From spin to political PR: A career analysis of the spin doctors of ’Borgen’ from 2000 to 2017

Research output: Contribution to conferencePaperResearchpeer-review


The internationally acclaimed television drama ‘Borgen’ popularized Danish politics and political spin to great effect. In this study we focus on the real spin doctors of Borgen, formally called special advisors. Special advisers are seen as part of the political communication elite that include politicians and political journalists (Pfetsch, 2014), but also include the so-called policy professionals working in political PR, think tanks and interest organizations (Blach-Ørsten et al., 2017). In Denmark the job position as special advisor first appears around the year 2000, indicating an increased professionalization and mediatization of politics (Knudsen, 2016). Many of the first special advisors were journalists (Jønsson, 2005) and much focus has been put on the revolving door between the job as a journalist and the job as a special advisor (Fisher, 2016). In our study we have mapped the career of all special advisors from 2000 to 2017 (n= 140). We ask the following research questions: From where were the special advisors recruited, and which job did the special advisors move on to after leaving Borgen? We find that the beginning of the period most of the special advisors came from journalism, but that this changes with time. We also find that regardless of background most special advisors move on to work in private political PR after leaving Borgen. Thus, we conclude that the special advisors to large part remain as part of the political communication elite, but now working to serve private rather than public interest.
Original languageEnglish
Publication date2018
Publication statusPublished - 2018
EventECPR general Conference 2018 - Universität Hamburg, Hamburg, Germany
Duration: 22 Aug 201825 Aug 2018 (Link to conference)


ConferenceECPR general Conference 2018
LocationUniversität Hamburg
Internet address


  • Political communication

Cite this