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university of tampere: faculty of communication sciences: research: comet - tampere research centre for journalism, media and communication: projects: completed projects:
Faculty of Communication SciencesUniversity of Tampere The School of Communication, Media and Theatre COMET
COMET - Tampere Research Centre for Journalism, Media and Communication

How does recession affect journalism?

The aim of the study is to elucidate what kinds of journalistic processes, practices and actors gain strength or weaken during an economic recession. The aim is also to outline practices and solutions that would strengthen the possibilities of quality journalism in the future.

The effects of the previous recession in the 1990s, such as the permanent decrease in newspaper circulation and the reduction in the proportion of advertisements and classifieds in newspapers’ income, shaped the structure of the Finnish media field. The recession was followed by an economic boom during which especially the Internet, mobile communication and the digitalization of the television brought significant changes to the media field. In the present situation, these factors are central to the strengthening and survival of journalism. Who will pay for the production of societal information if journalistic actors weaken due to the recession, while at the same time especially the young people consider news as a commodity to be received for free in the Internet? If the journalistic organizations weaken, what kind of journalism will be practiced outside the traditional journalistic media, and who will produce the news material for the free news services?

In the study, attention is paid also to the trend called news saturation which is linked to the changes in news topics and the increase in various kinds of Internet sources. One of the signs of news saturation would seem to be that subject matters in the news now also extend to private lives and thus blur the line between public and private. Another manifestation of news saturation is the fragmentary and unremitting news culture caused by the mushrooming of the Internet. Now almost everyone, from politicians to high school students, produces news on their own lives and opinions, and the material is snatched arbitrarily from whatever source is handy.

In the first stage of the study, quantitative information on concrete changes (e.g. advertisement income, number of journalists) will be gathered. A survey on international studies and their results will be made at the same time. In the second stage of the study, journalistic case materials will be assessed by analyzing what kind of changes can be detected in the use of sources and how different Internet media materials and lobbying texts become part of journalistic stories. Source practices and changes that have taken place in the journalistic work process are also examined by interviewing journalists and managers in media companies. Furthermore, representatives from various organizations and lobbying groups will be interviewed. The purpose of this is to outline the whole process and its development trends also from the perspective of public relations people and lobbying groups. In the third stage of the study, the results and preliminary conclusions obtained from the material collected in the two previous stages will be analyzed in an expert panel. The panel consists of media experts and experts from other fields. The working methods of the panel include a closed-entry expert seminar and an accompanying discussion forum on the Internet.

Research report:

Nikunen, K. (2011) Enemmän vähemmällä: laman ja teknologisen murroksen vaikutukset suomalaisissa toimituksissa 2009-2010. Tampereen yliopisto: CMT.

Available here.


Nikunen, K. (2013) Losing My Profession: Age, Experience and expertise in the changing newsrooms. Journalism Nov 17 2013, available here.

Nikunen, K. (2011) Ikään katsoen: Talouslaman vaikutukset suomalaisissa toimituksissa. Kivimäki, S. (toim.) Journalismikritiikin vuosikirja 2011. Media & Viestintä 1/2011.

Conference papers:

Nikunen, K. (2010) More with less: recession
experienced in the newsroom of the Finnish Public Service. Paper
presented in RIPE conference, London 09.09.2010

Vehmas, S. & Nikunen, K. (2010) News rooms lost? Experiences of
recession and strategies of survival in the Finnish news papers - ECREA, 3rd
European Communication Conference 12-15 October 2010 - 15.10.2010.

Nikunen, K. (2011) Fast and connected: the emergence of individualist
knowledge in newsrooms after recession. IAMCR conference  13.07.2011-17.07.2011,

Nikunen, K. (2010) Mitä
lama tekee journalismille? Viestinnän päivät, Tampere 12.02.2010.


Contact person:

Kaarina  Nikunen,

Tel. +358 45 6363 458


Helsingin Sanomat Foundation.


2009 - 2011

Post address: Tampere Research Centre for Journalism, Media and Communication, FI-33014 University of Tampere, Finland
Visiting address: Kalevantie 4, E-Wing,(3 rd floor)
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Last update: 20.11.2013 8.42 Muokkaa

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