Audience participation in the mediated Arctic public sphere
Peer reviewed, Journal article
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Original versionMathisen, B. R. & Morlandstø, L. (2020). Audience participation in the mediated Arctic public sphere. Journalism - Theory, Practice & Criticism. doi: 10.1177/1464884920973102
The article investigates how the regional newspaper Nordlys facilitates public debate in the Arctic region of Norway. In 2014, Nordlys launched Nordnorsk debatt, a new development of the traditional letters to the editor, offering possibilities for audiences to comment and participate in public debates online. The article is based on a study of 883 opinion pieces posted on this website in 2017 and 2018. We analyse the individuals who access Nordnorsk debatt; we identify role and formal positions of the participants, and what issues they engage in. We also discuss how Nordnorsk debatt might contribute to dialogue and diversity in the regional public debate. We find an increasing engagement over the 2 years and a variety of issues brought into public discussion. Although the debate forum has a broad scope of participants, the analyses suggest that it is primarily a forum for the elites. Despite this, even if grassroots representatives do not dominate the agenda, their opinion pieces are mostly shared and disseminated.