Jobb(iga) nyheter : Om dagstidningars bevakning av arbetsmiljöfrågor
Abstract (Summary)In the beginning of this millennium the increasing level of work related illness was de-scribed, in the public debate, as one of the most serious and costly social problems of our times. An important question in the present study is whether or not the newspapers contributed to make their readers, the politicians and other social actors aware of this vast and growing problem.Thus, the main purpose was to find out the extent of the news media coverage on occupational health/ill-health in Swedish newspapers in the end of the 1990s, and the ways in which the topic was framed. Furthermore the intent was to produce a better and deeper understanding of the factors influencing the coverage.Theoretically the study draws on framing theory. Framing here refers to the process through which complex issues are reduced to journalistically manageable dimensions in the construction of news stories, resulting in a text, a news story that presents and high-lights some aspects and perspectives of the perceived reality but not others.A combination of research methods was used - A content and frame analysis of six months of occupational health coverage in seven newspapers; an interview study with journalists and their scientific sources about the news production; a one week’s news-room study aimed at observing the everyday production of news; and finally, a short email survey directed to the editorial staff at the examined news papers, with the purpose to get some indication on how the coverage of occupational health was organised and prioritized at the different newspapers.In the empirical analysis the newspapers´ picturing of occupational health/ill-health was compared with picture emerging from official statistics on occupational sickness and injury. In many respects a deviation was found between the two. Furthermore, simi-larities and differences in content between different newspapers, between different news sections and between news stories written by journalists of different sex, were examined.A key finding is that the Swedish newspapers did not draw their readers’ attention to the extensive and growing problem at the places of work. A majority of the stories related to occupational health/ill-health were episodic, and treated the issues as isolated and random events rather than predictable and preventable problems, although there were also more thematic articles written during special circumstances. The results indicate that a primary cause of the topics low priority in the newspapers was that the coverage of occupational health/ill-health had not been integrated into the journalistic routines.
Source Type:Master's Thesis
Date of Publication:11/18/2005