Research Articles

The Reluctant Audience: Online Participation in the Swedish Journalistic Context



With new media technology everyone online can easily participate in creating news content. This is usually considered positive from a societal, democratic point of view, even if audience interaction is not necessarily seen as a positive feature by editors and journalists. As a response to the somewhat scarce research in this field, this article analyses a Swedish mail questionnaire survey on audience behaviour and attitudes in these matters. The analysis shows that there is only relatively little interest, from a general audience point of view, in participating in creating content on news sites. Likewise, the minority who are actually commenting on news articles, or otherwise participating in the journalistic process through blog-writing, seem to consider these activities as part of a creative leisure-time, rather than as partaking in democratic activities. The article further argues that the use of interactive facilities and content creation in the journalistic context tend to be yet another tool for persons already possessing substantial competence about society and political life and who are already busy in the online world.

Keywords: news sites, user generated content (UGC), commenting, interactivity, blog, Participation

How to Cite: Bergström, A. (2017) “The Reluctant Audience: Online Participation in the Swedish Journalistic Context”, Westminster Papers in Communication and Culture. 5(2). doi: