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Gunnar Nygren


School of Social Sciences

Södertörn University, Stockholm


Global challenges in network societies

30 years after the fall of the Berlin wall, the mood of the world has changed. In 1989, the world was opening for democracy and global contacts. In research, the term “transition” described how the eastern part of Europe was expected in a few years to change from authoritarian rule to western democracy.  I media research, comparative studies showed different media systems to converge into the liberal model, according to classics like Hallin and Mancini (2004).
Today we see other trends. Three main trends are present in most countries in Europe to various degree:
•    The increasing power of global platforms like Google and Facebook. They connect the world in a good sense, but they also challenge the public sphere: They take the economic resources from traditional media, their rules decide the limits of free speech and the power of global platforms in collecting data can even increase to be a threat to democracy.
•    Media is put under increasing political pressure in many countries, especially state controlled public service. Increasing nationalism in countries as Hungary and Poland also wants to control media, and information/desinformation is used as a weapon in conflicts like Ukraine. Propaganda is using social media networks to influence public opinion across borders.
•    Digitalization of media systems brings new possibilities to citizens and for deliberative democracy. But it also brings a threat towards professional journalism when business models are destroyed and professional expertise is not important anymore. The polarization in social media networks replace responsible and ethical journalism and brings a de-professionalization of journalism.

Taken together, current trends give a gloomier picture than 30 years ago. The question is how research can interpret these trends, and how media systems can be analyzed in the 2020´s. Other variables have to be defined than in 1990´s and the liberal democratic values cannot be taken for granted in any part of Europe of the world. With new models for analysis of media systems, these threats can be made more visible and a picture more realistic can be painted.

Brief CV


  • Exam from School of journalism, Stockholm Univeristy 1977.
  • PhD in journalism at Stockholm university 2005.

Professional experience:

  • Reporter on the newspaper Folket 1977-1979
  • Reporter and editor on the weekly newspaper Gnistan 1979-1983
  • Reporter on Dagens Nyheter 1983-1984
  • Reporter and subeditor on the newspaper Eskilstuna Kuriren 1985-89

Academic experience:

  • Lecturer in journalism at dep of journalism, media and communication (JMK), Stockholm university 1989-2007. Both professional training and academic courses on all levels.
  • Director of studies for the Journalism programs at JMK 1994-1999.
  • Doctoral student between 2000-2005, and research in different projects.
  • Lecturer in journalism at Södertörn University since January 2008.
  • Appointed as docent in journalism at Södertörn in April 2009.

Research projects:


Journalists covering local authorities – interviews with journalists about their methods and relations to their sources. With support from Wahlgrenska stiftelsen and Herenco. The project resulted in the book "Inte bara kontokort".


Media and citizens in the local digital society – content analyzes of local media and websites connected to local authorities plus intervies with journalists and local politicians. With support from Swedish local autho­rities (Svenska kommunförbundet)


Media shadow – about local journalism in Stockholm. Content analyzes of all local media plus a big survey on media use and political participation. With support from local authorities.


Media as watchdog – about how local media scrutinize the local authorities. Content analyzes of several local newspapers. With support from Swedish local authorities (Svenska kommunförbundet)


Coordinator for the research network "Media world 2020" with the responsibility for seminars

and research applications. Editor for the antology On the road to the Media world 2020 with four different editions 2000-2008. Plus international travel to universities in Shanghai, Cairo, Prag, Moscow and London.


The changing journalistic work – a research project with a survey to journalists and newsroom studies on five different media companies. With support from Media management transformation center in Jönköping.


Local election campaigning – content analyzes of local media before the general election. With support from Sverigens kommuner och landsting (SKL)


Exit journalism – a survey to journalists leaving the profession. With support from the Swedish union for journalists.


Multichannel publishing – a research project for the research foundation for Swdeish TV and Radio companies. Case studies with interviews.

2010 –:

Journalism education and the formation of a professional identity, a project granted by th Baltic Foundation in Sweden, comparing journalism education and students in Sweden, Russia, Poland, Finland and Estonia. A big survey and interviews.

2011 -:

Journalism in change – journalistic professional cultures in Sweden, Russia and Poland. A project granted by th Baltic Foundation in Sweden in cooperation with researchers in the different countries. Surveys and interviews during three years.


Participated with papers the Nordic conference for media researcher (Nordmedia) in 2003, 2005, 2007 and 2009Participated with a paper in the conference Future on newspaper in Cardiff in September 2007.Participated with a paper in the conference Nordic Media in Theory and Practice, UCL, London and Reu­ters Institute for Journalism, November 2008.Participated with a paper in the conference Future of Journalism at Cardiff university in sept 2009Participated with a presentetation at the HSE scientific conference in April 2010

Scientific publications

Gunnar Nygren, Södertörn university:

Nygren, Gunnar (1997) Nya villkor förändrar kommunbevakningen, ur antologin "Så kommer journalistik till, (red Lars G Hultén) Mitthögskolan, Rapport 1997:8

Nygren, Gunnar (1999): Inte bara kontokort, lokal journalistik och kommunal tystnad, Stockholm; Ordfront

Nygren, Gunnar (2001): Medier och medborgare i den digitala kommunen, Stockholm: JMK Stockholms universitet. (licenciatavhandling)

Nygren, Gunnar (2001) Vi mot dom – mediernas bild av den lokala politiken, i Hvitfelt/Karvonen(red) Demokratins konflikter, Demokratiinstitutet, Sundsvall

Nygren, Gunnar (2001) Istället för lokaltidning? – En undersökning av kommunala webbplatser, DMI-rapport 22:2001, Demokratiinstitutet Sundsvall

Nord, Lars och Nygren, Gunnar (2002): Medieskugga, Stockholm; Atlas förlag

Nygren, Gunnar (2002) Lokala politiska ledare i motvind, ur Hvitfelt/Karvonen (red) Den personliga politiken, Demokratiinstitutet Sundsvall

Nygren, Gunnar (2003): Granskning med förhinder, DMIs rapportserie 4:2003, Demokratiinstitutet, Sundsvall

Nygren, Gunnar (2003): Belönad granskning – kommunalt grävande belönat med Guldspade 1991-2001, DMIs rapportserie 3:2003, Demokratiinstitutet, Sundsvall

Nygren, Gunnar (2004) Lokaljournalistiken och den lokala demokratin, i Nord/Strömbäck(red): Medierna och demokratin, Studentlitteratur, Lund

Hvitfelt, Håkan och Nygren, Gunnar(red): På väg mot medievärlden 2020 – journalistik, teknik, marknad (On the road to the media world 2020 – journalism, technology and market)  Lund; Studentlitteratur. 1a upplagan 2000, 2a omarbetade upplagan 2002, 3e omarbetade och utökade upplagan 2005, 4e och utökade upplagan 2008

In the latestedition there are three chapters by Gunnar Nygren:

Nygren Gunnar: Lokalt. kommunalt och glokalt i det nya nätverkssamhället,

Nygren, Gunnar: Bland multireportrar och innehållsleverantörer

Nygren, Gunnar och Hvitfelt, Håkan Konvergens och divergens i medieutvecklingen,

Nygren, Gunnar (2005) Journalistiskt arbete och journalistiska värderingar, paper vid 17e nordiska medieforskarkonferensen i Aalborg augusti 2005

Nygren, Gunnar (2005) Bloggsfären – en konverserande offentlighet, ur Våge, Stattin, Nygren: Bloggtider, Stockholm, Stiftelsen institutet för mediestudier

Nygren, Gunnar (2005) Skilda medievärldar – lokala medier och lokal offentlighet i Stockholm, Stockholm; Symposion (avhandling)

Hedman, Lowe, Alström, Börje, Enlund, Nils, Hvitfelt, Håkan, Nygren, Gunnar (2005) Medieutveckling – ett forskningsområde med många ingångar, Nordicom Information 4/2005