Slovene Suplement, Vol. 16 - 2009, Suplement
This article presents theoretical and methodological design of two research projects, whose results are discussed by several contributions in the 2009 supplement of Javnost-The Public. Political Communication Cultures in Western Europe (2006-2010) is an international project under the auspices of the European Science Foundation, whose objective to analyze the relationship between political elites and the media on the basis of survey data collected in nine western European countries: Austria, Denmark, Finland , France, Germany, Slovenia, Sweden, Switzerland, and Spain. The second project, Diversity and political orientation of the Slovenian daily newspapers 1990-2005, is aimed at identifi ying changes in content and design, and main characteristics in presentnig political aff airs in the Slovenian daily press by using methods of content analysis. Though methodologically heterogeneous, the two projects are similar in their focus on the processes of modern mediatised political communication, professional roles and strategies of its participants - journalists and politicians - and interest in strengthening a democratic political culture.
Normative Types of Journalism and Reporting on Policy trough the Optics of Slovenian Journalists, Politicians and Citizens
The article examines social specifi city of normative assumptions of journalism through the lenses of journalists, politicians and citizens with an emphasis on contemporary political, economic and cultural dynamics in Slovenian journalism and media environment. Literature review reveals fi ve normative types of journalism, in terms of the kind of service journalists provide to the clients and primary functions of journalists in the society: meditative, advocacy, enlightenment, entertainment and communitarian journalism. The text frames the debate on types of journalism by (re)considering profound changes in the relationship between state, civil society and media in Slovenia after adoption of Western-type democracy and market economy two decades ago, which have transformed normative grounding of journalism, relationship between journalists, politicians and citizens and their functions in political life and journalism. The main research objectives of the article are to identify perceptions of surveyed Slovenian journalists, politicians and citizens on journalists’ functions in reporting on politics, examine the diff erences between these groups of respondents in politically, economically and culturally specifi c context of media and journalism, and refl ect on contemporary status of journalism and journalists in politics through the prism of normative types of journalism.
The article examines the process of depoliticisation of the political by looking at how political issues have been dealt with in the Slovenian dailies in the period between 1990 and 2005. Depoliticisation is defi ned by parallel processes of neo-liberalism and globalism that share politics of diminishing infl uence of demos on democratic decisions of political communities. Content analysis of Slovenian dailies in the years of 1990, 1995, 2000, and 2005, reveals the following changes towards depoliticisation: Slovenian actors increasingly quote international actors as a reference during that period; international actors quoted by Slovenian actors are increasingly presented as depersonalised; there is a growing consent among Slovenian political sources in quoting privatised economic actors; the decreasing level of expressed disagreements is accompanied by growing personalisation of economic actors.
The article builds upon the normative concept of the public as a group of people who publicly and critically deliberate upon matters of common concern. Such a public deliberation should be characterised, fi rst, by openness to all who are potentially aff ected by the issue at hand, and second, by critical refl ection and oversight upon public authorities with the primary aim of providing social changes. The author analyses results of two research projects, Political Communication Cultures in Western Europe and Diversity and Political Orientation of Slovenian Daily Press, 1990-2005, in order to answer three main research questions: (1) what is the diversity of sources of attitudes expressed in the Slovenian daily newspapers and in readers’ letters to the editor, (2) what is the diversity of the users of new media, and (3) to what extent are citizens who are actively involved in public debate, critical of the political authorities and the operation of mass media in Slovenia?
The article deals with changes to the conceptualization of public opinion polls brought about by the invention of public opinion polls, and their structural similarity to certain institutionalised political processes, such as elections and referendum. Author considers that the opinion polls should be addressed as part of an institutionalized political system, not as “scientifi c instrument for public opinion research.” The political institutionalisation of polls requires the establishment of detailed rules of implementation of polling and report on its results in the media, which can also reduce the likelihood of misperceptions in the opinion processes, which are illustrated in the article with examples of the third-person eff ect and looking-glass perceptions from the Slovenian part of the European research project on political communication cultures (2006- 2010).
The article analyses the institutional embededdnes of public opinion polling in the political system and the system of mass media and the implications of the institutionalization of public opinion in the form of public opinion polls for the conceptualization of public opinion. In-depth Interviews with editors and journalists of three Slovenian dailies (Delo, Dnevnik and Večer) and a survey of Slovene politicians and journalists are used to illuminate subjective responses to the institutional logic of polling. It is argued that the equalisation of poll results with public opinion is theoretically untenable and even undemocratic, but that the instrument of polling is not inherently undemocratic. The analysis of the institutional embeddedness of polling and subjective responses to it suggest that other, more democratic, uses of polling are possible, which are contingent upon dissolving the equation mark between public opinion and poll results.