Worldviews in the Norwegian newsroom : a study on Norwegian journalists' worldviews and to what extent, and how, they believe their worldviews influence the journalistic work
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This master thesis examines worldviews among Norwegian journalists in the mainstream media, and to what extent, and how, they believe worldviews influence their work. I use a broader understanding of the word worldview, meaning faith, religious and secular worldviews, and values. This is discussed in the thesis. To examine this topic more deeply, I used a quantitative approach. The survey was sent by email to a certain number of journalists in chosen media houses. 136 journalists responded to the survey. The findings show that the group of journalists examined is relatively homogenous when it comes to worldviews. The majority possesses a secular, meaning atheistic or agnostic, belief. A majority of journalists see some, or quite much need, for more religious literacy in their profession. When it comes to values and attitudes on chosen topics, there are several questions which tend to provide a clear majority at one end or the other. A few examples of questions with a high level of agreement on one side are the following: 88% agree on the rights for same gender couples in the Marriage Law. Another clear agreement or disagreement is found in the question of when a fetus is ascribed with human dignity. Of the options given, 4% believe this happens at the conception. Almost 70% of journalists believe singles should have the right to assisted fertilization, and the findings show a majority with a restrictive attitude towards polygamy. When it comes to questions of influence and transparency, the indications in this survey show a clear majority who have awareness of the element of personal influence on the journalistic work. The majority of journalists who believe their own worldview influence the journalistic work, some or quite much, say this is expressed through what topic/stories which is considered important. Based on the findings and the theories discussed, it is quite possible that some stories, topics and perspectives never make it to the front pages or the headlines. This, because of the lack of diversity on worldviews and homogeneity on value questions among journalists’ in the Norwegian newsroom. When it comes to transparency, 24% believes that this might bring more trust and credibility to journalism. The openness towards transparency raises an interesting question if these are small signals for a future change as compared to the way journalism is currently practiced.