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

Election funding crisis: media and politics at a crossroads?

The study aims to elucidate the significance of the election funding crisis that started in spring 2008. It seems that the decades-old, established practices of the Finnish political system are in a crisis. This offers an excellent opportunity to shed light on the current nature of the relationship between the media and the political system and how it has changed.

The study provides a comprehensive view of the election funding crisis and its significance. Data is gathered on three different levels: 1) interviews of central actors 2) analysis of media contents and 3) audience research. The interviews reveal how journalists, politicians and experts see the crisis and its relevance. Media content analysis forms a general view of the publicity of the election funding crisis and the actors involved. The public’s impressions on the crisis and its significance are examined with two representative surveys, as well as analyses of small group data and online discussions.

The objective is to form an overall picture of the progress of the election funding crisis and, at the same time, provide answers to the following three questions. First, we shed light on how the relationship between journalism and politics has developed, and how it is developing. What are the roles of the different media in politics? Are we talking about a crossroads; has the media cut loose from politics? Second, we look at public opinion. To which extent has the crisis affected the credibility of the media and politics in the eyes of the public? Third, we describe the significance of the crisis to the future of journalism. Are we witnessing the march of a new generation of journalists and their values?

The study is co-conducted by the University of Helsinki Communication Research Centre (CRC) and the University of Tampere Journalism Research and Development Centre (JRDC, nowadays COMET). The Communication Research Centre is responsible for the analysis of the interview data and the Journalism Research and Development Centre for the analysis of media contents and audience data. The project is set to start at the beginning of 2010 and it will be complete in March 2011. Public debate on the crisis will most likely continue well into 2010 due to the preparation of the legislative proposal concerning election funding and the study aims to cover this debate in its entirety. Interview and survey data will be gathered also after the crisis has abated, so that the long-term effects will be easier to deduce. The study will produce a report in which all the research data is merged into a clear description of the progress and respective significance of the crisis.

The project is funded by Helsingin Sanomat Foundation.

Contact person in COMET:

Sinikka Torkkola

Research Centre COMET
FI-33014 University of Tampere, Finland

sinikka.torkkola  AT
Tel. +358 40 1909785

Other researchers in COMET:

Jari Väliverronen
jari.valiverronen AT
Tel. +358 50 318 5949

Anne Koski
Anne.Koski AT

Project publications

Väliverronen, Jari (2011). Kansalaisuus liikkeessä. [Citizenship in Transition.] In Kantola, Anu (Ed.) Hetken hallitsijat: julkinen elämä notkeassa yhteiskunnassa. [Rulers of the Moment: Public Life in a Liquid Modern Society.] Helsinki: Gaudeamus, 142 - 163.

Väliverronen, Jari (2012). Jotakin uutta, jotakin vanhaa: Kansalaisten arvioita median toiminnasta ja journalismista vaalirahakohussa. [Something New, Something Old: Citizens' Evaluations of the Media and Journalism during the "Election Funding Crisis".] Media & viestintä 35 (2), 23-37.

Project presentations

Väliverronen, Jari (2011). Vaalirahakohu kansalaisten silmin. [The Election Funding Crisis in the Eyes of the Public.] Mediatutkimuksen päivät 2011, 4.2.2011 Turku, Finland.

Väliverronen, Jari & Torkkola, Sinikka (2011). Citizens’ Critique of Journalism during the Finnish "Election Funding Crisis". Nordmedia 2011, 13.8.2011 Akureyri, Iceland.

Torkkola, Sinikka & Koski, Anne (2011). The Institutional Role of Journalism in the Context of the Campaign Funding Crisis in Finland. Moscow Readings. The 3rd International Media Readings in Moscow, 11.11.2011 Moscow, Russia.

Väliverronen, Jari (2012). The Times They Are a-Changing, But Slowly: Citizens' Evaluations of Finnish Media and Journalism during the Recent Election Funding Crisis. Communication, Media and Civic Culture 18.5.2012. Bucharest, Romania.

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: 27.6.2012 13.57 Muokkaa

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