Sandheden om sundheden. En analyse af magt og styring i sundhedsjournalistik

Julie Winther Bengtson

Studenteropgave: Speciale


The subject of this thesis is relations of power in the field of health journalism. It is a subject area that is of high interest in the media today. The term ‘health journalism’ comprises journalism about both health and illness due to the fact that these terms are rarely found separately in the media. They are tied together as opposites. As a reader of Danish newspapers one is, as a result, often encouraged to eat healthily, to exercise and to refrain from smoking and drinking. Otherwise it is perceived as acting in an unhealthy manner with the risk of becoming ill. In the thesis I have chosen to examine how the field of journalism addresses health, and how this, in a theoretic perspective, influences the way power over the people is exerted through journalism. This has been done on the basis of Michel Foucault’s theory on power and conduct, which has inspired my problematisation, analysis and discussion of the thesis. The Danish newspapers B.T., 24timer and the weekly section ‘Lørdagsliv’ in Politiken are the subject of the analysis of the thesis, which examines the framing of the topic of health in the three papers. In journalism, frames have significance as to what the reader remembers from the text and possibly acts upon. I have examined the defined problems of the articles in the three papers, what they identify as the causes of the problems, how they make moral evaluations and what solutions and treatments are being suggested. This has identified the way in which journalism frames the topics of health and illness. In general, the framing of health is quite uniform in the three papers. It either problematises or glorifies certain types of health behavior based on medical knowledge. In terms of communication, the articles focus on what the readers themselves can do to avoid health-related problems by using certain tools that are listed in a clear manner. It is the responsibility of the reader to observe and comply with the sound advice. Only a few of the frames hold other social actors responsible for a poor state of health. In other words, journalism expects the reader to act on the instructions. The great focus on health and the heavy press coverage of what you yourself can do to stay healthy and live long contributes to the creation of a discourse, which states that health is an important element in the lives of all people, and that we, ourselves, need to act in a certain way to comply with the norm of a healthy behavior. According to the applied theory, a locked discourse will become the truth about health, according to which people act in terms of health in their daily lives, and when the discourse suggests that being healthy is worth striving for, people will also make this truth their own norm. The conclusions of the thesis are related to a contextual account of the way public health historically has been subject to power and conduct and how medical science with its focus on the body and examinations of the causality between illnesses and human actions have resulted in a heavy focus on the importance of the subject acting according to certain medical instructions. This tendency is reflected in health journalism.

UddannelserJournalistik, (Bachelor/kandidatuddannelse) Kandidat
Udgivelsesdato22 maj 2012
VejledereHanne Jørndrup


  • Sundhedsjournalistik
  • Sundhed
  • Medier
  • Selvstyring
  • Governmentality
  • Framing
  • Foucault
  • Biomagt