49 kommuner och kampen mot klockan - En kvalitativ intervjustudie om hur SVT Nyheter Västs journalister ser på sitt public service-uppdrag i relation till geografisk representation
Aim of thesis: The aim of this study is to investigate how the journalists at SVT Nyheter Väst experience their public service assignment in relation to geographical representation of the published news. We will fulfill our aim by studying journalists opinions about news selection and evaluation. In addition to this we will ask the respondents about their thoughts on possible consequences of geographical underrepresentation. Theoretical framework: The thesis is inspired by earlier research concerning the same field. Our study will be based on three theories: the theories about news evaluation and selection, democracy and public service. The theory about news evaluation and news selection highlights the balance between news that is important for the citizens and the news that usually attracts many readers, but might not be as important. The theory of democracy defines the concept of democracy and emphasizes the importance of media in a functional democratic society. Public service is funded by the state and therefore is obligated to be impartial and objective in its news reporting. Public services' most substantial challenge is to find a balance between news evaluation and democracy. Method: The study was carried out using a qualitative interview method. We have designed an interview guide based on our theories that has been the base when interviewing our respondents. The selection of respondents consists of reporters and editors at SVT Nyheter Väst. They are all in different ages, sex and have worked various amount of years at the editorials office. Results: The results show that the respondents think highly of their public service commitments. They believe it is important with media that can be entirely impartial and objective, especially since the amount of information in the media society increases over time. Furthermore, the study illustrates that the journalists prioritize news that solely affects the masses. Simultaneously it is important to represent the smaller communities as well, even though it might not concern as many people. The general view is that geographical underrepresentation can lead to several consequences, for example reduced faith in SVT Nyheter Väst and public service.