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Erik Knudsen

The project “Norwegian Welfare on the Agenda” is a case study that examines how information from the Norwegian Labour and Welfare Administration, «NAV», is presented to the public, how NAV is covered in the media and the relation between the media coverage and the public’s perception.

This will be illustrated with theories regarding mediatization, the media’s social contract and framing theory. I will carry out a quantitative content analysis to examine the media coverage. I have selected four Norwegian newspapers and one online newspaper, and chosen strategically selected periods (21 months) during the period 2005-2011. Furthermore I will investigate how both NAV and the welfare-users are portrayed in the media, and whether the media coverage has been biased to the advantage of critics. Using qualitative interviews with relevant actors, I will also investigate how NAV is treated as a source and how journalists and NAV employees perceive their role in the media coverage.

To investigate the relation between the media coverage and the public’s perception of NAV, I will compare the results of the content analysis with analysis of satisfaction-surveys regarding NAV and its services (in particular the Rokkan Centre's research on user satisfaction in NAV).

The project will also focus on issues pertaining to the application of quantitative content analysis on internet news articles, and seek to provide new perspectives on this scientific method.