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The Volkswagen Scandal : Let’s clear the air

Mesch, Sarah LU (2016) MKVM13 20161
Media and Communication Studies
Department of Communication and Media
Abstract
This thesis investigates the Swedish media’s reporting on the VW emission scandal that took place in the fall of 2015. By using a qualitative approach data was collected from three of Sweden’s largest newspapers; Aftonbladet, Expressen and Dagens Nyheter and processed with analytic tools and content analysis inspired by CDA. The aim of this study is to gain a fundamental understanding of the dynamics of how this scandal has evolved in Swedish media.
The study identified a number of agents involved in the scandal, and categorized them based on what role they were made to fill in the narrative. These agents were then seen taking a passive or active role in the course of the scandal and depending on their subject, played the villain, victim... (More)
This thesis investigates the Swedish media’s reporting on the VW emission scandal that took place in the fall of 2015. By using a qualitative approach data was collected from three of Sweden’s largest newspapers; Aftonbladet, Expressen and Dagens Nyheter and processed with analytic tools and content analysis inspired by CDA. The aim of this study is to gain a fundamental understanding of the dynamics of how this scandal has evolved in Swedish media.
The study identified a number of agents involved in the scandal, and categorized them based on what role they were made to fill in the narrative. These agents were then seen taking a passive or active role in the course of the scandal and depending on their subject, played the villain, victim or a passive part in the scandal’s narrative.

This particular scandal revolves around an organization, with the precise internal responsibility being unknown. For this reason, media’s treatment of the organization and its management as agents deviates from a standard simplistic theoretical framework. One example of this is when the CEO of the organization resigned, and filled the role of a scapegoat even though his involvement in the scandal was not clear, hence illustrates a problem with individualization in scandals. The media was also shown to use characteristics stereotypically connected to VW and Germans in order to emphasize how norms had been broken.

The content analysis inspired by CDA clearly highlights underlying values and intentions regarding the reporting. We see that actors with an active role tend to be assigned some moral weight in order to fit into the story being told and capture the readers’ interest, while other actors are involved in the scandal without filling a morally relevant role. We can also see clearly how metaphors are being used in order to convey certain notions.

Revealing these intentions and values is important in order to understand the nature of scandals, and is essential whenever themes such as values in the media are discussed. (Less)
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author
Mesch, Sarah LU
supervisor
organization
course
MKVM13 20161
year
type
H2 - Master's Degree (Two Years)
subject
keywords
Dieselgate, Emission, Volkswagen, News, Scandal, Media, Framing
language
English
id
8888158
date added to LUP
2016-09-08 13:17:49
date last changed
2016-09-08 13:17:49
@misc{8888158,
  abstract     = {This thesis investigates the Swedish media’s reporting on the VW emission scandal that took place in the fall of 2015. By using a qualitative approach data was collected from three of Sweden’s largest newspapers; Aftonbladet, Expressen and Dagens Nyheter and processed with analytic tools and content analysis inspired by CDA. The aim of this study is to gain a fundamental understanding of the dynamics of how this scandal has evolved in Swedish media. 
The study identified a number of agents involved in the scandal, and categorized them based on what role they were made to fill in the narrative. These agents were then seen taking a passive or active role in the course of the scandal and depending on their subject, played the villain, victim or a passive part in the scandal’s narrative.

This particular scandal revolves around an organization, with the precise internal responsibility being unknown. For this reason, media’s treatment of the organization and its management as agents deviates from a standard simplistic theoretical framework. One example of this is when the CEO of the organization resigned, and filled the role of a scapegoat even though his involvement in the scandal was not clear, hence illustrates a problem with individualization in scandals. The media was also shown to use characteristics stereotypically connected to VW and Germans in order to emphasize how norms had been broken.

The content analysis inspired by CDA clearly highlights underlying values and intentions regarding the reporting. We see that actors with an active role tend to be assigned some moral weight in order to fit into the story being told and capture the readers’ interest, while other actors are involved in the scandal without filling a morally relevant role. We can also see clearly how metaphors are being used in order to convey certain notions.

Revealing these intentions and values is important in order to understand the nature of scandals, and is essential whenever themes such as values in the media are discussed.},
  author       = {Mesch, Sarah},
  keyword      = {Dieselgate,Emission,Volkswagen,News,Scandal,Media,Framing},
  language     = {eng},
  note         = {Student Paper},
  title        = {The Volkswagen Scandal : Let’s clear the air},
  year         = {2016},
}