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Mia-Marie Hammarlin



Media Scandals and Moral Transgressions in the Digital Era


  • Mia-Marie Hammarlin

Summary, in Swedish

This presentation contributes new perspectives to media scandals – a field where both moral and media transgressions are exposed – and illuminates the personal experience of being at the centre of such an event. By using phenomenological and anthropological perspectives upon an extensive empirical material to focus on how the scandal is experienced by the person at the centre of the scandal, the existential level of this phenomenon can be highlighted. How does such an experience affect a person’s everyday life? What happens to routines, trust and self-confidence? How does it change the initial settings of his or her life-world? The paper also contributes with new perspectives upon the fusion between interpersonal communication that takes place face-to-face, such as gossip and rumours, and traditional news media when a scandal is at stake. A scandal gets its momentum through the audiences, as researchers have shown (Bird 1997; Wästerfors 2005, 2008; Hammarlin 2015). Their engagement in the moral story determines the spreading and length of it; for how long it will survive in the public and also how it will affect the protagonist. Mainly, people show their participation through traditional oral communication, which finds its ways, and also strength, through activities in digital, social forums. I argue that gossip and rumours must be included in the idea of the media system (Haarvad & Lundell 2010) to be able to understand the formation and power of a media scandal, which ends up in a critique of John B Thompsons (2008) division between so called “local scandals” and “media scandals”. With these categories Thompson wishes to pinpoint a clear transition from an oral culture to a more text oriented one, where a scandal is not only transmitted but also created through traditional and new media. But oral communication does not disappear when new communication possibilities arise. Rather it may be invigorated by it.


  • Journalistik
  • Medie- och kommunikationsvetenskap
  • Administration






Konferensbidrag: abstract


  • Media Studies


  • media scandal, gossip, rumour, media system, journalism
  • media scandals
  • gossip
  • rumours
  • media systems
  • journalism

Conference name

The Marcus Wallenberg International Conference on Media and Transgression

Conference date

2016-03-17 - 2016-03-17

Conference place

Lund, Sweden




  • Mediedrevets mekanismer och aktörer (finaniserat av HT-fakulteterna/financed by the Faculties of Humanities and Theology, Lund University