What happens when the number of communicators keep growing while the number of journalists keeps falling and many media are bleeding? Will it affect democracy in the Nordic countries?
Today’s Swedish government minister is on average surrounded by eight to ten so-called policy professionals. They work as communicators or policy advisors and have great influence over which issues are confronted and driven forward, even though they work in silence and with unclear mandates. These are some of the results from a new research report due to be published in the spring of 2015.
Journalists becoming communications advisors, or in particular spin doctors to politicians, often say goodbye to journalism for good. But not always. Three former spin doctors tell us about their return to the media world. They all agree their time ‘on the opposite side of the table’ has made them better journalists.
For the first time ever there is a considerable problem of open unemployment among journalists in Finland. There is also substantial hidden numbers since many are working less than they would like or take on extra non-journalistic work in order to make ends meet.
Investigative journalism and the media’s role in a democracy are the main arguments used by media companies when they ask for special treatment. There is a debate in all the Nordic countries over the media’s framework — should they be exempt from paying VAT and should digital media be subsidised?
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.
The business cluster Íslenski sjávarklasinn or Ocean Cluster in Reykjavik is a cooperation between innovation companies and Iceland’s fisheries which has been running for two years. Foreign visitors are showing great interest. Other countries are very likely to set up similar centres in the future.
Anyone who’s stood frozen-fingered waiting for the Icelandic Strokkur geysir to erupt with its boiling water can imagine what it felt like at Iceland’s Directorate of Labour when unemployment figures started emerging after the 2008 crisis.
Five and a half years after the Icelandic economy collapsed, we now know children were doing better during the crisis than before, even though the opposite had been feared. This is according to the Welfare Watch, a body set up soon after the crisis hit which brought many good forces together to protect Icelanders’ welfare.
A new voluntary equal pay standard is bringing Iceland one step closer to equal pay and cements Iceland’s leadership when it comes to gender equality.
Despite being so heavy hit by the crisis, Icelanders continued construction of the new music house Harpa in Reykjavik - the only building project which kept going during the crisis. And as Iceland is bouncing back, the award-winning building Harpa has become the symbol of Iceland’s economic recovery.
There have been major changes between 1960 and 2010. Sweden has the most emigrants, Norway takes in the most immigrants - not only from other Nordic countries, but from former eastern European countries and other parts of the world too.
The common labour market is the jewel in the Nordic cooperation. It was established as early as 1954, three years before the five first member states of what would become the EU signed the Treaty of Rome.
Early autumn 1954, and Gösta Helsing is 17, one of nine siblings living at home in a small village in Vörå in Swedish-speaking Ostrobothnia. Post-war Finland is poor from paying reparations to Russia and there are few jobs. The small farm cannot sustain all nine siblings. Many neighbours, friends and relatives are moving to Sweden.
Gunnel M Helander came to Sweden with her family aged four in late summer 1954. She now lives in Hanko in Finland’s south-westernmost point and is a retired architect. She feels Nordic: Swedish, Finnish and Ålandish. Her removal van has made many trips between Sweden and Finland.
Per Billington moved from Norway in 1984 to work at Volvo’s research department in Gothenburg for one and a half years. It shaped his entire career. This is where he learned ‘ordning och reda’ — Swedish ‘proper order’ — and he learned to love diesel engines.
This August Norwegian badminton player Erik Rundle has lived in Denmark for longer than he lived in Norway, and he doubts he will ever return for more than holidays and to defend his badminton titles.