Swedish weeklies – data from 8 500 journal pages

Photo: Torbjörn Berglund

(Published 2012-11-23)
Are you interested in Swedish press history? Then the study Swedish weeklies 1920-1975 can be something for you. In this study, which is available via SND, there is data on the content in more than 40 magazines in the genre "popular press".

Responsible for the study in the 1970s was Forskningsgruppen för samhälls- och informationsstudier. The main purpose of the data collection was to highlight the substantive variations over time in the weekly press.

"To get a deeper understanding of the function and the situation of the weekly journal today and tomorrow, we want to pull the strings back in time and see how the current situation developed from yesterday," writes Roger Bernow and Torsten Österman from the research project in the report Swedish weeklies 1920-1975 (published 1979, only available in Swedish).

The magazines included in the study covers most of the popular press release during the period in question, both in terms of total circulation and the number of journal names. Popular press is defined in the survey as journals that:
• have a general popular content available to the general public
• can be purchased freely in trade
• are published at least once a month and preferably – but not more than – once a week.

Content analysis covers all the material in each magazine covered by the study, which means a total of about 8 500 journal pages. Both editorial and advertising materials have been identified in the investigation. Each journal name that has been selected has been reviewed four times every five years.

The material in Swedish weeklies is useful both to investigate short-term changes and long-term trends. Among the broad subject areas that are encoded, you find social issues, crime, economy, politics, consumption, culture, sports, relationships and occult phenomena. This to name just a few. It is also possible to study changes over time in terms of the qualities attributed to the persons mentioned in for example the articles. Here, the variables are primarily focused on gender, that is, how men and women are described in the journals. Attributes such as brave, strong, happy, stupid, criminal, selfish, independent, clever, unhappy, etc. have been entered by the ten keyboarders who worked with the material when it was collected.