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FSD2504 Media and Power 2009
Kunelius, Risto (University of Tampere. Department of Journalism and Mass Communication)
Nopari, Elina (University of Tampere. Department of Journalism and Mass Communication)
Reunanen, Esa (University of Tampere. Department of Journalism and Mass Communication)
Keywords: administration, authority, decision making, journalism, mass media, political power, politics, private voluntary organizations, research workers, social systems, trust
The study charted the relationship between the media and political decision-making in Finland. Representatives of the Finnish decision-making system answered questions focusing on themes such as the use of power in the Finnish society, media use, cooperation between decision-makers and journalists, influence of the media on decision-making, and journalism and political publicity.
The data are part of "Media as a Holder and a Vehicle of Power" research project. The aim of this survey was to test the findings derived from the interviews conducted by the project with a larger sample and to complement some of the themes and interpretations that emerged during the interviews.
First, the respondents' status, gender, and age group were queried. Next, their views on power in Finnish society were charted by presenting them with a set of attitudinal statements. The respondents also evaluated to what extent their influence or authority was based on official position, the financial resources of the organisation, expertise, connections, and visibility in the media. In addition, they evaluated the changes in the influence or authority of various public actors (e.g. trade unions, Parliament, the European Union, police, civic organisations) in the past twenty years.
The respondents' media use was canvassed by asking how often they follow various media. They were also asked whether co-operation with journalists had increased, whether they received information from journalists, and whether they had conducted any confidential background discussions with journalists about how they should react to an issue at hand. The respondents evaluated the frequency of their performances in various media. Further questions charted the respondents' external communication and media strategies. They were asked for example whether they had been able to bring the desired points of view into public, whether their organisation influenced through direct contacts with decision-makers or through the media, whether they experienced appearing in entertainment publicity as beneficial, and whether they avoided publishing objectives or opinions related to unfinished issues.
The influence of the media on the respondents' and others' decision-making was investigated by asking them to give their opinions on a set of statements on the topic. The respondents' views were also probed on journalism and political publicity. They were asked, for instance, whether they experienced factual journalism was tabloidising, whether they felt journalism avoided issues unpleasant to decision-makers, and whether journalism stimulated diversified public discussion. Finally, the respondents were asked whether journalism mostly reflected the attitudes and values of citizens, decision-makers, or journalists.
Background variables included the respondent's age group, status, and gender.