Abstract in English

The topic of this thesis is how Norwegian journalists have demonstrated their authority through the four major Norwegian journalist awards during the period 1954–2014. Special emphasis is placed on the journalists’ authority in relation to the political institution. The thesis provides a comprehensive presentation of the major awards in the period.

The sixty years’ span is divided into three periods, based on two dramatic changes in the Norwegian press system: the Party Press period (1954 –1972), the period of Disintegration (1973– 1990) and the period of Media Groups (1991–).

The theoretical apparatus is a combination of theory of awards, Weber's concepts of authority, Pierre Bourdieu's field theory and a critical approach to theories of professions.

The four awards studied are the Narvesen award (Narvesenprisen) (1954 –1990), the Hirschfeld award (Hirschfeldprisen ) (1954 – 1990), the Great Journalism award (Den store journalistprisen) (1991 – ) and the Scoop award (SKUP-prisen) (1991 – ).

The thesis shows that the award-winning journalism in the period 1954–1972 remained safely within the limits set by the party press. While party ties were strong, political agitation was never rewarded with any price. The jury of the Narvesen award never challenged the limits set by the political institution, although it operated with a clear notion of journalistic professionalism, and the ideal of the diversity of expression. The system was justified through a functional understanding of the press as subordinated the organizations and the society’s institutions.

The Norwegian party press disintegrated after the referendum on the EU in 1972. This led to an upsurge in new ways of writing, followed by a rapid development of journalists' professional ideology. The area that was perceived as a political was radically expanded, and charged the new journalism with a strong moral tendency.

In the period of media groups (1991–) the SKUP award was the strongest symbol of journalism’s authority and independence. The SKUP award is given for investigative reporting, but operates with a number of other, unspoken norms as well. The Great Journalism award soon started to reward aesthetic dimensions of journalistic innovation, adapting to the competitive climate of the new media market.

The award-winning journalism in the period after 1991 is an ambiguous phenomenon. Norwegian journalists consolidated their symbols of authority, but adapted gradually to the narrower limits set by the media group owners. The tension in the media system is shown by strong criticism of the industry formulated by the jury of both prices during the last years.

The thesis shows how strongly influenced Norwegian journalism is by external forces during the period 1954–2014. Norwegian journalists have never controlled their own media institutions. When they have demanded autonomy, it has been done using ideological arguments.

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