Journal Article

Abundance or crisis?: Transformations in the media ecology of Swedish cultural journalism over four decades



The aim of this study is to map and scrutinize developments within Swedish cultural journalism, with a particular focus on transformations in genres, text types and thematic repertoires. Drawing on a constructed week sample from press, television and radio during four decades (1985, 1995, 2005, 2015), we address three aspects of ‘the crisis discourse’ of cultural journalism: (1) the potential decline in cultural coverage due to economic cutbacks and downsized cultural desks; (2) cultural journalism’s perceived ‘quality crisis’ connected to transformations of thematic repertoires; and (3) the alleged decline of cultural expertise related to changes in cultural journalism’s generic structures. The study makes a unique contribution to cultural journalism scholarship by identifying media-specific differences and complementary relationships between media forms, building on media ecology and genre theory. In contrast to the crisis discourse, results show that cultural journalism has expanded significantly through popularization and thematic and generic diversification, but the transformations are different in press, radio and television due to differing role positions in the larger media ecosystem. In addition, some parts of the cultural journalism media ecology appear to be endangered.

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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

Anna Roosvall

Anna Roosvall got her PhD at the department for Journalism, Media and Communication, at Stockholm University in 2005. Her doctoral dissertation was about Swedish foreign news and aspects of nationality, ethnicity and gender. She was a post-doc res... Read more

Andreas Widholm

Andreas Widholm is Associate Professor of journalism in the Department of Media Studies at Stockholm University, Sweden. He received his PhD from the same department in 2011. His research addresses the relationship between media, politics and cult... Read more


Riegert, K., Roosvall, A. and Widholm, A. (2019). Abundance or crisis?: Transformations in the media ecology of Swedish cultural journalism over four decades. Journalism: Theory, Practice & Criticism. Available at: [Accessed 11 Aug. 2022]. doi: