University of Tampere
The Power of Media = Publicity
The pluralist concept of publicity: people can be visible all in
full difference at the same time (f.ex. in youth cultures online)
Today, the young are seen as active, participatory audiences
sharing and exchanging information, ideas, experiencing as
media consumers and public agents
(cf. Arendt 1958; McQuail 2000)
How about mainstream media?
Mainly, the young are presented as victims or top experts,
for example as the winners of different competitions, i.e.
from the view points of adults
(cf.Raundalen & Steen 2002; Unga i media 2002).
For the young, it is challenging to reach the cross
generational publicity, for example initiating discussions
on political matters (Kotilainen & Rantala 2008; 2009).
Youth Voice Editorial Board, Helsinki
It works as a news agency delivering material and stories to different media.
Young people in Helsinki produce media content into the mainstream media:
public discussions and debates with experts and politicians on topical issues
important to them. The teens are trained to write articles and produce TV
programs with the help of professionals, leading journalists and youth workers.
Youngsters participating in Youth Voice
Editorial Board 2007 (Kotilainen & Rantala 2008):
”We are not visible in the media! I want to become visible. I
want to have my say.” (girl, 14)
“The media does not take youth seriously. They pigeonhole us:
Youth are interested in nothing, we break the law etc…"Youth
Voice" is only heard in youth media.” (girl, 15)
Four Types of Civic Identities of Young People in
Relation to Media
Thin Civic Strong Civic
Seekers: looking for civic Communalists:
Thin Mediated Civic issues to engage, influence in their own
Connectedness communities to connect and small life sphere, do not
spaces to act consider more public
Strong Mediated Civic Communicators: Activists: the young
Connectedness connected via media to who have common
communities, do not see issues they want to
this interaction in political make public and public
terms spaces to act
(Kotilainen & Rantala 2009)
Critical tones towards media: examples from
media diaries, April 2010
I visited – again – the online newspaper and read some
interesting news. Many of the news were about the chaos
caused by the ash cloud [from a volcanic eruption in
Iceland]. When reading about Finnair [Finnish airplane
company] I couldn‟t avoid thinking whether the media
was treating it in a unfair manner, after all the company
had tried to get the stucked passangers to Finland by for
example sending busses to Germany, and they had not
left them totally without help (urban girl 14, Finland)
...But friends, many unlawful activities are also done
through media which can harm the reputation of the
country. - - - Today‟s children use internet, mobile, phone
etc and also use the hacking software to destroy the
businesses of people. - - - Due to this the citizens of our
country are not permitted to go abroad. The people of
other countries also refuse to do business with us
(urban boy 14, India)
So I turned on the radio. They were talking about school
holiday that pupils and students were about to start. How
they should behave at home, what kind of friends they
should have and walk with. I was glad with Citizen FM on
their good work. You are really hoping the youth to know
what to do at the right time. (Kenya, urban female 14)
Youths' interest in societal issues via media are seemingly not
dependent on the technical device. The difference seems to be the
mode of participation, dependent on access to media (at least).
Worldwide, media should take seriously youngsters' willingness to
(Kotilainen, Suoninen, Hirsjärvi, Kolomainen 2010, coming)
Arendt, Hannah (1958) The Human Condition. University of Chicago Press.
Kotilainen, Sirkku & Rantala, Leena (2008) Nuorten kansalaisidentiteetit ja
mediakasvatus. Nuorisotutkimusverkoston julkaisuja.
Kotilainen, Sirkku & Rantala. Leena (2009) „From Seekers to Activists:
Characteristics of youth civic identities in relation to media.‟ Information,
Communication & Society 12:5, 658-677.
Kotilainen, Sirkku, Suoninen, Annikka, Hirsjärvi, Irma, Kolomainen Sara
(2010): Youngsters‟ Expressions of Responsible Citizenship through Media
Diaries. NORDICOM Yearbook, Coming.
McQuail, D. (2000) McQuail’s Mass Communication Theory. Sage
Raundahlen M. ja Steen J. V. 2002. Children in newspapers: A World
Survey. World Association of Newspapers.
Unga i media 2002. Ungdomsstyrelsen. Ungdomsstyrelsens skrifter