FSD1049 Society in the Newspaper 1987

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  • Pietilä, Kauko (University of Tampere. Research Institute for Social Sciences)
  • Sondermann, Klaus (University of Tampere)


contemporary society, mass communication, newspaper press, social interaction


The data consist of the coded content of the Finnish newspaper Helsingin Sanomat published on October 20, 1987.

The main idea of the study is that to begin with, society is born when people interact with each other. Modern society is born through interaction using tools, and a newspaper is one of these tools: it's a tool through which (hundreds of thousands) people and (thousands of) actors featuring in the newspaper, and especially in the paper representing its audience and actors, come in touch with each other. With this idea in mind, there are three main themes in the survey: 1) Who and what kind of actors are those featuring in the newspaper (the paper itself and other actors)? The actors were characterised by categorizing them in relation to a great number of variables. 2) What do the actors do? Especially in relation to each other? How in particular do the relationships between the newspaper and other actors arrange themselves in their actions? Action was characterised by categorizing moves in relation to a host of variables. 3) The context of action is the news stories of the newspaper, and games featuring in them (also described with several variables).

Other categorizations specified, for instance, in which section of the newspaper the content had appeared, what kind it was (article, column, editorial, notice, cartoon, news issue etc), was the author mentioned, the source of the content, and the number and size of photos and other visual content etc.

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