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Title [en]
Symbiotic leader-media relations? Exploring interaction between prime ministers and the media in Finland, Lithuania, Poland and Sweden
Abstract [en]
This research programme explores leader-media relations – mainly interactions between prime ministers (and their communication aides) and journalists – in Finland, Lithuania, Poland and Sweden. More specifically, the programme addresses three scholarly and related themes: (1) the ‘presidentialization’ of politics; (2) the ‘personalization’ of politics; and (3) the ‘mediatization’ of politics. The programme goes beyond existing research in two central respects. First, it integrates the themes of ‘presidentialization’, ‘personalization’ and ‘mediatization’ of politics. Second, the programme includes and assesses the full spectrum of leader-media relations – personal as well as impersonal relations. Our starting assumption is that these relations are mutually reinforcing and symbiotic rather than adversarial, but this is an open and empirical question to be explored in this programme. We will rely on complementary forms of primary material in our case studies. Interviews and content analysis will be our main research techniques. The programme adopts a comparative research design, with empirical research in a cross-national context. There is variation in our set of selected countries both regarding media system and political system. We propose a highly integrated programme, in which all researchers work with the same research problem in a comparative research design and in a concerted effort to exploit the synergies between the academic disciplines of political science and journalism/media studies. The programme is inter-disciplinary by linking these academic disciplines, on the basis of our shared concern with political communication. The programme includes researchers with strong publication records, and has close ties to internationally leading scholars.
Publications (10 of 16) Show all publications
Johansson, K. M. & Raunio, T. (2023). Government Communication in Finland and Sweden. Baltic Rim Economies (3), 7-7
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Government Communication in Finland and Sweden
2023 (English)In: Baltic Rim Economies, ISSN 1459-9759, no 3, p. 7-7Article in journal (Other (popular science, discussion, etc.)) Published
Abstract [en]

Communications is one of the most pressing challenges facing government day by day. Government communication – defined broadly as the structures, practices and processes of the executive in its communication aspects – is required to handle those challenges. In this article, we outline the main elements of government communication in Finland and Sweden and then contrast the two countries. Our analysis covers both broader, over time developments as well as communication during the crises of the early 2020s.  

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Turku: Centrum Balticum, 2023
National Category
Political Science
Research subject
Politics, Economy and the Organization of Society
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:sh:diva-52591 (URN)
Funder
The Foundation for Baltic and East European Studies, 19/2013
Available from: 2023-10-31 Created: 2023-10-31 Last updated: 2023-11-01Bibliographically approved
Malling, M. (2023). Reconstructing the Informal and Invisible: Interactions Between Journalists and Political Sources in Two Countries. Journalism Practice, 17(4), 683-703
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Reconstructing the Informal and Invisible: Interactions Between Journalists and Political Sources in Two Countries
2023 (English)In: Journalism Practice, ISSN 1751-2786, E-ISSN 1751-2794, Vol. 17, no 4, p. 683-703Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

A significant part of the interaction between journalists and their sources in political journalism is informal or not mentioned in the media content. Visibility/invisibility and formality/informality are tactical choices applied by journalists and sources. They influence agenda building in the short term and shared interpretations that dominate the public sphere in the long term.However, the extent to which informal and/or invisible sources participate, what their role is, and why have not been consistently measured. This paper offers a matrix model to map and compare the usage of formal/informal and visible/invisible interactions between journalists and their sources. The data consists of 475 journalist-source interactions in Lithuania and Sweden reconstructed by 33 political journalists.The results demonstrate how different interactions presuppose different source roles in the news process. Formal invisible sources act as gatekeepers, and informal invisible sources act as agenda setters.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Taylor & Francis, 2023
Keywords
Agenda building, informal interaction, journalist-source relationships, news sources, political journalism, reconstruction interviews, unattributed sources
National Category
Media and Communications
Research subject
Baltic and East European studies
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:sh:diva-45475 (URN)10.1080/17512786.2021.1930571 (DOI)000654766700001 ()2-s2.0-85106470056 (Scopus ID)
Funder
The Foundation for Baltic and East European Studies, 19/2013
Available from: 2021-05-31 Created: 2021-05-31 Last updated: 2023-06-13Bibliographically approved
Johansson, E. & Johansson, K. M. (2022). Along the government–media frontier: Press secretaries offline/online. Journal of Public Affairs, 22(S1), Article ID e2759.
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Along the government–media frontier: Press secretaries offline/online
2022 (English)In: Journal of Public Affairs, ISSN 1472-3891, E-ISSN 1479-1854, Vol. 22, no S1, article id e2759Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

While the position of press secretaries to ministers has become routinized, we still know little about their everyday life in the political executive. This article, based on in-depth interviews with press secretaries and an inventory of social media use conducted among ministers and press secretaries in Sweden, explores what press secretaries do and the roles and functions they fill. It addresses the overarching question of what it is really like to be government press secretary. It engages with this question through a combination of methods, mapping, and explaining patterns of behavior across related fields and strategic spaces. We argue that existing research and role typologies, while still useful, must be developed by accounting more for how press secretary work changes through new techniques and digitalization. We conclude that press secretaries fill a mix of roles and these are quite stable, but social media impacts on the daily routine of the press secretary and are a part of the work that is difficult or impossible to control. In addition, this study of Swedish press secretaries helps to redress a geographical imbalance in political communication (system) research where the focus usually is on Anglo-American-based scholarship and systems.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
John Wiley & Sons, 2022
Keywords
digital, executive, function, press secretary, role, social media, spin, Sweden
National Category
Media and Communications Political Science (excluding Public Administration Studies and Globalisation Studies)
Research subject
Politics, Economy and the Organization of Society
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:sh:diva-46393 (URN)10.1002/pa.2759 (DOI)000695269600001 ()2-s2.0-85114740612 (Scopus ID)
Funder
The Foundation for Baltic and East European Studies, 19/2013
Available from: 2021-09-14 Created: 2021-09-14 Last updated: 2022-12-23Bibliographically approved
Johansson, K. M. (2022). The Prime Minister–Media Nexus: Centralization Logic and Application (1ed.). Cham: Palgrave Macmillan
Open this publication in new window or tab >>The Prime Minister–Media Nexus: Centralization Logic and Application
2022 (English)Book (Refereed)
Abstract [en]

This book offers a systematic inquiry into how, why, and with what consequences media affects governments and the standing of prime ministers. It aims at an understanding of how media has caused institutional effects in government, as well as at advancing a unified theory of government communication. The author develops a logic of centralization and applies it to one case, Sweden. Government communication has been institutionalized, tightened and centralized with the prime minister and has changed irreversibly. Analysis of how the government communication system has evolved, mainly in its institutional structures, suggests that the shift to centralization arose more out of necessity than choice. For prime ministers most of this is about finding ways to ensure that the entire government respond to media uniformly. As governments face a set of functional demands from media, different kinds of media, uniformity has been a paramount objective. Nevertheless, this development involves shifting dynamics of intra-executive relations and a shift of power away from ministries to the prime minister’s office; the apex of political power. The prime minister has been empowered at the expense of ministers through the concentration of power and resources to the executive centre. That is partly because of media, which reinforces political hierarchies. That and the centralized control of government news in turn raises further questions about democratic governance and the nature of modern-day governing. 

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Cham: Palgrave Macmillan, 2022. p. 103 Edition: 1
Series
Palgrave Studies in Political Leadership, ISSN 2947-5821, E-ISSN 2947-583X
Keywords
political communication, presidentialization of politics, prime minister, communication, politics and the media, personalization of prime ministers, prime minister, function, empowerment, institutional change, logic of centralization, media, presidentialization, adaptation, centralization, communication
National Category
Political Science (excluding Public Administration Studies and Globalisation Studies)
Research subject
Politics, Economy and the Organization of Society
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:sh:diva-50081 (URN)10.1007/978-3-031-12152-4 (DOI)978-3-031-12151-7 (ISBN)978-3-031-12152-4 (ISBN)
Funder
The Foundation for Baltic and East European Studies, 19/2013
Available from: 2022-10-17 Created: 2022-10-17 Last updated: 2022-10-21Bibliographically approved
Malling, M. (2021). Sources that Trigger the News: Multiplexity of Social Ties in News Discovery. Journalism Studies, 22(10), 1298-1316
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Sources that Trigger the News: Multiplexity of Social Ties in News Discovery
2021 (English)In: Journalism Studies, ISSN 1461-670X, E-ISSN 1469-9699, Vol. 22, no 10, p. 1298-1316Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

The study explores how the content of the social ties between journalists and their sources, and the multiplexity of the ties in particular, is reflected in the news discovery practices in the political beat. Some of the news ideas come from publicly available channels while others derive from journalists' unique networks of social contacts (often to some degree informal). The sources connected to journalists via single vs. multiplex social ties achieve a discursive power (Jungerr et al. 2019) in different ways. The study is based on reconstructed news discovery situations (n = 162) from two different political journalism environments: Lithuania and Sweden, and combines quantitative and qualitative questions. First, it measures the prevalence of the multiplex social ties between journalists and the sources. Second, it analyzes how the multiplexity of these ties is reflected in the process of the news discovery and, third, the outcome-the news content. The results show that the prevalence of multiplex social ties, and the social network behind them, is reflected in what news journalists can access and select as newsworthy. Process-wise, multiplex social ties work as a shortcut but require a balance between maintaining the access to the network and distance to the source.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Taylor & Francis, 2021
National Category
Media Studies
Research subject
Baltic and East European studies
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:sh:diva-46216 (URN)10.1080/1461670X.2021.1951331 (DOI)000674075300001 ()2-s2.0-85110905985 (Scopus ID)
Funder
The Foundation for Baltic and East European Studies, 19/2013
Available from: 2021-08-18 Created: 2021-08-18 Last updated: 2022-11-03Bibliographically approved
Johansson, K. M. (2021). Stärker mediemakten regeringsmakten?. Statsvetenskaplig Tidskrift, 123(1), 5-25
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Stärker mediemakten regeringsmakten?
2021 (Swedish)In: Statsvetenskaplig Tidskrift, ISSN 0039-0747, Vol. 123, no 1, p. 5-25Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

This article explores the question if media power strengthens governmental power. It engages with this question through a study of the Swedish case. The case study summarizes secondary evidence and presents new primary evidence drawn from interviews and documents. It builds on presidentialization theory to develop an argument about why prime ministers, in particular, should be expected to be empowered by media, among other factors. The article advances the argument that the drive for government-wide coherent communication perpetuates trends of centralization. This follows a functionalist logic and changes the balance between premiers and other cabinet ministers in favour of the former. Moreover, prime ministers are the natural foci of media attention. The article concludes that premiers are empowered by the media, but the scope for executive empowerment more broadly is conditional on the domestic political context. These findings have important implications for research on political communication and executives.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Lund: Fahlbeckska Stiftelsen, 2021
National Category
Political Science
Research subject
Politics, Economy and the Organization of Society
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:sh:diva-44587 (URN)
Funder
The Foundation for Baltic and East European Studies, 1296/3.1.1/2013
Available from: 2021-03-19 Created: 2021-03-19 Last updated: 2021-05-12Bibliographically approved
Johansson, K. M. & Raunio, T. (2020). Centralizing Government Communication? Evidence from Finland and Sweden. Politics and Policy, 48(6), 1138-1160
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Centralizing Government Communication? Evidence from Finland and Sweden
2020 (English)In: Politics and Policy, E-ISSN 1747-1346, Vol. 48, no 6, p. 1138-1160Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

How governments manage their communication is one crucial indicator of the balance of power within the cabinet and inside the executive branch as a whole. Existing research offers few insights into the process by which governments come to choose one form of communication over another and about the factors driving centralization. This article addresses this gap through a comparison of two countries, Finland and Sweden, examining not only the organizational forms of government communication but also the causal mechanisms at work. Combining theoretical lessons from studies in political communication, political science, and public administration, it develops a centralization argument, focusing on the centripetal factors facilitating coordination and control. Drawing on over 40 interviews with journalists and political or media advisors in the two countries and on government documents, the article offers clear evidence of a trend toward centralization, particularly in Sweden. This trend should be understood as part of a broader process whereby prime ministers and their offices establish stronger control of the entire executive branch.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Wiley-Blackwell, 2020
Keywords
Centralization, Government Communication, Media Advisors, Political Advisors, Press Secretaries, Prime Ministers, Finland, Sweden
National Category
Political Science
Research subject
Politics, Economy and the Organization of Society; Baltic and East European studies
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:sh:diva-41687 (URN)10.1111/polp.12370 (DOI)000559481300001 ()2-s2.0-85089391819 (Scopus ID)1296/3.1.1/2013 (Local ID)1296/3.1.1/2013 (Archive number)1296/3.1.1/2013 (OAI)
Funder
The Foundation for Baltic and East European Studies, 19/2013
Available from: 2020-08-17 Created: 2020-08-17 Last updated: 2021-01-28Bibliographically approved
Johansson, K. M. & Nygren, G. (Eds.). (2019). Close and Distant: Political Executive-Media Relations in Four Countries (1ed.). Gothenburg: Nordicom
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Close and Distant: Political Executive-Media Relations in Four Countries
2019 (English)Collection (editor) (Refereed)
Abstract [en]

This book explores the interplay between government and media drawing on unique evidence from, and in-depth analysis of, four national cases: Finland, Lithuania, Poland and Sweden. Based on the chapters dedicated to each country, five additional chapters address the following cross-national themes: government communication, social media, formality/informality in journalist-source relations, mediatisation of politics, and political communication culture.

The book reveals what really goes on between the political executive and the media in everyday practices within these countries. First, it uncovers a process of mediated political-cultural change within media-political systems. Second, it illustrates the work- ings of prime ministerial power and communication aides at this apex of political power and the media and those who work there. Third, it examines both the struggle within governing institutions to control the flow of information and the tensions between civil servants and political aides, and takes the reader through the four media-political con- texts rooted in a deep knowledge of these relationships.

The result is an illuminating and original analysis of politics, political communication, media and journalism, and offers greater understanding of the realities of government – and democracy – and media in practice as well as the role of media within contemporary politics.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Gothenburg: Nordicom, 2019. p. 264 Edition: 1
National Category
Political Science Media and Communications
Research subject
Politics, Economy and the Organization of Society; Baltic and East European studies
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:sh:diva-37447 (URN)1296/3.1.1/2013 (Local ID)978-91-88855-06-0 (ISBN)978-91-88855-07-7 (ISBN)1296/3.1.1/2013 (Archive number)1296/3.1.1/2013 (OAI)
Funder
The Foundation for Baltic and East European Studies, 19/2013
Note

Available from: 2019-01-28 Created: 2019-01-28 Last updated: 2022-11-01Bibliographically approved
Johansson, K. M. & Raunio, T. (2019). Government communication in a comparative perspective. In: Karl Magnus Johansson & Gunnar Nygren (Ed.), Close and Distant: Political Executive-Media Relations in Four Countries (pp. 127-148). Gothenburg: Nordicom
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Government communication in a comparative perspective
2019 (English)In: Close and Distant: Political Executive-Media Relations in Four Countries / [ed] Karl Magnus Johansson & Gunnar Nygren, Gothenburg: Nordicom, 2019, p. 127-148Chapter in book (Refereed)
Abstract [en]

This chapter hypothesises that there is a trend of centralisation in government communication – a move upwards in the political executive towards central coordination and control. We test this argument empirically through an inventory of elite interview evidence and a four-country comparison including two case studies – Finland and Sweden – as well as two case illustrations – Lithuania and Poland. Based on, altogether, over 80 interviews with political journalists and political/media advisors or press secretaries in the four countries, the chapter analyses how government communication is structured. The cases of Finland and Sweden offer support for the centralisation hypothesis while those of Lithuania and Poland point out its limitations. We thus conclude that the extent to which government communication is centralised varies across contexts and that the variation is patterned.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Gothenburg: Nordicom, 2019
Keywords
centralisation, coordination, executive, government communication, professionalisation
National Category
Political Science Media and Communications
Research subject
Politics, Economy and the Organization of Society
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:sh:diva-37452 (URN)1296/3.1.1/2013 (Local ID)978-91-88855-06-0 (ISBN)978-91-88855-07-7 (ISBN)1296/3.1.1/2013 (Archive number)1296/3.1.1/2013 (OAI)
Funder
The Foundation for Baltic and East European Studies, 19/2013
Available from: 2019-01-28 Created: 2019-01-28 Last updated: 2020-08-17Bibliographically approved
Balčytienė, A. & Malling, M. (2019). Lithuania: Media-politics interaction shaped by benefits-oriented reasoning. In: Karl Magnus Johansson & Gunnar Nygren (Ed.), Close and Distant: Political Executive-Media Relations in Four Countries (pp. 5-74). Gothenburg: Nordicom
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Lithuania: Media-politics interaction shaped by benefits-oriented reasoning
2019 (English)In: Close and Distant: Political Executive-Media Relations in Four Countries / [ed] Karl Magnus Johansson & Gunnar Nygren, Gothenburg: Nordicom, 2019, p. 5-74Chapter in book (Refereed)
Abstract [en]

This chapter discusses how media and political information sources navigate change and adjust their needs-oriented behaviour to changing conditions. The results presented are based on 20 qualitative interviews with leading political journalists as well as government advisors and spokespersons in Lithuania. Although media and political sources gain power in different situations, both sides function in reciprocal interconnectedness. Formal contacts are quite consistent and professionalised, but they continue to work in the shadow of informal social networks, which create their own power relationships, dynamics and hierarchical structures. Though the findings are contextually fashioned, the views regarding the interaction indicate broader trends of communication professionalisation identified also in other cultures and political conditions.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Gothenburg: Nordicom, 2019
Keywords
political journalism, government relations, political culture, democratisation, professionalisation, Lithuania
National Category
Media and Communications Political Science
Research subject
Baltic and East European studies
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:sh:diva-38477 (URN)978-91-88855-06-0 (ISBN)978-91-88855-07-7 (ISBN)
Available from: 2019-06-25 Created: 2019-06-25 Last updated: 2021-05-28Bibliographically approved
Principal InvestigatorJohansson, Karl Magnus
Co-InvestigatorBalčytienė, Auksė
Co-InvestigatorDobek-Ostrowska, Bogusława
Co-InvestigatorJohansson, Elena
Co-InvestigatorMalling, Milda
Co-InvestigatorMoring, Tom
Co-InvestigatorNiemikari, Risto
Co-InvestigatorNożewski, Jacek
Co-InvestigatorNygren, Gunnar
Co-InvestigatorRaunio, Tapio
Coordinating organisation
Södertörn University
Funder
Period
2014-01-01 - 2016-12-31
Keywords [sv]
Östersjö- och Östeuropaforskning
Keywords [en]
Baltic and East European studies
National Category
Political Science (excluding Public Administration Studies and Globalization Studies)
Identifiers
DiVA, id: project:1683Project, id: 19/2013_OSS