In the intersection of traditional mass media and social media: A cross section of the political communication in Denmark in the 2020s



The aim of the PhD project is twofold. First and most importantly, the PhD project aims at providing new knowledge about the role and relative importance of social media compared to traditional mass media in Danish MPs' overall communication strategy in everyday politics. The theoretical background of the project is newer politological and more general communication theories that emphasise two important tendencies in the current political communication environment: (1) A larger and more complex media environment as new media emerge, while traditional mass media continue to exist and be of importance and (2) An increased integration of different media, as political messages are delivered across a variety of media platforms. Political scientist Andrew Chadwick labelled this new enviroment a 'hybrid media system'. According to the theories, the tendencies result in a new 'hybrid media logic' among politicians. For this reason, the second aim of the PhD project is to provide new insights into whether this new 'hybrid media logic' changes the norms of political communication.

To obtain these aims, a cross-sectional research design and a mixed-methods approach is applied. The cross-sectional design is selected, as the political communication environment changes rapidly in the new digital era, which has led some researchers to characterise the study of political communication as the study of a moving target. However, by situating the PhD project in a certain historical context and including a rich description of this context, the PhD project adresses this methodological challenge. The mixed-methods approach is applied as it is widely accepted within political communication research that studies of political communication in the hybrid media system benefit from a combination of different data sources. Specifically, the PhD project collects news paper articles and posts from Danish MPs' public social media public accounts via automated web scrapers. This is done to gain insights into the MPs actual communication behaviors across traditional mass media and social media. Additionally, the PhD student conducts qualitative interviews with 10-15 Danish politicians and/or their communication advisors to obtain knowledge about the perceived importance of social media as platform for strategic communication compared to traditional mass media. The interviews also provide knowledge about behavior that is not observable on social media due to phenomenon such as dark posts, i.e. posts targeted at specific groups of citizens that are not visible to the general public.
Effektiv start/slut dato01/08/202031/07/2023