Charting the Evolution of Journalism: The Horizon of Democracy


  • Peter Dahlgren Lund University


Journalism, Crisis of, Journalism and Democracy, Journalism and New Technology, Professionals, Audiences for


The contemporary developments within journalism raise many issues about its future. Working with a rather wide brush, this article looks at some key factors that are shaping journalism at present. The author sketches some general parameters that apply to most Western societies; the perspective draws especially the US, where the crisis has been extensively analyzed. Every national context, however, has its own version of journalism’s evolution. The author emphasizes what he sees as being journalism’s fundamental raison d’être, namely to facilitate and enhance democracy. This includes nourishing its norms, values and practices; journalism must touch us, inspire us, and contribute to our daily democratic horizons. The article begins with a quick glimpse at the various structural factors that are shaping the transformation of journalism. From there, the author probes some of the contemporary technological developments and their impact on journalism, and looks at how the audiences for journalism are changing, along with their roles as citizens and consumers. In the fi nal section the article explores the intensifying multi-perspective character of the emerging journalistic landscape, and some of its implications.