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The European Union and Beyond

Differentiated Integration, EU- Dominance and the Control Function of Journalism

European Union
Hans-Jörg Trenz
University of Copenhagen
Hans-Jörg Trenz
University of Copenhagen
Asimina Michailidou
Universitetet i Oslo

Differentiated integration is a challenge to established media organisations and journalism and their function to guarantee broad news coverage of EU affairs and to hold EU government accountable. Brussels journalism is constrained by the same process of differentiation that is also characteristic of the development of EU governance. The challenge here is not only the national segmentation of journalist coverage, but the requirement for journalism specialization at a time when journalist resources are heavily constrained as an effect f digitization and globalization of media corporations. Coupled with the operation of EU journalism mostly within niche spheres, this results in the consistent reduction of visibility of EU news, except the most controversial dimensions of EU politics. In the challenging environment of digital journalism, established news organisations increasingly find it difficult to build capacities to follow the differentiation of EU governance and to critically address its arbitrary effects. We argue in this paper that there is a correlation between EU differentiation and journalism differentiation, which increases the phenomenon of EU-dominance, which is related to the experience of arbitrary power of non-accountable institutions and experts. We further address the implications of this development for the classical control functions of journalism and the role-understanding of EU journalism as a fourth power in democracy.
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