Media and youth The media must create more space for conflict, and NRK must lead the way

Media and youth  The media must create more space for conflict, and NRK must lead the way

comment This is a comment written by a member of the editorial board. The comment expresses the writer's point of view.

Christine Klimt calls for a settlement with NRK in an article published by newspaper Aftenposten on Sunday. It reviews several debate and current affairs programs on the state channel, comparing them with other national broadcasters in the Nordic countries.

Klimt believes that NRK offers a much worse product to Norwegians than what the Swedes and Danes get for much lower tax kroner. It undoubtedly has some good points. NRK receives sufficient funds from the state budget. This should take the sting out of the worst of the ratings panic.

Klimt's impression is that NRK is always on an intense hunt for young people. This comes at the expense of NRK's ​​social mission. Clemet is right that it can sometimes seem jerky.

In particular, it is strange that NRK Debatten has such a strong focus on young people.

Frederic Solvang is decent. But he, like the site below, is closer to retirement age than Artyom. This should be done so that the linear format in which it shines, which works well mainly for the target group of 50, becomes the winner among the minus 30.

But Clemet is also wrong. NRK must work better and smarter to reach young people. With annual transfers of NOK six billion from the state, NRK has no competition. They can give themselves a much greater willingness to take risks and be creative.

The fact that they are groping in the dark should worry us.

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Something serious has happened to young people's media habits. Before, we could count on them coming to newspapers and TV channels when they grew up.

But those born and raised in the age of social media do not. They have fewer and fewer references to current events in their country, if current events do not become visible in a trivia storm on TikTok. Now I'm not talking about 14 year old boys and girls.

There is a large portion of the demographic in their 20s who have never read a newspaper or watched broadcast news. And they probably won't when they're 30.

It is a dangerous oversight not to acknowledge how problematic this matter is for democracy. Christine Clemet is right to call for in-depth analysis and analysis. You can strive for this, and even more.

But what we lack in the Norwegian people are good spaces in which conflicts can take place, in a way that is appropriate for young people.

I hope NRK dares to create that space of conflict.

In Norway, there is generally widespread agreement that editor-controlled media play an important role in democracy. Both when it comes to in-depth journalism and news reporting, but also discussion and analysis.

Editor-controlled media are best suited to create a context for ongoing conflicts in society. And sometimes arrange for the conflict to come to light. The search for conflict is an unrecognized value of democracy, in a small country where “everyone knows each other.”

TikTok and other social media are good at creating entertainment beyond debate. They rig their algorithms so that it's the relentless viral posts by people that get the most attention.

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We can't compete with social media on its own terms. But we must do something to put current youth debates into context. It is clear here that I think the discussion about Northern Norway should also find its way. We are painfully far away.

But we don't have six billion on Nordlys' books. We and other media outlets in Norway depend on NRK's ​​success in reaching young people with news and discussions.

I'm sure we are letting young people down if we want to entertain them with debate. This is not the media's job. Our mission is to challenge power structures. Power is not only represented by those in government. Power can be distorted even within the smallest minorities.

Our mission is to facilitate dissenting voices. Facilitating more conflict, not less. To paraphrase the famous provocateur Christopher Hitchens: it is the open conflict between ideas and principles that can lead to clarity in any democratic state.

A consensual society is not a desired utopia. It is always tyranny.

Editor-controlled media has some advantages that social media does not.

At the same time that we can expand the space of conflict, we can be a haven free from the storms. Editors can edit out the constant cancellations that abound on social media. Those who live their lives in the world of TikTok are characterized by crude social censorship and ridiculous demands for correction.

We must highlight what makes our platforms better, smarter and more efficient to express ourselves. Our mission is to show that you can have a lot of opinions on a lot of conflict-ridden topics, without it costing you your home, your job, your future, and your social status.

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Seven out of ten people in Norway never participate in public debate. Those under 30 are terribly underrepresented. You could say that's always been the case. Public self-expression has always been the prerogative of the established elite. But we are now at a turning point in history.

It is also part of NRK's ​​social mission to recognize this. We hope to lead the way in changing that.

Dalila Awolowo

Dalila Awolowo

"Explorer. Unapologetic entrepreneur. Alcohol fanatic. Certified writer. Wannabe tv evangelist. Twitter fanatic. Student. Web scholar. Travel buff."

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