Bioenergy in national newspapers in Finland and Sweden


The use of bioenergy has been emphasized both at European Union and national level in Finland and Sweden, and an extensive amount of research has been done on various aspects of bioenergy, in particular on different technical aspects of it. However, portrayals of bioenergy or even forestry in general, have been on focus in much smaller number of studies. The main aim of this study is to examine how bioenergy has been portrayed in domestic context by two national daily newspapers, Helsingin Sanomat in Finland and Svenska Dagbladet in Sweden, during one year time period of November 2008 through November 2009. Content analysis techniques and chi-square tests have been applied in the data analysis. Data is analyzed and presented with regard to different issue attributes (issue image, spatial and temporal issue scope, issue linkage, issue participants and sources for information), and bioenergy discourses (agri-ruralist, hedonist, utilitarian, community sustainability, nature conservation). The results show that in both Helsingin Sanomat and Svenska Dagbladet bioenergy usually has a positive image. The findings also indicate that industry has a significant role not only as an issue participant but also as a source for information on bioenergy in both of the studied newspapers. Whereas in Helsingin Sanomat utilitarian discourse was the most often used discourse being identified in every second article, in Svenska Dagbladet community sustainability discourse prevailed being used in every third article. Bioenergy was rarely discussed in the context of rural areas and rural development or innovations in these newspapers. It is suggested that the results of this study can be used for understanding the bioenergy debate in Sweden and Finland, and also for understanding what type of bioenergy related issues are considered newsworthy under the recent debates on bioenergy.

Keywords: bioenergy discourses, biofuels, energy discourses, forestry, innovations, rural development, wood energy.

Kähkönen, Tanja. 2010. Bioenergy in national newspapers in Finland and Sweden. University of Eastern Finland, Faculty of Science and Forestry, Master’s thesis in European Forestry, 49 p.


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