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Television Journalism, Politics

& Entertainment Power and
Autonomy in the Field of
Television Journalism
Impact Factor: 0.22 DOI: 10.1177/1527476414525671




Gran Bolin
Sdertrn University

Available from: Gran Bolin

Retrieved on: 31 January 2016

& New Media

Television Journalism, Politics, and Entertainment: Power and Autonomy

in the Field of Television Journalism
Gran Bolin
Television New Media 2014 15: 336 originally published online 13 March 2014
DOI: 10.1177/1527476414525671
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TVNXXX10.1177/1527476414525671Television & New MediaBolin

Special Section: Swedish Media

Television Journalism,
Politics, and Entertainment:
Power and Autonomy in the
Field of Television Journalism

Television & New Media

2014, Vol. 15(4) 336349
The Author(s) 2014
Reprints and permissions:
DOI: 10.1177/1527476414525671

Gran Bolin1

This article discusses two trends in the debates about contemporary television
journalism. First, journalism is said to be increasingly subsumed an economic logic,
privileging entertainment before serious journalistic practices. Most often, this
is framed as if entertainment is eating its way into serious journalism, affecting it
negatively and thus being detrimental for the political public sphere and political
reasoning. Second, it is often pointed to a changed relation between journalism and
politicians, where the latter have lost some of their power, for example, in political
debates. This article relates these two trends and argues, against a field model inspired
by Bourdieu, that it is not entertainment that is eating its way into journalism, but the
other way around: Rather than having been absorbed by entertainment, journalism
has differentiated, become more autonomous as a subfield of cultural production, and
has gradually come to dominate both factual and entertainment television.
entertainment, journalism, politics, politicians, television, field analysis

Two trends have been present in public discourse and academic accounts on the transformations of European television in recent decades. The first of these holds that the
commercialization and marketization of television have led to the triumph of entertainment over news and journalism, resulting in new genres such as infotainment,

University, Stockholm, Sweden

Corresponding Author:
Gran Bolin, Department of Media and Communication Studies, Sdertrn University, Stockholm, S-141
89 Huddinge, Sweden.
Email: goran.bolin@sh.se

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edutainment, and other mixes. The evaluation has for the most part been negative and
has produced what Kees Brants (1998) has labeled a critical infotainment scare discourse. In this discourse, journalism is said to have been driven out of competition by
entertainment and other fictional programs that do not truly preserve the political public
sphere and the enhancement of public knowledge that has marked the traditional public
service broadcasters (e.g., McNair 2000, 4). The second of these trends holds that this
is especially harmful for the relationship between journalists and politicians, as politics
and political discourse have been drawn into the entertainment logic of television.
Indeed, in his Rich Media, Poor Democracy, Robert McChesney (1999, 2) has argued
that this trend is a poison pill for democracy. For want of a better term, we could call
this the commercialization thesis; the thesis asserting that, at the bottom line, commercial financing and profit motifs steered by market demands of the media are to
blame for the changing forms of radio and television, and for the increase in entertainment forms in all sorts of areas, including political debate. This argument is often found
in accounts from political scientists or political economists and their associates within
media and communication studies, exemplified here by Jay Blumler (1999, 241f), commenting on the increased spread of infotainment and its consequences for public
The upsurge of new-found infotainment springs from systemic impulses: the exigencies
of increased competition in multi-channel conditions; the exigencies of tighter media
finance, requiring news and current affairs producers to show that they can earn their
keep; and the tendency for many citizens to approach politics more like consumers
(instrumental, oriented to immediate gratifications and potentially fickle) than believers.

In his article, published as a reply to Kees Brants (1998) earlier attack on Blumler
and others for contributing to the infotainment scare, Blumler rightly points out that
whether or not infotainment is harmful for public and democratic engagement is ultimately an empirical question, and that claims from either side in the debate should be
backed up with scientific evidence. Nonetheless, the commercialization thesis is
rehashed over and over again, often not only as a general background to a more
detailed analysis (see, for example, Wieten and Pantti 2005, 21, and the introduction
in de Bens 2007) but also as a central part of the discussion on the relationship between
commercialization and serious media production: Swedish examples would include
Jnsson and Strmbck (2007); British examples, Blumler and Gurevitch (1995);
French accounts include Bourdieu ([1996] 1998); and from the wealth of U.S. critique,
one could single out researchers such as McManus (1994), Hamilton (2004), and the
already mentioned McChesney (1999).
Naturally, there are many national differences that make comparisons between the
above accounts difficult. Most scholars are also careful to state that they do not per se
regard infotainment as intrinsically bad. Some (e.g., Riegert 2007; van Zoonen 2005)
also argue in defense of its positive democratic functioning. However, despite this
disclaimer, the way the relationship is described often reveals a supposed direction of
influence from entertainment to news and information. For example, when Lance

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Television & New Media 15(4)

Bennett (2005) refers to the media logic theory of Altheide and Snow (1991), he
describes it as the diffusion of entertainment formats in news and political communication (Bennett 2005, 175). This indicates that the active component is entertainment
and the passive receiver is news. Indeed, Altheide and Snow argue that we are now in
the postjournalism era, that journalism is dead as it has become suppressed by the
media logic, and that journalism will not be reborn until information formats are
recognized, evaluated, and altered with journalistic criteria in mind (Altheide and
Snow 1991, xxi). My argument would be the opposite: we are far from having left
journalism behind; it is more accurate to claim that we are living in the hyperjournalism era, marked by a diversified journalistic institution with a high degree of
There is, of course, a great deal of truth in the arguments citing increased economic
pressure on media production; in the European context, the television landscape has
indeed become commercialized in the sense that the previously very dominant public
service broadcasters met with strong commercial competition in the mid-1980s (with
national variations, of course). So there is no denying that there has been a clear shift
within television production in general (including television journalism), with economic power having gradually become more important than political power for the
production processes in all fields of cultural production, including television production. However, it is also true that the ways this has affected television production are
more complex than what is usually accounted for. This article aims to account for such
a complexity, and my argument is that the influence is mainly cultural rather than economic (although the economy adds to the cultural impact). As I will show in greater
detail, it must be recognized that the shift toward commercialization actually happened long before the advent of commercial television journalism. This is true at least
for the situation in Sweden and Scandinavia; I will leave open for the moment the
extent to which it also holds for other nations, but it is my suspicion that there are similarities in how the fields of culture, politics, and economy are related to one another. I
want to stress, then, that I am taking my departure from the situation in Sweden, as this
is the area where I can claim expertise and knowledge. I do, however, believe my arguments could be applied to other national situations: certainly the Nordic countries, but
many other European countries as well, share the characteristics I will highlight as
important for my argument.
My ambition is thus not to prove Blumler, McChesney, or any of the other mentioned authors wrong. What I would like to do is suggest an alternative explanation, or
at least a weighting of the balance between factors of the economy and other factors
affecting the relationship between journalism, entertainment and politicians (as well as
politics more generally), and how these relations have changed over the past century.
While taking my departure in the widespread notion of infotainment as the process by
which commercial logics seek their ways into serious political journalism, I will argue
that this doxic belief is wrong. In fact, I will claim that it is more fruitful to think of
this the other way aroundin terms of how journalism is affecting entertainment as a
consequence of the fact that the field of journalism (in the Bourdieuan sense) as a
specific subfield of cultural production has grown more autonomous, and has come to

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be differentiated into several different kinds of journalism. My point is that the journalistic doxa follows with this specific form of cultural impact. An overly economically deterministic view on the causes of the changes in television journalism will thus
obscure other perspectives that might in a much better way illuminate factors other
than the economy.
In the following, I will give a historical account and analysis of the situation in
Sweden over the past century, to show that the commercialization thesis is inadequate
for explaining the changes within the media, especially the relationship between television journalism and politics. My analysis is based on the field theory by Pierre
Bourdieu (1993, [1992] 1996), and I will especially emphasize the concept of field
autonomy, that is, the autonomy to shape the rules of the gamein this case, the
rules for conducting journalism, to set its standards and define what good journalism
is.1 I will do so by focusing on three important aspects of the growing autonomy of the
subfield of journalism (as a subfield of the wider field of cultural production): the
changes in recruiting practices in Swedish television, the changes in journalistic methods, and the journalistic institutionalization process. As a final point, I will summarize
my argument in a number of conclusive theses.

Why Not the Commercialization Thesis?

As elsewhere in the world, journalism in Sweden first developed within the press, then
expanded into radio and subsequently television. In the early 1900s, the press in
Sweden, as well as in the other Nordic countries, had strong political ties. There was a
party press situation whereby many newspapers were tied to, run by or dependent on
political parties. The media, then, were heavily dependent on the political field of
power, and this was especially the case with the press connected to the workers movements, the Social Democrat and Communist parties. When the Social Democrats came
into political power, this also meant that some parts of the journalistic field developed
strong ties to the state, a situation that has been described by Jan Ekecrantz (2005, 99)
as a shift by which the early dependence on the political party turned into a dependence on the state, later replaced by the market. Dependence is, of course, the opposite of autonomy. Production within a subfield of low autonomy means producing in
response to external demand (Champagne [1995] 2005, 55). Reversely, production
within a field with high degrees of autonomy (no field, it should be noted, is entirely
autonomous) means that there is little external influence on production. Journalistic
autonomy is thus not autonomy from constraints upon the individual journalist, as
has been mistakenly argued by Michael Schudson (2005). In fact, a field of strong
autonomy has a logic that does not provide for much individual freedom to act in any
of the ways the individual agent choosesat least not with success. But the impositions are made from within the field, rather than through external pressure.
However, the dependence on political parties, or the state, did not mean that newspapers and journalists were not dependent on the economic field of power in society.
First, not all newspapers were financed through political parties, and second, those that
were also had substantial income from other sources, some of them commercial (e.g.,

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Television & New Media 15(4)

advertising; Gustafsson 2009). So, already, this situation indicates the multiple influences active in journalism production.
This changed a bit toward the end of the 1980s and the early 1990s when the party
press gradually lost ground, and newspapers were taken over by commercial companies (often large, transnational media houses such as Schibsted). This coincided with
the general shift within television production, whereby the public service organizations faced commercial competitors. The commercialization of Swedish mass media,
in the meaning of there being a larger proportion of companies run mainly on commercial principles, thus happened at around the same time.
The problem then is that journalisms and journalists relations to politicians on
television as well as in the press changed long before this. In the next section, I will
support this argument with national (Swedish) as well as some international examples
of the growing field autonomy that ultimately affects the previous power relations
between the fields of politics and journalistic production. I will focus on three distinct
features on the road to autonomy, which occur around the same time shortly after the
Second World War. The first feature is the introduction of the interview as the main
journalistic method. Second, this coincides with changed recruiting policies among
the Swedish broadcasters. Third, journalism training is institutionalized in journalism

Changed Journalistic Methods

One indication of a change in the relationship between journalists and politicians
occurs with the introduction of the interview as a new journalistic technique. As
Michael Schudson has shown, this occurred in the United States at the turn of the last
century, if not before (Schudson 1994, cf. Hallin 2005). Although the method can be
observed as early as the 1880s, in Sweden, the breakthrough of the interview as a journalistic method did not occur until the 1950s (Ekstrm 2007, 24). The interview transformed the journalist from someone who relayed facts (telegrams, etc.) sent to the
editorial office to the general readership, to the one actually producing facts by actively
seeking news. This included actively approaching, for example, politicians for interviews (Ekecrantz and Olsson 1994, 19). Following from this, politicians could no
longer set the agenda for their own mediated appearances.
An important consequence of this change in methods was that journalists became
more active before elections (Esaiasson and Hkansson 2013). Prior to the mid-1960s,
political debates on radio and television before elections were run by the politicians
themselves. It was thus an internal matter for the political field of power whereby the
actorsthat is, the politiciansused radio and television as arenas for their own agendas. Although debates among politicians were often moderated by a studio host, these
hosts never intervened in the debate with critical remarks or suggestions but kept their
role to distributing the allotted time for each participant, as Henrik rnebring (2001,
89158) has shown in detail (see also rnebring 2003, 510).2 In 1966, journalists took
over the initiative and introduced the form of interviewing each of the party leaders.
This was also self-consciously perceived as a moving forward of their positioning in

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relation to the politicians, in the words of one of the major journalists in these debates,
Lars Orup (quoted in Esaiasson and Hkansson 2002, 101). Orup conducted the interviews together with his colleagues Gustaf Olivecrona and ke Ortmark, and the power
relation between the three sinister journalists facing the single politician is quite evident just from the appearance in the studio, as can be seen in clips on both Swedish
Televisions (SVT) own web pages and YouTube.
The asymmetric power relations are clearly noticeable in, for example, the broadcast interview with C. H. Hermansson, leader of the Communist Party, before the 1968
elections.3 Not only are the journalists shot from a lowly placed camera, slightly below
eye level, which makes them look down on the interviewed subject, who is accordingly shot slightly, barely noticeably, from above, seemingly looking up at his interviewers. The fact that Hermansson constantly has to move his eyes between three
persons, rather than being able to firmly focus his gaze on one person, also constructs
him as insecure.
Although the position of journalists in relation to politicians became altered in
favor of the journalists, the tone of questioning was still quite polite, and it was not
until the 1970s that a shift in tone could be observed, when the tempo of the programs
was speeded up, and the degree to which journalists interrupted politicians increased
dramatically. Previously, politicians were allowed to finish their lines of thought,
andin the words of Henrik rnebring, who has conducted a content analysis of the
periodthe tone in these as well as other debate programs was formal, polite and
courteous (rnebring 2003, 510). In the mid-1970s, this changed, however, and journalists became more active in their style of questioning. As Peter Esaiasson and
Nicklas Hkansson (2002, 121f) have shown in a linguistic analysis of turn-taking in
these rounds of questioning, it was three times more common for journalists to interrupt politicians in 1976 compared with six years earlier. One can thus conclude that the
shift in visual representation of the changed balance slightly preceded the linguistic
domination by the journalists.
However, the above examples are not taken from entertainment settings but rather
from what could be called serious political journalism in current affairs genres.
Politicians first appeared in television entertainment in Sweden already in 1962, when
then-Prime Minister Tage Erlander appeared on the famous Swedish Saturday night
entertainment show Hylands hrna (cf. Sjgren 1997).4 It thus slightly precedes the
changes in journalistic methods within television production described above.
Hylands great influence as a program host, the legendary U.S. talk show host of The
Tonight Show, Jack Paar, actually did the same thing a year later (March 8, 1963) with
Richard Nixon, with Nixon playing the piano and showing the audience a more humorous side of himself (McLuhan [1964] 1967, 297).5
At the occasion, Erlander accommodated himself to the situation by telling a joke,
which has since set the standard for how to behave on entertainment television programs for politicians. Peter Dahlgren has suggested that politicians have willingly
entered these entertainment settings as a response to the shrinking sound bites they
are allotted on the news programs (Dahlgren 1995, 56). Indeed, politicians usually
get more uninterrupted time to lay out their arguments in the more relaxed

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Television & New Media 15(4)

entertainment settings, such as morning television shows (Hjarvard 2001; see also
Bruun 1999). However, the strategyif that was the caseof approaching entertainment interview situations instead of factual news situations seems not always to be so
effective, as politicians can end up in quite awkward situations. A Swedish example of
this is when the male Liberal party leader, in October 2000 on the youth/feminist television program Silikon on the Swedish commercial channel TV3, was asked whether
he shaved his genitals. Similar international examples are easy to find, many of them
accounted for in the special issue of Popular Communication (Baym and Jones 2012)
on news parody and political satire.

Changes in Recruiting Policies

A second factor in the growth of autonomy of the journalistic field in Sweden was
connected to shifts in the recruiting policies within Swedish Radio (SR) in the 1950s.
Before the 1950s, the staff of SR was mainly composed of academics, often with PhD
or Licentiate degrees. In 1945, as many as twenty-five of SRs total thirty-six employees had an academic degree (Engblom 2013, 159), and this was the recruiting principle
that guided SR for many years (Engblom 1998). Beginning in the late 1950s, when
television appeared and the company expanded, the domination of academics diminished, to the benefit of journalists. These were mainly press journalists, such as famous
journalist and entertainment host Lennart Hyland (19191993), an immensely popular
host with a background as a local news reporter in the printed press, then a sports
reporter, then an entertainment host on the radio, and then on television.
As journalists became dominant in television productionand we should keep in
mind that Sweden is a rather small country when it comes to population (which means
that the number of people working in TV production is limited)journalists also
increasingly appeared in entertainment programs. This goes especially not only for
sports journalists but also for major news anchors such as Bengt Magnusson, an anchor
at TV4 (the main commercial channel in Sweden) from the early 1990s to date, and the
first host of the Swedish version of Who Wants to be a Millionaire? broadcast between
2000 and 2003. In the same way as Lennart Hyland, although contrary to many others
who have transgressed the line between news and entertainment production, Bengt
Magnusson is moving back and forth between genres: he is still a major news anchor,
and he is also always the host for the election nights on TV4, where he takes on the
political commentators, statisticians, and politicians (whereas the female host is
assigned to interview other guests and audience members).
The fact that journalists have come to dominate television production in Sweden
has also entailed that they dominate as hosts of entertainment programs, in which politicians for more than forty years have participated to appear in more relaxed settings.
In Sweden, the journalist Gary Engman hosted the live evening show Kvllsppet
(19711976) on which he introduced a mix of journalistic reporting and debate with
entertainment. In the wake of this success, he was invited to Denmark as a consultant
for the production of Kanal 22 (19791982; Bruun 1999, 128; see also Bruun 2006,
235). Thus, it came as no surprise when Peter Jihde, a longtime sports journalist and

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between 2007 and 2010 the host of the Swedish adaptation of Idol (20042011), also
hosted Utfrgningen (The Questioning) for the 2010 elections, whereby the leaders of
the political parties were interviewed for the upcoming election, sometimes even in
slots following one another. This meant that you could watch Jihde interviewing aspiring pop stars before their audition on Idol at 8:00 p.m., and then watch him interviewing the leaders of the main Swedish parties on Utfrgningen at 9:00 p.m.
International examples of this transgression of the boundaries between news and
entertainment are not absent, of course, and include personalities such as Barbara
Walters and Anderson Cooper, and shows like the Today show, in the United States. An
especially interesting example is NBC news journalist Brian Williamss slow-jamming the news on Late Night with Jimmy Fallon, for example, in a video clip commenting on the 2011 Occupy Wall Street movement.6

The Process of Institutionalization

A major feature along the road to journalistic autonomy is naturally the building of
institutions that can consecrate the beliefs by which the field of production can be
reproduced. The road to autonomy through institutionalization in Sweden was long
and the process slow. The first association for journalists, Publicistklubben (the
Publicists Club), was organized in 1874, and Svenska Journalistfreningen (the
Swedish Union of Journalists) was organized already in 1901, with its own internal
journal Journalisten (The Journalist) launched in 1904. Together with Svenska
Tidningsutgivarefreningen (the Swedish Association of Newspaper Publishers),
these two organizations agreed on a media accountability system and formed a selfregulating institution in the Press Council (Pressens Opinionsnmnd) in 1916 (Weibull
and Brjesson 1992, 124ff). Similar press councils were also established in other
Nordic and North European countries (Hallin and Mancini 2004, 172f).
The trend toward growing autonomy was enforced by the institutionalization of
journalism training in Sweden in the 1960s (Ekecrantz and Olsson 1994, 226).
Journalism training started shortly after the Second World War, first on a private basis
in 1947 with the Poppius School of Journalism, and from 1959 in the form of the
Journalism Institute in Stockholm, shortly followed by a similar institute in Gothenburg.
In 1967, these were reorganized as vocational polytechnics, and in 1977, they were
included in the university system. In terms of fields of production, these are institutions for the consecration and production of the fields doxa, and as can be seen in the
short description above, the road to legitimization and institutionalization was quite
short (Petersson 2006, 421ff).
To place this development in an international perspective, we can see that in the
United States, journalism training appeared already in the early 1900s. This was far
ahead of Europe, where journalism training seems to have appeared much later but at
around the same time in several countries. Finland holds a prominent position, starting
journalism training at the University of Tampere in 1943 (Schultz 2005, 178f). Other
Nordic countries were not far behind. In Norway, journalism training within academia
started in the 1950s, a few years after the first courses in journalism were started in

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Television & New Media 15(4)

Denmark in 1946 (Schultz 2005, 181f). In the United Kingdom, journalism training
within academia started in 1970 (Frith and Meech 2007, 138). In Portugal, the first
academic courses in journalism started in 1979 (Correia 2008), although small efforts
had also been made previously, just like in many other countries (Sobreira 2003).
In the comparatively small Nordic nations of Sweden, Finland, Denmark, and
Norway, this has meant that journalism training has been very homogeneous, as it has
been concentrated to only a few schoolssometimes only one. This naturally has had
consequences for the unified doxa produced within the field. As new educational programs in journalism have appeared over the past decade, this has meant increased
differentiation of the field of journalism production, with specific specialized subfields (Schultz 2005, 177; cf. Marchetti [2002] 2005 on a similar differentiation in
France). In Sweden, the growth in journalism training is almost exponential, to the
extent that a 2004 report from the Swedish National Agency for Higher Education
(2004) directs that degree targets be set for // degree courses in economics and
journalism, where a surplus in these two fields is anticipated.7 Although the overproduction of journalists had been going on for a long time, the government did not act
along the lines of the recommendation. Many of those who have graduated from journalism training programs have consequently had to work in other sectors, within or
outside the media, in activities to which they have brought the journalistic doxa.
As most Swedish and international journalists today have formal journalism training, this means that although the journalists enter other areas of media production
(e.g., entertainment), there is a certain amount of similarity in approach over genres.
As Ida Schultz (2005) has shown in a study of highly valued journalistic practices in
the case of Denmark (as revealed in prize motivations for the Cavling Prize), the value
produced through journalism training of what good journalism is has changed from the
ideology of information transference to exposure (e.g., the investigative report,
unveiling some political or social injustice). This value and these practices also put
their mark on the way entertainment journalists act, as has, again in the case of
Denmark, been exemplified in detail by Stig Hjarvard (2001) in relation to morning
So, to summarize this section, I have tried to relate three important points in time to
suggest that the commercialization thesis is inadequate for explaining the shifts within
the media in Sweden. The commercialization of the Swedish broadcasting media
occurred in the 1980s, and if the commercialization thesis had been adequate, changes
would have occurred thereafter. However, this was not the case. First, the changes in
recruiting policies and the following increased presence of (trained) journalists within
the broadcasting media occurred already in the late 1950s. Second, the interview was
introduced in the 1950s as a new journalistic technique, which radically changed the
power balance between journalists and politicians (but, naturally, other people also
confronted the broadcast media)first in the printed press, then on radio and television. Third, and probably equally important, journalism training started in the 1960s,
further establishing the journalistic interview as the major journalistic method, with
journalists taking over the interviews with politicians. And, in small national contexts,
the fact that most journalists are trained at the same few schools has a homogenizing

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effect. As much as journalism training at the time helped to establish journalism as a

subfield of cultural production, the rise of new and more specialized journalism training courses has also entailed a differentiation into subdivisions of the field, bringing
with it the journalistic practices and ideologies into these areas.

The commercialization thesis is a powerful and largely naturalized doxic belief, which
otherwise nuanced and reflexive scholars fall back into at times. As I have tried to
establish above, the commercial forces that are active within the field of cultural production, including television production, need to be placed in relation to other powerful forces, that is, political, educational, and so forth. Even Bourdieu ([1996] 1998), in
his now famous book On Television and Journalism, has fallen into the trap of the
commercialization thesis, underestimating the force of the autonomization process
within the subfield of journalistic production (cf. Benson 2005, 99).
In the above, I have suggested an alternative explanation for the historical unfolding
of the relationship between journalism and other fields of power in society. My empirical example has been the changes in these relations in Sweden. As these relations will
vary between different national settings, this needs to be tested systematically against
other national data. The concluding points I want to make relate to the Swedish situation, but the explanatory model as such should work for other national settings.
From the analysis above, we can learn that the relationship between entertainment
and factual programming and news journalism in Sweden cannot solely be ascribed to
changes in relations between the field of journalism on one hand and that of the economy and politics on the other. It also needs to be placed in relation to the growing
autonomy of the journalistic subfield of cultural production, and the increased internal
differentiation of this field over the past decades, in Sweden as well as elsewhere (cf.
Marchetti [2002] 2005; Schultz 2005).
The growing autonomy of the journalistic field (admittedly later enforced by
changes in its relation to the economy) has meant that journalism has expanded and
diversified, as well as entered and affected entertainment (rather than the other way
around). One could therefore not say that the changing roles between journalists and
politicians, and the changed relations between serious news and entertainment result
from changes in financing, but rather from the growth in the autonomy of the journalistic field. This is very obvious in the Swedish case, as in other European countries,
with a change from strong public service broadcasters to a situation in which they have
faced competition from commercial broadcasters. (The situation in the United States
is naturally different because of the absence of strong public service companies, and it
is therefore problematic to import U.S. theories into European contexts, as is sometimes the case.)
This means that the changes in relations between fields first occurred between the
journalistic subfield and the political field, to the benefit of the former, and then
between journalism and the economic field. One couldand perhaps also should
blame commercial forces within the media industries for many things, but it is very

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Television & New Media 15(4)

hard to blame forces of commercialization for having initiated changes in the premises
for public debate and for the changed roles between journalism and politics. It is rather
the field logic as such that is the explanation for the changing roles between journalists
and politicians, educators or economic potentates. The explanation is largely driven by
the field-specific process of developing good television, as this has been defined by
the consecrating instances of the subfield of cultural production, where the production
of television journalism can be found. With the increased journalistic presence on
television, and the fact that television journalism has differentiated into many different
subforms, we are facing, rather than the death of journalism, the birth of the era of
Thanks to Christian Christensen, Rita Figueiras, Jonathan Gray, Jennifer Holt, and Kristina
Riegert for directing me to some of the non-Swedish examples of transgressions between news
and entertainment and of journalism training.

Declaration of Conflicting Interests

The author declared no potential conflicts of interest with respect to the research, authorship,
and/or publication of this article.

The author received no financial support for the research, authorship, and/or publication of this

1. The theoretical underpinnings of this argument are accounted for in more detail in Bolin
2. As Andrew Crisell ([1997] 2002, 175) has shown, a similar change between politicians and
journalists occurred in the United Kingdom around the same time.
3. The interview with Hermansson before the elections in 1968 can be seen on SVT Play:
clip can also be found at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cpOdzZa4b9c.
4. The whole interview with Erlander can be found on YouTube: http://www.youtube.com/
5. A clip can be found at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HBc1RywVNkA.
6. The clip is accessible at http://www.latenightwithjimmyfallon.com/blogs/2011/10/
7. Summary in English of The Labour Market and Higher Education 2004 (Swedish
National Agency for Higher Education 2004): www.hsv.se/aboutus/publications/
8. Prizes for outstanding journalistic performances were instituted, for example, in the form
of the Swedish prize for investigative journalism (Guldspaden), and in Denmark the
Cavling Prize, the equivalent to the Pulitzer Prize in the United States. Such prizes naturally promote and guide principles for what is to be considered good journalism, and as

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Ida Schultz (2005) has shown, the changing journalistic qualities that have been promoted
by the Cavling Prize in Denmark mirror very well the changing autonomy of the journalistic field. From having been awarded for outstanding journalistic informational efforts
between 1945 and 1964, the prize came to promote agenda-setting efforts between 1965
and 1984, and then to privilege exposure between 1985 and 2004. This is quite in concert with Swedish findings along the route toward journalistic institutionalization (e.g.,
Ekecrantz 1997; Ekecrantz and Olsson 1994; Petersson 2006).

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Author Biography
Gran Bolin is a professor in Media and Communication Studies at Sdertrn University. His
current research is focused on cultural production and consumption in contemporary culture
industries, and the changing relationship between these provoked by digitization and marketization processes. Recent publications include Value and the Media: Cultural Production and
Consumption in Digital Markets (Ashgate, 2011) and the edited volume Cultural Technologies.
The Shaping of Culture in Media and Society (Routledge, 2012).

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