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  • 1.
    Balčytienė, Auksė
    et al.
    Vytautas Magnus University, Kaunas, Lithuania.
    Malling, Milda
    Södertörn University, School of Social Sciences, Journalism.
    Lithuania: Media-politics interaction shaped by benefits-oriented reasoning2019In: 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.

  • 2.
    Johansson, Elena
    et al.
    University of Gothenburg, Sweden.
    Johansson, Karl Magnus
    Södertörn University, School of Social Sciences, Political Science.
    Along the government–media frontier: Press secretaries offline/online2022In: Journal of Public Affairs, ISSN 1472-3891, E-ISSN 1479-1854, Vol. 22, no S1, article id e2759Article in journal (Refereed)
    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.

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  • 3.
    Johansson, Karl Magnus
    Södertörn University, School of Social Sciences, Political Science.
    Statsministern och medierna2018In: Snabbtänkt: Reflektioner från valet 2018 av ledande forskare / [ed] Lars Nord, Marie Grusell, Niklas Bolin & Kajsa Falasca, Sundsvall: Mittuniversitetet, Demicom. , 2018, p. 101-Chapter in book (Other academic)
  • 4.
    Johansson, Karl Magnus
    Södertörn University, School of Social Sciences, Political Science.
    Stärker mediemakten regeringsmakten?2021In: Statsvetenskaplig Tidskrift, ISSN 0039-0747, Vol. 123, no 1, p. 5-25Article in journal (Refereed)
    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.

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  • 5.
    Johansson, Karl Magnus
    Södertörn University, School of Social Sciences, Political Science.
    The Prime Minister–Media Nexus: Centralization Logic and Application2022 (ed. 1)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. 

  • 6.
    Johansson, Karl Magnus
    et al.
    Södertörn University, School of Social Sciences, Political Science.
    Malling, Milda
    Södertörn University, School of Social Sciences, Journalism.
    Nygren, Gunnar
    Södertörn University, School of Social Sciences, Journalism.
    Sweden: A professionally symbiotic relationship2019In: Close and Distant: Political Executive–Media Relations in Four Countries / [ed] Karl Magnus Johansson & Gunnar Nygren, Gothenburg: Nordicom, 2019, p. 97-123Chapter in book (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    This chapter explores political executive-media relations in Sweden, with a particular focus on professional day-to-day relationships and habits. The analysis is mainly based on extensive interviews with journalists and government press secretaries, and it establishes the routinisation at work, as well as the professionalisation. The exchanges between journalists and their sources appear to be close but with recognition of each other’s professional roles. Media developments influence the relationship, and the downsizing of newsrooms, multi-platform production 24/7 and increased competition for unique news have made journalists more dependent on available sources. At the same time, professionalisation of government communication makes news management more efficient and has centralising effects on executive systems. Together these trends shift the balance between journalists and their political sources in favour of the latter. The presented findings have important implications for research on journalism, media and political executives.

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  • 7.
    Johansson, Karl Magnus
    et al.
    Södertörn University, School of Social Sciences, Political Science.
    Nygren, GunnarSödertörn University, School of Social Sciences, Journalism.
    Close and Distant: Political Executive-Media Relations in Four Countries2019Collection (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.

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  • 8.
    Johansson, Karl Magnus
    et al.
    Södertörn University, School of Social Sciences, Political Science.
    Nygren, Gunnar
    Södertörn University, School of Social Sciences, Journalism.
    Locked in a mutual dependency: Media and the political executive in close interplay2019In: Close and Distant: Political Executive-Media Relations in Four Countries / [ed] Karl Magnus Johansson & Gunnar Nygren, Gothenburg: Nordicom, 2019, p. 247-259Chapter in book (Refereed)
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  • 9.
    Johansson, Karl Magnus
    et al.
    Södertörn University, School of Social Sciences, Political Science.
    Nygren, Gunnar
    Södertörn University, School of Social Sciences, Journalism.
    The interplay of media and the political executive: Introduction and framework2019In: Close and Distant: Political Executive-Media Relations in Four Countries / [ed] Karl Magnus Johansson & Gunnar Nygren, Gothenburg: Nordicom, 2019, p. 9-26Chapter in book (Refereed)
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  • 10.
    Johansson, Karl Magnus
    et al.
    Södertörn University, School of Social Sciences, Political Science.
    Raunio, Tapio
    Tampere University, Tampere, Finland.
    Centralizing Government Communication? Evidence from Finland and Sweden2020In: Politics and Policy, E-ISSN 1747-1346, Vol. 48, no 6, p. 1138-1160Article in journal (Refereed)
    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.

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  • 11.
    Johansson, Karl Magnus
    et al.
    Södertörn University, School of Social Sciences, Political Science.
    Raunio, Tapio
    Tampere University, Finland.
    Government communication in a comparative perspective2019In: 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.

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  • 12.
    Johansson, Karl Magnus
    et al.
    Södertörn University, School of Social Sciences, Political Science.
    Raunio, Tapio
    Tampere University, Finland.
    Government Communication in Finland and Sweden2023In: Baltic Rim Economies, ISSN 1459-9759, no 3, p. 7-7Article in journal (Other (popular science, discussion, etc.))
    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.  

  • 13.
    Malling, Milda
    Södertörn University, School of Social Sciences, Journalism.
    Power and exchange in formal and informal interaction between journalists and their sources2019In: Close and Distant: Political Executive–Media Relations in Four Countries / [ed] Karl Magnus Johansson & Gunnar Nygren, Gothenburg: Nordicom, 2019, p. 175-195Chapter in book (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    This chapter sets out to answer a number of questions concerning the relationship between media and political executives in political communication, centring on how the exchange and power balance between journalists and their political sources differ depending on whether the interaction is formal or informal. The results are based on 43 qualitative interviews with journalists who cover national politics and governmental press advisors in Lithuania and Sweden. The findings indicate that formal interaction is advantageous for professional sources in agenda-based news. In non-agenda news and in times of political conflict, journalists as well as some political sources prefer informal interaction. While top political leaders and their press advisors are most often isolated from informal interactions, other political sources might gain from communicating informally. Finally, the results show that media–source exchange in informal relationships reaches beyond “information in exchange for publicity” and that informal relationships allow participants to step outside their traditional professional roles.

  • 14.
    Malling, Milda
    Södertörn University, School of Social Sciences, Journalism.
    Reconstructing the Informal and Invisible: Interactions Between Journalists and Political Sources in Two Countries2023In: Journalism Practice, ISSN 1751-2786, E-ISSN 1751-2794, Vol. 17, no 4, p. 683-703Article in journal (Refereed)
    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.

  • 15.
    Malling, Milda
    Södertörn University, School of Social Sciences, Journalism. Mid Sweden University, Sweden.
    Sources that Trigger the News: Multiplexity of Social Ties in News Discovery2021In: Journalism Studies, ISSN 1461-670X, E-ISSN 1469-9699, Vol. 22, no 10, p. 1298-1316Article in journal (Refereed)
    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.

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  • 16.
    Nygren, Gunnar
    et al.
    Södertörn University, School of Social Sciences, Journalism.
    Niemikari, Risto
    Tampere University, Finland.
    Media logics as parts of the political toolkit: A critical discussion on theories of mediatisation of politics2019In: Close and Distant: Political Executive–Media Relations in Four Countries / [ed] Karl Magnus Johansson & Gunnar Nygren, Gothenburg: Nordicom, 2019, p. 197-220Chapter in book (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    In research on mediatisation, the political system is often described as a victim of media logics. According to this theory, the logics of politics are overruled by media logics, and the political institutions become dependent on the media. This chapter questions this dichotomy between the two logics and asks to what extent media logics are used by political actors to achieve political goals. Based on the results from interviews in four countries, the relationship between politics and the media is discussed from both perspectives. The chapter also discusses different logics and functions of the media and describes a complex picture of interdependency and mutual interests. It concludes that new types of political instrumentalisation of the media are developed in the close relationship between the news media and their sources in government.

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