Associate Professor and Director of Studies for Journalism with an international research and teaching background and previous journalism experience. B. Sc in Social Work from Stockholm University, Ph. D. (Media and Communication Studies), M. F. A. (English / Nonfiction Writing) and M. A. (Journalism) from the University of Iowa (USA), with previous appointments at the University of Iowa, Mid Sweden University and Uppsala University. My research interests--with visual communication and in particular photography as a near-constant focus—include the politics of representation; questions of power, credibility and agency in visual media practices; and visual journalism and journalism in various historical and current contexts. These interests were explored in my dissertation, where I examined photographs as counter-hegemonic interventions in post-authoritarian Spain of the 1970s. My recent research, since returning to Sweden, in 2010, after several years in the United States, focuses primarily on visual journalism in today's changing media landscape. Thus, I took initative to the first major study to chart the changing news photograph in Swedish newspapers in a period of paradigmatic shifts in the journalistic field, "Nyhetsbilden i förändring: En studie i bildjournalistikens utveckling och förutsättningar 1995-2015," which received funding from the Anders Foundation for Media Research. The study, conducted in collaboration with professor Ingela Wadbring and housed at DEMICOM research center of Mid Sweden University, encompassed content analyses, including a study of the rate of amateur photographs published in the regular news flow, as well as newsroom studies and a survey of audiences’ opinions of news photographs. This three-year study has laid the foundation for my current work which focuses on editorial processes and cultural perspectives on journalism, and affect in connection with images circulating in news and social media. My work has appeared in various international journals and conferences.

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Research Interests

My research is concerned with questions regarding professional roles within the field of journalism, the notion of visual expertise, the function of visual imagery in journalism, ethics in visual representation and the publication of imagery, innovative forms of storytelling, and credibility and truth claims in journalistic and visual documentary practices more broadly.

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Pågående forskning

My current work includes a newsroom study addressing visual gatekeeping and professional roles in editorial processes concerning images; and an ongoing study focusing on news organizations’ ethical deliberations for publishing eyewitness imagery of crises. Specifically, in one study, I am analyzing editorial processes and published imagery in the news coverage of the terror attack in Stockholm in April of 2017. Another area of interest is the retrospective circulation of imagery of prominent news events. This project, in its initial phase, takes a cultural perspective on journalism, and explores specific contexts for image circulation and discourses surrounding remembering and forgetting as those processes relate to photographs.

I currently chair a temporary working group, “Visual Communication and Culture,” of the biannual NordMedia conference, a reflection of my interest in cultural perspectives on journalism and visual media practices more broadly. Other recent collaborations include a Nordicom Review special issue, “Photojournalism and Editorial Processes” that I co-edited with colleagues from Norway and Finland, and which collects international research on the changing professional roles and editorial processes with a focus on photojournalism.

Recent publications: Nilsson, Maria (2017). A Faster Kind of Photojournalism?: Image-Selection. Processes in a Swedish Newsroom. Nordicom Review 38, special issue 2, 41-55.

Nilsson, Maria & Wadbring, Ingela (2017). Not Good Enough?: Amateur Images in the Regular News Flow of Print and Online Newspapers. In Stuart Allan (Ed.), Photojournalism and Citizen Journalism: Co-operation, Collaboration and Connectivity. Abingdon-on-Thames and New York: Routledge, 30-47.

Gynnild, Astrid, Nilsson, Maria, Simonsen, Anne Hege & Weslius, Hanna (2017). Introduction: Photojournalism and Editorial Processes. Global Similiarities, Local Differences. Nordicom Review 38, special issue 2, 1-5.

Wadbring, Ingela & Nilsson, Maria (2016). En bild säger mer än tusen ord? Bildjournalistikens förändring i svensk dagspress 1995-2013. Sundsvall: Demicom Research Center. Research report series issue #30, May 2016.

Nilsson, Maria & Wadbring, Ingela (2015). Not Good Enough?: Amateur Images in the Regular News Flow of Print and Online Newspapers. Journalism Practice 9(4), 484-501.

Nilsson, Maria (2015). Bildjournalistik. Handbok i journalistikforsking. Michael Karlsson & Jesper Strömbäck (Eds.). Lund: Studentlitteratur, 283-297.

Wadbring, Ingela & Nilsson, Maria (2015). Människor tycker om bilder. SOM-rapport nr 63. Göteborg: SOM-institutet, 451-462.

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