The Crisis of Cultural Journalism Revisited. the Place and Space of Culture in Five European Newspapers from 1960 to 2010

Monday, 11 July 2016: 09:00
Location: Hörsaal 30 (Main Building)
Oral Presentation
Riie HEIKKILA, University of Helsinki, Finland
Tina LAURONEN, University of Helsinki, Finland
Semi PURHONEN, University of Tampere, Finland
Newspapers can be considered key institutions in producing, legitimizing and disseminating cultural classifications and aesthetical standards. A central part of cultural classifications takes place in the cultural sections: cultural journalists and critics are both gatekeepers and tastemakers, defining what counts as valuable culture and good taste. We will draw on newspaper data from the cultural sections of nationally leading newspapers from five European countries – ABC/El País (Spain), Dagens Nyheter (Sweden), Helsingin Sanomat (Finland), Le Monde (France) and The Guardian (UK) from time points of ten-year intervals between 1960 and 2010 to see how the structures of the newspapers examined change over time and in different socio-historical contexts, especially in regard to culture. Our data consists of full editions of newspapers (n=585) and individual articles on culture (n=11,775). We ask 1) what the place of the cultural section has been in relation to the other areas covered by the newspapers and 2) how culture has been discussed in a formal or structural sense – are there signs of the alleged and much-discussed crisis of cultural journalism in terms of shorter articles, more popularized content and more news compared to reviews? This paper departs from the expectation that the structure of newspapers reflects at least to some extent the structure of the surrounding society – and that the space and place given to culture to reveals a great deal about the role of it.