The Nordic Journalism Studies Seminar Series (NordJourn) – Happiness and Work Meaningfulness in Journalism

Date: 13th of March, 2024

Time: 4-5.30 pm (CET)


The third NordJourn seminar will feature two thought-provoking keynotes that shed light on happiness and work meaningfulness in journalism. The main arguments are that happiness should be considered as part of journalistic work and work meaningfulness as a prerequisite for happiness at work.

Happiness in Journalism

Valérie Bélair-Gagnon, Associate Professor, Hubbard School of Journalism and Mass Communication, University of Minnesota-Twin Cities

Valérie Bélair-Gagnon will present the main arguments in her new books, Happiness in Journalism and The Paradox of Connection. Both books examine the need to develop a systemic approach to consider happiness as part of journalism. It advocates for a shift in mindset and approaches involving what happiness is, how happiness manifests itself in journalism, and what future we might imagine would be better for the profession while acknowledging the differences in norms, values, and ethics in regions across the world. To illustrate this, this talk uses the case of digital disconnection, showing how the tactics of online connection and disconnection interact with the complex realities of working in today’s media environments.

Pinja Päivänen, Doctoral Researcher, and Rasa Jämsen, Doctoral Researcher, University of Jyväskylä

Work Meaningfulness in Journalism: The Role of Values in Datafied Work

Pinja Päivänen and Rasa Jämsen will present findings from ongoing research projects on work meaningfulness in the era of datafied journalistic work. Work meaningfulness can be seen as an essential concept or even a prerequisite for happiness at work. It has not previously gained much scholarly attention in journalism studies, although work meaningfulness is strongly associated with well-being and job satisfaction. This presentation provides empirical insights that shed light on the complex role of professional values in the work meaningfulness of Finnish journalists. We show how the core values journalists use for deriving meaning to their work are not identical, but instead, work meaningfulness is constructed in various ways within the profession. Furthermore, the increasingly important role of data in journalists’ work (typically materialized through audience analytics) is reflected in varying experiences of work meaningfulness not only by fostering strong feelings of happiness and success but also by challenging the very values journalists find most important.

Respondent: Kaj Backman, Administrative Head, News and Current Affairs, Yleisradio (The Finnish Public Service Media Company)

The next NordJourn seminar will arranged on May 21 at 3 pm (CET) focusing on the theme of journalism and self-censorship.

The NordJourn seminar series welcomes scholars to lectures and conversations focusing on journalism and journalism research. NordJourn seeks to address timely topics and themes, providing a platform for sharing recently published research as well as research projects underway. The NordJourn seminar series is organized in collaboration between four Nordic media departments:

  • Department of Journalism and Media Studies, Oslo Metropolitan University (OsloMet)
  • Department of Communication and Arts, Roskilde University
  • Department of Language and Communication Studies, University of Jyväskylä
  • Department of Journalism, Media and Communication, University of Gothenburg.