“Usually, it takes more than two years to do research,” says MediaFutures associate professor Erik Knudsen to Khrono and continues:

“But, for the Media Survey, I don’t have more than some months.”

Undoubtely one of the highlights at the Nordic Media Days is the yearly Media Survey.

From its launch in 1999, until today, the Media Survey’s purpose is to showcase how the relation between media and its audience in Norway has changed. It also collects the opinions on media from journalists.

Associate professor Erik Knudsen has taken over the lead in the survey since 2018, next to his engagement in our work package 1 on Understanding Media Experiences and 2 on Recommender Systems.

Trust in media – comparing Norway and the US

Last year, Knudsen published a paper which provides evidence to suggest that trust in Norwegian media actually increased during the pandemic opposed to what one could expect.

Additionally to monitoring the development of trust in Norwegian media for the annual Media Survey, this year the team around Knudsen also asked U.S Americans about their opinion, thus the title: American conditions.

How and from where do Americans gather political information, and how critical are they of their sources? How do they perceive the degree of freedom of speech and the polarization in society? Do they feel the impact of a cancel culture, and how does it affect them?

The answers to those questions have been compared to the results the team has from Norway and will be presented on May 2 at the Nordic Media Days.

Already before, Knudsen gave an interview to TV2 in which he shared some of the results from the Survey.

“It is interesting to see the contrast of how Norwegians versus U.S. Americans think about the election in America,” he says.

“The clear differences between Norwegians and Americans can provide an indication of the news we consume and the type of issues from the USA that Norwegian media cover,” Knudsen explains.

While a big majority of Norwegians think Trump will win the election this year, Americans are more unsure about the outcome.

Avoiding news

This year is also the first time the team around Knudsen asked whether journalists and non journalists actively avoid news or specific topics in media.

The result that Knudsen presented in the interview with Klassekampen shows that the proportion of news avoiders among Norwegian journalists and editors is higher than among the general population. While 28 percent of the population state that they “sometimes” avoid news, the figure is 32 percent among journalists.

Especially the war in Gaza is a topic which the respondents actively avoid.

Not long ago, on February 16th, MediaFutures work package 1 hosted a seminar on the development of news use and avoidance. MediaFutures partner NRK looked at how Norwegians, particularly young people, use and avoid the news. With data from NRK’s ​​Youth survey, Reuters Digital News Report, Norsk Mediebarometer, Opinions UNG2024 and more, seminar speaker Ingvild Hjertaas presented some new features in how news is consumed – and avoided.

Focus on AI and ethics

Erik Knudsen, who is responsible for ensuring that the content adheres to academic standards, took over the job of Frank Aarebrot. He made the survey wider and opened up for opinions of journalists.

A special focus has been set on the use and identification of AI in media, a topic which we in MediaFutures have been working with for many years.

AI technology has shown to be of great value in many different application domains; however, it has also raised significant ethical issues, including, e.g., the creation of echo chambers in online media systems, and caused political polarisation and controversial or questionable election outcomes. To address these challenges, our center conducts research and develops products directly together with our partners from the media industry.

The Media Survey 2024 has been conducted by Respons Analyse on behalf of the Nordic Media Days and is carried out among a representative sample of the population in the USA, as well as members of the Norwegian Journalists’ Union, the Norwegian Editors’ Association, and a selection of the general population in Norway.