Journal Article

The Difference Culture Makes: Comparing Swedish news and cultural journalism on the 2015 terrorist attacks in Paris

Publication

Abstract

Although terrorist attacks in Europe have increasingly been carried out on cultural targets such as media institutions, concert halls and leisure venues, most research on media and terrorism draws conclusions based on traditional hard news stories rather than on journalism specialising in cultural issues. This study explores the distinctiveness of Swedish cultural journalism by comparing it to news journalism, using the 2015 terror attacks in Paris as a case study. Our content analysis reveals that whereas news journalism is mainly descriptive, focusing on the short-term consequences of terrorism, security frames and political elites and eyewitnesses as sources, cultural journalism is more interpretive, giving a voice first and foremost to “cultural elites”. The “cultural filter” put on this event means a focus on the longer term implications of terrorism and instead of engaging in the hunt for the perpetrators, there is greater emphasis on the societal dilemmas that terrorism accentuates, especially the democratic values that are at stake. However, our results also show that the ongoing “journalistification” of cultural journalism, as defined by a stronger prevalence of descriptive style, blurs the lines between news and cultural journalism.

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About the Authors

Kristina Riegert

Kristina Riegert is Professor in Media & Communication Studies, having held a position as Lecturer in Journalism and a PhD in Political Science. Read more

Andreas Widholm

Andreas Widholm is Associate Professor of journalism in the Department of Media Studies (IMS) at Stockholm University, Sweden. His research addresses the relationship between media, politics and culture with a particular focus on journalism and so... Read more

Reference

Riegert, K. and Widholm, A. (2019). The Difference Culture Makes: Comparing Swedish news and cultural journalism on the 2015 terrorist attacks in Paris. Nordicom Review, 40(2), pp. 3-18. Available at: https://content.sciendo.com/view/journals/nor/40/2/article-p3.xml [Accessed 7 Dec. 2019]. doi: https://doi.org/10.2478/nor-2019-0009.