Menigmand eller minister? - en undersøgelse af kriterierne for udvælgelse af debatindlæg til Politiken

Anne Korntved Petersen & Mette Mortensen

Studenteropgave: Speciale


In our study of the letters to the editor in the newspaper Politiken we have been examining which letters got past the gate and thereby printed in the newspaper controlled by the gatekeepers in shape of the editors. Studying the total income of letters in October 2006, an amount of 1502 pieces, we found a series of criteria that determine whether or not a letter to the paper is selected for print or not by the editors. The editors select letters from criteria such as political standpoints and prefer those representing the political party Det Radikale Venstre or the right wing parties as well as letters dealing with subjects such as education, culture, foreign affairs, religion, business and the economy. Other criterion for selection is the type of person writing the letter (title etc.) as well as the type of letter itself (an answer to a former letter or article or a letter expressing a personal experience). Experts are preferred over ‘the man on the street’ so to speak, and letters in form of answers to other letters or articles in the newspaper are preferred as well. The way in which the letter is written matters too. The editors prefer short and precise writing and letters that ‘get straight to the point’. However, the mixture of letters on the pages is more important to the editors than the mentioned criteria of each letter itself. The editors try using letters that represent a bit of everything on the pages, so that they each day contain different types of sources, political standpoints as well as subjects and so forth. At the same time it was evident that it was not the individual preferences of the editors that determined whether or not a letter was printed in the paper, but rather the policy of the news organization, which include the way the organization defines itself as a newspaper, democratic ideals, economic factors, routines and so fort. The selection of the letters done by the editors is therefore more to be seen as a product of a socialization process, the editors have been undergoing during the many years working at Politiken than their individual preferences. This means that the criterion we found to be determining for the selection of the letters weren’t articulated as such by the editors but rather existed in the back of their minds, which means that selection therefore is done by “osmosis”.

UddannelserJournalistik, (Bachelor/kandidatuddannelse) Kandidat
Udgivelsesdato19 jun. 2007


  • debat
  • Politiken
  • læserbreve
  • gatekeeping