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Bergen Media Use Research Group

Research Projects

Read about a selection of our ongoing projects. For a full overview, please see the Norwegian site or contact us.

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MUCS - Media Use in Crisis Situations: Resolving Information Paradoxes, Comparing Climate Change and COVID-19

MUCS studies media use in complex societal crisis situations, comparing the pandemic and the climate crisis. The project is a collaboration between media studies, human geography and journalism studies. We analyze how people in Norway encounter these issues in everyday life and in the media, where information is abundant across digital platforms.

The objective of the project is to resolve paradoxes in the communication of crisis in digital societies. Why do we accept drastic measures to fight the pandemic, while similar climate action is difficult to accomplish? There is extensive media coverage warning of a climate crisis, but we do not know enough about how this information is interpreted. The pandemic is perceived differently in terms of speed, proximity and impact on our lives. By comparing these cases, we learn more about information in different crisis situations, and build resilience in the face of future and unknown risks.

The project focuses on media use. Media are key to how experts and governing bodies communicate, and risk management depends on communication to mobilize and maintain trust. Social media, journalism, smartphones and digital platforms are all part of how citizens relate to society. We study these and other examples in a cross-media perspective, analyzing how Norwegians use a variety of media in their everyday lives. We are particularly interested in digitalization, and in understanding the challenges and opportunities new technologies bring forward to crisis communication.

The project conducts qualitative research, including interviews about media use pertaining to climate and COVID-19, and ethnographic studies of these issues in local communities in Norway. We collaborate with stakeholders in climate and crisis communication to develop actionable knowledge.

The project is lead by Brita Ytre-Arne and is financed by the Research Council of Norway. Read more about the project here

Depression: The Norwegian newspaper economy in the digital age 

The newspaper industry is in turmoil and has been so for more than a decade. Advertising revenues are declining, physical print circulation is dwindling, and newspapers are still struggling to monetise their digital content effectively. Within this context of crisis and rapid technological change, my PhD project’s central aim is to examine Norwegian national newspapers’ financial strategies from a twofold perspective: the strategies’ economic viability, and the strategies’ social consequences. Examples of such social consequences include the public’s access to news (“paywalls” exclude non-subscribers), various editorial decisions (e.g. selection of target audiences, topics, tone of voice, sources), and, most importantly, the future of the journalistic profession. This dual focus is essential for understanding how newspapers may become economically sustainable under conditions of rapid technological change while at the same time fulfilling their civic responsibilities.

The project is funded by The Cambridge Trust and Rådet for anvendt medieforskning (RAM), with support from The Cambridge Department of Sociology, Jansons legat, and Michael Width Endresens fond. 

The project is led by Tellef S. Raabe. He is a PhD Candidate at the University of Cambridge, supervised by Professor Emeritus John B. Thompson. His dissertation is on the financial strategies of Norwegian national newspapers, and these strategies' societal consequences. Raabe is, more broadly, interested in media sociology, journalism, technology, media policy, political communication, and social theory (Bourdieu). His PhD is funded by The Cambridge Trust and Rådet for anvendt medieforskning (RAM), with support from The Cambridge Department of Sociology, Jansons legat, and Michael Width Endresens fond. 

Algorithm operated front pages

In spring 2019, the media house Schibsted introduced an algorithm which governs the front pages of many of the company's online news papers, like Bergens Tidende and Aftenposten. The algorithm is supposed to make sure readers are exposed to news they haven't read, but also contribute to an increase in earnings and subscriptions. Through a qualitative newsroom study, the project investigates norwegian news papers' experiences after a year with an algortihm operated front page. The project aims to look into how the algorithm works in practice, and how content, angle and quality are influenced by the algortihm, which includes click rates and reading numbers in the algorithm.

The project is led by Marianne Borchgrevik-Brækhus, and financed by Rådet for anvendt medieforskning (RAM).

Young, man and gamer – a study of computer games, identity and masculinity

There is little knowledge on how young men experience and negotiate with what it means to be a gamer, and which identities and communities gaming creates and defines in today's Norway. The project studies this through focus groups with 30 young male players who are 16 to 19 years old. The project will research how gaming enter into negotiations about gender and identity, in a time where many have an experience and opinion about this, and where the online gaming cultures constitutes a central part of young mens life. It will focus on young mens emotional reactions to the increased diversity and the gendered politicization of the gaming discourse – and investigate how gaming related practices kan create foundation and belonging to certain identities and communities. One of the questions rised is the room the gamer-identity creates for maculinity, and how the target group can explore and negotiate it.

The project is led by Synnøve Lindtner and financed by Rådet for anvendt medieforskning (RAM).

Knowledge and information in the new public

How do scientists experience the task of sharing free and verifiable knowledge in todays society? And have peoples views on the limits of freedom of speech changed? The project focuses on freedom of speech's position in research and academia, on how scientists experience their right to speak, and experiences on researching and sharing information on topics of current interest in the norwegian public. Following up research from 2013 and 2015, the project also investigates where Norwegian draw the line for freedom of speech in 2020. The project is organized in five subprojects.

Fritt Ord is financing the research project. Kjersti Thorbjørnsrud from Institutt for samfunnsforskning is project leader. Hallvard Moe (UiB) is leading the subproject on "Trust, techonolgy and connection - freedom of information as a base for freedom of speech". Scienticts from UiO and NTNU also work on the project. Read more about it here. (In Norwegian)

Intrusive media, ambivalent users and digital detox (Digitox)

The Digitox project analyses digital disconnection and current questions pertaining to the extensive uses of digital media in society. The past few years have seen considerable changes in how we communicate and socialize, and digital media present us with constant dilemmas about what good media use is. While many studies focus on the positive sides of digital media, the Digitox project emphasises ambivalence, resistance and attempts at disconnection. The project employs interdisciplinary insights from media and communication scholarship, game studies and psychology to investigate digital media and the role they play in people’s lives. 

The Digitox project is funded by the Norwegian Research Council (FRIPRO). The project is a collaboration between multiple research institutions, including Brita Ytre-Arne and Hallvard Moe at UiB with Trine Syvertsen at the University of Oslo as principal investigator. Read more about the project here.