Media in crisis - a challenge for democracy?

What happens when the number of communicators keeps growing, while the number of journalists falls and more and more people read news on social media? The Nordic Labour Journal has created its own analysis which explains what is happening. New Swedish research shows that policy professionals, communicators and advisors enjoy great political influence. They often see themselves as better politicians than the elected representatives, who are under pressure from a growing number of media. A report from Norway’s Work Research Institute shows how an editorial office’s work environment influences creativity and the quality of journalism. In Finland cuts in the media have led to a renewed debate over whether the Union of Journalists should accept communicators as members. In Denmark journalists and spin doctors are swapping jobs.

Sep 12, 2014 | Photo: Cata Portin

Sylvia Bjon, union representative at Hufvudstadsbladet HBL in Helsinki, is worried about the future. Resources are taken away from the printed paper and 30 journalist jobs must go (above).



Latest news
Researchers: Employment has become more important than job content (Sep 10, 2014) Working life has been on the agenda during the Swedish general election campaign, and especially unemployment. More jobs are needed. Yet visions for the content of those jobs have not figured politically — an inconsistency highlighted by a group of researchers at a recent meeting in Stockholm.
OECD: Wage cuts will not create jobs (Sep 03, 2014) Industrialised countries have reached the limit for how much wages can be cut. Since the start of the economic crisis, wages have fallen in real terms for half of all employees in OECD countries. Further cuts could be counter-productive and damage growth.
The Nordic model: From Reykjavik to Paris (Jun 17, 2014) “The Nordic countries need to stay on course. They will be an example to other countries, a reference point, particularly when it comes to the harmony between growth and really good social standards,” says Christian Kastrop, newly appointed Director for the Policy Studies Branch at the OECD’s economy department.
Conflict over part time labour stops Swedish trains (Jun 17, 2014) A train strike in southern Sweden has put renewed focus on how competition for public contracts affects the rights of the contractors’ employees, and to which extent the procuring authority can interfere in their working and employment conditions.
Iceland initiates a Nordic welfare watch (Jun 17, 2014) As part as its presidency of the Nordic Council of Ministers, Iceland has initiated a research project to look into the possibilities and interest for creating a Nordic welfare watch. Researchers in the Nordic countries will work together until 2016 to map how economic crisis influence welfare and how it can be made sustainable also during bad times.
All news
Recent articles
Editorial: Society’s watchdog in danger? (Sep 12, 2014) Comments When journalists and spin doctors swap jobs, should we worry? If professional advisors and communications workers have more influence than politicians, is it a risk to democracy? When journalism becomes a victim to cuts, what happens to quality? And when there are two communicators for each journalist, what happens to society’s watchdog?
Feminists, but also masculinists (Sep 12, 2014) Insight The Nordic region has cooperated on gender equality for 40 years. It has been of great importance for equality’s progress and has improved the lives of Nordic citizens, said Eygló Harðardóttir, Iceland’s Minister of Equality during the anniversary celebrations in Iceland on 26 August. Where is the debate today? Is there a need for a new equality narrative?
The Faroe Islands’ future must be more than fish (Sep 12, 2014) Insight What will the Faroese live off when there is no more fish? Is the answer oil or tourism? The important thing is to create jobs for women in the archipelago which is more patriarchal than other parts of the Nordic region.
Mikael Sjöberg: rebuilding trust in the Public Employment Service (Sep 11, 2014) Portrait Mikael Sjöberg again leads one of Sweden’s most important working life institutions. On 17 March the Reinfeldt government appointed him Director-General for the Swedish Public Employment Service. He came from the post of Director-General for the Swedish Work Environment Authority, and before that he led the National Institute for Working Life. His challenge now is to build trust in the Public Employment Service, which has come in for a lot of criticism.
Editorial: Look to Iceland (Jun 17, 2014) Comments “Look how well the Icelanders have recovered from the crisis, “ says Christian Kastrop, Director at the OECD. And we will; our theme this time is Iceland’s transformation since the crisis hit in 2008. We also follow the report on the Nordic model, first launched in Reykjavik, to the OECD’s Paris headquarters.
Stine Bosse: Keep the Nordic region a sweet spot (Jun 17, 2014) Portrait The Nordic region is a privileged sweet spot, and should remain one. But it means fully embracing the EU says Danish Stine Bosse, named one of the world’s most powerful businesswomen many times over.
All articles
Mikael Sjöberg front page Mikael Sjöberg: How we will restore trust

“The Swedish Public Employment Service has long suffered from a lack of public trust, says Mikael Sjöberg, the Director-General for the Swedish Public Employment Service and in a portrait interview to the Nordic Labour Journal he provides the recipe for how to regain that trust: 

"What’s important now is that we really get an idea of how conflicts arise and what creates conflicts and a lack of trust. We need to highlight the situations where jobseekers are disappointed with us, or when a person feels we’re not doing our job in a satisfactory manner. To do this we need to dive deep into this issue in order to hit the target with our improvements," says Mikael Sjöberg

"Earlier the Public Employment Service has tried to ask: were are we failing? This proves that there has been a lack of analysis of where the problems lie. You need to ask the customers, you need to ask the jobseekers and employers, not only yourself.”

Read more:

Per cent of workforce -
link to source:

Denmark 6.6 - July

Finland 7.0 - July

Norway 3.3 - June

Iceland 3.3 - July

Sweden 7.9 - July

OECD 7.4 - July


Some earlier themes:
Celebrating 60 years with a borderless labour market Celebrating 60 years with a borderless labour market
Read more: