Ideals of Journalism: The Historical Consecration of Media Capital in Prize Awards and the case of the Danish Cavling award 1945-2016

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As a material object, the Cavling prize is a small bronze statuette of an old man with a moustache, a hat and both hands tucked away in the pockets of a long coat. In symbolic terms, the Cavling prize is one of the most prestigious awards of Danish journalism and a professional metonym for excellent journalism. This article presents a study of the written statements from the prize committees that have accompanied the statue since the first award in 1945. Applying the field theory of Pierre Bourdieu and the concept of symbolic capital, the study identifies three prominent ideals in the Danish field of journalism - information, agenda setting and exposure – and shows how these ideals have changed symbolic positions in the period from 1945 to 2016. The article concludes that media prizes help us understand professional ideals over time and urges more research on the history of media prizes.
TidsskriftMedia History
Udgave nummer4
Sider (fra-til)489-507
Antal sider19
StatusUdgivet - 1 okt. 2020


  • Awards
  • Journalism
  • Media history
  • Pierre Bourdieu
  • Professional Ideals
  • Pulitzer
  • Symbolic Capital

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