Public service and commercial television news in Sweden : ideas and influences

Christensen, Christian, 1969-
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This research will illuminate how regional, organizational, and economic pressures impact organizational definitions of terms such as “public service” and “competition,” as well as the day-to-day work of gathering news. In the field of media studies, public service broadcasting is often posited as being inherently different from commercial broadcasting. Some scholars, however, have taken the opposite position: that public service and commercial entities operate in strikingly similar ways (in terms of organization, management strategy, and output). In order to address the issue in a meaningful way, a multi-faceted research approach is required. In addition to the well-established method of analyzing content, examining how employees of media organizations actually define terms such as “public service,” “commercial” and “competition,” and the degree to which such vii definitions are reflected in workplace activities, are needed to clarify what it means to be a “public service” or “commercial” organization. Using theories taken from political economy, the public sphere, and globalization, this study attempts to discover: (1) how news professionals within national and regional news divisions of both Swedish Television (public service) and TV4 (commercial) define the terms “public service”; (2) how managers and journalists within national and regional news divisions of both Swedish Television and TV4 define and enact the realities of competition; (3) the extent to which regionalism influences news work; and, (4) how resource availabilities influence news work. Through addressing these questions, this study will offer a more multi-faceted view of the differences between public and private television news organizations in Sweden. Also, the work will expand upon the more economic-determinist, nation-specific and region-specific theories surrounding public service, media/news content and news organizations.