice. My study focuses especially on how (a) business of journalism has dispersed (start-ups, freelancing, entrepreneurship, co-ops), and how (b) technology drives journalism to disperse (mobile apps, coding, algorithms, hackhathons).

I am also the principal investigator in a research project titled "Conciliatory Journalism" conducted at Tampere Research Centre for Journalism, Media and Communication (COMET). This action research project aims to find ways how journalists could act as mediators between conflicting parties in various disputes. The work on this project will last until 2018.

My postdoc research project (2013-2016) analysed how and why the notion of ‘participation’ has become consolidated in European journalism practice. The study concentrated on recognised participatory journalism. Three different cases were studied: (1) a pan-European online magazine Cafébabel based in Paris, France and other European cities, (2) a Swedish hyperlocal newspaper Södra Sidan in Stockholm and (3) a Finnish alternative newspaper Voima and its website, based in Helsinki. For more information, see the project page.

I have also acted as the national coordinator (2012-2017) in Finland for the international Worlds of Journalism Study (see, that assesses the state of journalism throughout the world, as well as in the comparative research initiative Journalism Students Across the Globe (see,

Previously I have worked in research projects dealing with audiences ('Amateur images: A comparative study on how user-generated content is shaping journalism' and 'Towards Engaging Journalism'). My PhD dissertation (2010) analysed forms of public journalism in the Finnish press (published also online).

I am currently a member of the editorial board of Digital Journalism.

All in all, my research interests include journalists’ professional self-understanding, audience studies, user-generated content (e.g. citizen eyewitness images), mediated civic participation and public/civic journalism.

Selected publications in English

Ahva Laura & Steensen, Steen (2017). Deconstructing digital journalism studies. In Franklin Bob, Eldridge Scott A. (eds) The Routledge Companion to Digital Journalism Studies. Abingon, Oxon, UK: Routledge, 25-34.

Steen Steensen, Ahva Laura (eds.). (2017). Theories of Journalism in a Digital Age. Abingon, Oxon, UK: Routledge.

Ahva, Laura (2017). Practice Theory for Journalism Studies: Operationalizing the concept of practice for the study of participation, Journalism Studies 18: 12, 1523-1541. DOI:10.1080/1461670X.2016.1139464.

Ahva, Laura (2017). How is Participation Practiced by “In-betweeners” of Journalism? Journalism Practice 11: 2-3, 142-159.

Ahva, Laura; van Dalen, Arjen; Hovden, Jan Fredrik; Kolbeins, Guðbjörg Hildur; Löfgren Nilsson, Monica, Morten, Skovsgaard; Väliverronen, Jari (2016). A Welfare State of Mind? Nordic journalists' conception of their role and autonomy in international context. Journalism Studies,published online first Nov 10, 2016. DOI: 10.1080/1461670X.2016.1249005.

Väliverronen, Jari; Ahva, Laura & Pöyhtäri Reeta (2016). Journalists in Finland: Country Report. Worlds of Journalism Study,

Ahva, Laura & Heikkilä, Heikki (2016). Mass, Audience, and the Public. In Witschge, Tamara; C. W. Anderson, David Domingo & Alfred Hermida (eds.) The Sage Handbook of Digital Journalism. London: Sage. 315-325.

Ahva Laura & Hellman, Maria (2015). Citizen eyewitness images and audience engagement in crisis coverage, International Communication Gazette, 77: 7, 668-681. Online:

Ahva, Laura; Heikkilä, Heikki & Kunelius, Risto (2015). Civic Participation and Vocabularies for Democratic Journalism. Teoksessa Atton, Chris (ed.) The Routledge Companion to Alternative and Community Media. Abingdon: Routledge, 155-164.

Steensen, Steen & Ahva, Laura (2015). Theories of Journalism in the Digital Age: An exploration and introduction. Journalism Practice, 9: 1, 1-18, DOI:10.1080/17512786.2014.928454, ja Digital Journalism 3: 1, 1-18, DOI:10.1080/21670811.2014.927984 (intorductory article for a double special issue of the journals). Online:

Heikkilä, Heikki & Ahva, Laura (2015). The Relevance of Journalism: Studying news audiences in a digital age. Journalism Practice 9: 1, 50-64, DOI:10.1080/17512786.2014.928465. Online:

Ahva, Laura & Pantti, Mervi (2014). Proximity As A Journalistic Keyword In The Digital Era: A Study on the "Closeness" of Amateur News Images. Digital Journalism 2: 3, 322.333, DOI: 10.1080/21670811.2014.895505. Online:

Ahva, Laura; Heikkilä, Heikki; Siljamäki, Jaana & Valtonen, Sanna (2014). A bridge over troubled water? Celebrities in journalism connecting implicit and institutional politics. Journalism: Theory, practice and criticism 15: 2, 186-201. DOI: 10.1177/1464884913488723,

Heikkilä, Heikki; Ahva, Laura, Siljamäki, Jaana & Valtonen, Sanna (2014). The Mass, The Audience, and The Public: Questioning Pre-Conceptions of News Audiences. In Glowacki, Michal & Jackson, Lizzie (eds.) Public Media Management for the Twenty-First Century: Creativity, Innovation, and Interaction. New York/London: Routledge, 161-179.

Ahva, Laura (2013). Public journalism and professional reflexivity. Journalism: Theory, practice and criticism 14: 6, 790-806. DOI: 10.1177/1464884912455895.

Ahva, Laura (2011). What is ”public” in public journalism? Estudos em Comunicação – Communication Studies 9, 119–142.

Ahva, Laura (2010). Making News with Citizens: Public Journalism and Professional Reflexivity in Finnish Newspapers. Tampere: Tampere University Press.

Heikkilä, Heikki; Kunelius, Risto & Ahva, Laura (2010). From Credibility to Relevance: Towards a sociology of journalism’s “added value”. Journalism Practice 4: 3.

Ahva, Laura (2010). Public Journalism in Finnish Mainstream Newspapers. In Romano, Angela (ed.)  International Journalism and Democracy: Civic Engagement Models from Around the World. New York: Routledge.

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Last update: 12.1.2018 11.39 Muokkaa

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