The DONG sale in frame

Student thesis: Master Thesis and HD Thesis

  • Nicolaj Stage
  • Johs Bech Jensen
4. term, Communication, Master (Master Programme)
The abstract

The purpose of this study is to examine how the sale of 19 percent of the state-controlled power producer, DONG Energy’s, stake to the American investment bank, Goldman Sachs, have been covered by the Danish media. The interest in this study is based on the high degree of attention given to the matter by the general public, the media and the politicians up to the final decision made by voting in the Danish Parliament on January 30th 2014.

This thesis is the first to study how the three largest Danish newspapers framed the case in their news coverage. Accordingly, the Danish media image is presented, based on Jürgen Habermas’ concept of the public sphere along with Stig Hjarvard’s concept of mediatization, to describe the interrelation between the Danish population, the media and the decision-makers. Thus, the setting of framing theory is discovered in preparation to prime the formulation of a methodology to answer the research question of the thesis. To shed light on this the thesis is based on a quantitative output de-rived from a qualitative content analysis of all the 227 news stories focusing on case published in the daily newspapers Berlingske, Jyllands-Posten and Politiken from January 1st up to and including January 31st 2014, the day after the final decision was made. The study in question is inspired by Claes de Vreese’s take on framing theory and supplemented with elements of the rhetorical concept of topic.

The findings of the thesis demonstrate that the case created quite a stir among the Danish population, which seems to be caused by the involvement of former Prime Minister, Poul Nyrup Rasmussen. In a news article in Politiken, he criticizes his own party, the government party Socialdemokraterne, spurring the two other daily newspapers on with new perspectives on the case. From this point, the coverage in all three daily newspapers is intensified with a gradually changing focus from the actual deal to internal division among the government parties, in particular Socialistisk Folkeparti.

The theoretical and analytical parts of the thesis lead to a discussion on the applicability of framing theory in regards to this study. Here, the obtained knowledge of the analysis is discussed in relation to the scientific theoretical base of this thesis. On this basis, future studies on both this study’s research question and new perspectives derived from the knowledge obtained through this thesis, for example how frames operate in public opinion formation, are reflected on in a concluding remark.
Publication date2 Jun 2014
Number of pages100
ID: 198397543