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Exposure of individuals in journalism

The research group Index investigates different forms of individual exposure in journalistic media, developments over time, and values associated with individualism.

Our area of research

Over a decade, journalism has become increasingly individual-oriented. Individual orientation concerns everyone from politicians to athletes and other more or less public persons, but it also affects the role of audiences in news production. At the same time, we see an increasing tendency towards more subjectivity among the journalists themselves. The research group INDEX develops knowledge about this development, in Norway and other countries.

We investigate how developments in society lead to individualization in journalism, how it manifests and how individualization in journalism can affect societal development. An important part of the group's work is to strengthen the basis for a debate with professionals and the public.

INDEX take a historical, current and comparative perspective, and the researchers examine how focus on the individual has influenced how sources are presented, the journalist himself and the relationship with the audience.

The research group is located at Faculty of Social Sciences at OsloMet, and collaborates with Faculty of Health Sciences, among others. INDEX is part of OsloMet’s Booster program for high-potential research groups, which give the group access to additional administrative resources.

Key questions for the research group:

  • In what ways are individuals exposed in the journalistic media?
  • How has the individual's role in journalism, and the values ​​and norms attributed to actors in journalistic stories, changed over time?
  • What changes and tendencies in culture and society has led to, or facilitated, the increased exposure of individuals in journalism?
  • How can journalism shape the perception of the status and of the roles the individual has or should have in society?

Activities and partnerships

INDEX cooperates with researchers from Nordic and European countries. So far, the group has published two anthologies and is working on a third. Our most recent anthology, from 2017, is an international open access release with contributors from several European countries titled  Putting A Face on It. Individual Exposure and Subjectivity in Journalism  (Birgitte Kjos Fonn, Harald Hornmoen, Nathalie Hyde-Clarke, Yngve Benestad Hågvar, 2017) .

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Putting a Face on It  discusses how exposure of individuals and personal experiences today can affect most journalistic themes and subject areas, from politics to sports, and from research journalism to reports on terrorism. The book explores how individuals and subjectivity are exposed in news and feature articles, and in journalism's images, whether it be photographs or caricature, and also analyzes how subjective views are expressed in journalists' dialogue with digital media users.

The book aims to show some of the variation that exists. In addition, the authors want to contribute to the debate on the direction of today's journalism. 

In 2015, the group published its first anthology, Individet i journalistikken (The individual in Journalism), (Hornmoen, Roksvold, Alnæs, 2015). The book is written in Norwegian, and is available online from the publishing house Cappelen Damm.

Currently, the group is working on a third anthology to be published in 2019. Working title is Individualization of Health Issues in Media. Journalistic practices, patient narratives and authorities' strategies .

The group hosts annual seminars where group members develop papers, articles and book chapters for INDEX publications, international conferences and journals. An important goal for INDEX members is to seek external funding for projects, especially from relevant EU programs. We include students in the group's activities, and will continue to do so in the future.

Methodology

INDEX sheds light on its research questions by applying various methods, with special emphasis on narrative analysis, critical discourse analysis, rhetorical analysis, content analysis and analysis of interpretative frameworks (frames). Theoretically, we are working with fields like narratology, discourse theory and political theory, and with phrases such as “personalisation”, journalistic “subjectivity” and “individualisation”.

Relation to education

Results of completed and ongoing research are disseminated at Bachelor courses in journalistic theory and methodology, sports journalism and health journalism, and at the Master courses in literary journalism, science journalism, and media language and discourse. The group's research is also relevant to students of economic journalism and feature journalism.
Works originally written by master students have been further developed and published in the group's anthologies.

Norwegian version

Members