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Defining crisis news events
Stockholm University, Faculty of Humanities, Department of Journalism, Media and Communication (JMK).
2010 (English)In: Nordicom Review, ISSN 1403-1108, Vol. 31, no 1, 87-101 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Research on news organizations’ handling of ‘what-a-story’s proposes that journalists findroutines for handling these events based on their previous experiences of similar situations.Still, conceptual discussions on how to define extraordinary events or ’what-a-story’s havethus far attracted limited interest. In response, the present article proposes a definition of‘what-a-story’s in order to provide an understanding of what events become a part of newsorganizations’ historical case banks. Accordingly, the aim of the article is to present a definitionof crisis news events from an organizational perspective, which can help distinguishcritical news events of importance to news organizations’ learning and preparedness. Thearticle argues that crisis news are to be understood as surprise events that challenge keyorganizational values and demand a swift response. Based on interviews with Swedishbroadcasting media managers, the article illustrates how the September 11th terror attackscan be defined as a crisis event.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2010. Vol. 31, no 1, 87-101 p.
Keyword [en]
crisis, journalistic practices, media, attacks, September 11th, organizational learning, decision-making
URN: urn:nbn:se:su:diva-25608OAI: diva2:200047
Part of urn:nbn:se:su:diva-8308Available from: 2008-11-20 Created: 2008-11-17 Last updated: 2010-08-04Bibliographically approved
In thesis
1. Media Crisis Decision Making: A Case Study of SR (Swedish Radio), SVT (Swedish Television) and TV4
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Media Crisis Decision Making: A Case Study of SR (Swedish Radio), SVT (Swedish Television) and TV4
2008 (English)Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

The study takes as its starting point that news organizations’ actions during crises vary more than one can expect based on previous research on news work. Accordingly, the dissertation aims to move beyond the notion of news organizations as homogenous and attempts to open the ‘black box’ of news organizations’ decision making. The study is based on interviews with members of three Swedish broadcasting organizations: the Swedish Public Television (SVT), the Swedish Public Radio (SR), and TV4. The interviews focused on how the three organizations dealt with the news coverage of the September 11th 2001 terrorist attacks in the USA. The four articles included in this dissertation challenge from different perspectives the previous assumptions presented in the field of media and journalism. First, as a response to the variety of definitions of non-routine news events applied in previous research, Article I sets out to propose a definition of crisis news events from a news organizational perspective. Accordingly, the article proposes to understand crisis news as surprise events that challenge key organizational values and that demand a swift response. Second, in questioning the notion of news organizations as homogenous, Article II examines the actions taken by the three Swedish broadcasting organizations in response to 9/11. This article argues, based on a neo-institutional perspective, that news organizations’ decision making can be explained by differences in organizational ‘rule-regimes’. Third, Article III challenges the assumption that newsroom actions are homogeneous by examining two newsroom responses to 9/11, in particular their everyday organizational structures and previous experiences. The last Article (IV) applies a slightly different perspective in arguing that during crises media managers’ decisions are not only influenced by the audiences’ informational needs but also by the ritual role news organizations play in times of crises.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Stockholm: Institutionen för journalistik, medier och kommunikation (JMK), 2008. 65 p.
Doktorsavhandlingar från JMK, ISSN 1102-3015 ; 34
decision making, news production, news organizations, September 11th
National Category
Media and Communications
Research subject
urn:nbn:se:su:diva-8308 (URN)978-91-7155-779-7 (ISBN)
Public defence
2008-12-12, JMK-salen, Garnisonen, Karlavägen 104, Stockholm, 10:00
Available from: 2008-11-20 Created: 2008-11-17 Last updated: 2010-10-21Bibliographically approved

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