Routledge Handbook of Counter-Narratives

This chapter focuses on discursive struggles in the media landscape as it is being radically reorganized. We explore the narrative of a newcomer challenging the traditional narrative about journalism – what we here understand as the master narrative – that carries the idea that news production is a practise reserved exclusively for journalists. We build our analysis on a case study of VGRfokus, a digital communication channel launched in November 2017 by the Region Västra Götaland, a county council on the west coast of Sweden. The launching of VGRfokus was met by critical reactions among journalists in legacy media. At stake, as it appeared, was the role and content of journalism per se. Our analysis, based on one article published in VGRfokus and subsequent articles published in legacy media, shows that a counter-narrative must not emerge in opposition with another narrative; rather it could be positioned as a counter-narrative in a defensive act performed by those representing and guarding the master narrative. Furthermore, our analysis suggests that the tissue of narratives surrounding a professional institution increases in complexity in times characterized by a weakened master narrative, since the struggle itself tends to make the narratives more polemic.

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