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ARTICLE: Who controls the news?

Digital media have fundamentally changed the public sphere in terms of power and relationships among actors, write Bengt Johansson and Tomas Odén, both of University of Gothenburg. Their new article explores how external sources, such as public authorities, perceive the power relation to the online news media in crisis communication.

The focus is on the digital media environment and the development of online news media and social media as possible factors determining the relationship. Interviews with 26 communication managers, communication staff, and crisis managers at authorities and nationally owned companies were conducted during 2012–2014.

The study reveals that external sources perceive that their ability to disseminate the information flow has increased due to media technology changes. For example, the external website and social media gives authorities the notion that they, to some extent, are in control of the news flow. Despite of this, most public authorities still feel they are heavily dependent on the news media.

The article “Struggling for the Upper Hand: News sources and crisis communication in a digital media environment” was published by Journalism Studies. It is available here.

Picture: 7 by Jessica Fiess-Hill, licence: CC BY 2.0

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