Narrating “Their War” and “Our War”

The Patriotic Journalism Paradigm in the Context of Swedish and Ukrainian Conflict Coverage


  • Nina Springer University of Münster
  • Gunnar Nygren Södertörn University, Stockholm
  • Andreas Widholm Stockholm University
  • Dariya Orlova National University of Kyiv-Mohyla Academy
  • Daria Taradai National University of Kyiv-Mohyla Academy



Patriotic Journalism, Ukraine, Sweden, Conflict Coverage, Reconstructive Interviews


“Patriotic journalism,” a deviation from objectivity, has become an important paradigm and well-documented phenomenon in the analysis of conflict coverage. However, studies rarely focus on the link between journalists’ perceptions and narratives. We investigated how journalists from two countries, one involved in a conflict (Ukraine) and the other observing it from a distance (Sweden) relate to the objectivity norm in sourcing and narrating seven conflictive news cases in Ukraine (2017 to 2018). We found pragmatic commitment to objectivity in both countries, which was not always reflected in the content produced. For Swedish journalists, our results hint toward a value-based ally loyalty, which seems less stable than a tribe-based bond. In Ukraine, official Ukrainian perspectives were undisputedly disseminated; however, we did not find that they were generally positively laden, as one would expect for patriotic journalists. Trust in public institutions might be a deciding factor over the extent of patriotism.

Author Biographies

Nina Springer, University of Münster

Nina Springer is a Professor of media and communication with a focus on journalism studies at the University of Münster, Germany. Her research interests include the analysis of journalistic routines and viewpoint diversity in public discourses. Together with Gunnar Nygren, she is a principal investigator for the Worlds of Journalism Study in Sweden.

Gunnar Nygren, Södertörn University, Stockholm

Gunnar Nygren is a Senior Professor of journalism at Södertörn University, Stockholm. He has been researching journalism in Central and Eastern Europe for several projects, for example, the coverage of the war in Ukraine in 2014 and a comparative study of journalistic cultures in Sweden, Poland, and Russia. His main interests are in journalistic work and professional ideals in Sweden, as well as in comparative studies.

Andreas Widholm, Stockholm University

Andreas Widholm is an Associate Professor of journalism in the Department of Media Studies at Stockholm University, Sweden. His research focuses on journalism and political communication in transnational and digital media contexts. He has previously studied conflict reporting from Ukraine for television news channels such as Euronews, BBC World News, and RT. He currently directs a research project titled The Hybridization of Political Communication: Politicized News Formats and the Boundaries of Journalism.

Dariya Orlova, National University of Kyiv-Mohyla Academy

Dariya Orlova is a Senior Lecturer at the National University of Kyiv-Mohyla Academy, Ukraine. The areas of her research work have included the transformation of media and journalism in Ukraine, media coverage of the conflict in the eastern part of Ukraine (2014-15), journalists’ professional identity in post-Euromaidan Ukraine, media use and attitudes toward narratives on the ‘Donbas conflict’ among residents of Donbas, and media use among border populations in Ukraine.

Daria Taradai, National University of Kyiv-Mohyla Academy

Daria Taradai is a Senior Lecturer at the National University of Kyiv-Mohyla Academy, Ukraine. She has participated in several international research projects devoted to aspects of media coverage of the war in Ukraine. Also, Daria is a media practitioner, working for international media in Ukraine. She is mainly interested in war coverage and media literacy.


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How to Cite

Springer, N., Nygren, G., Widholm, A., Orlova, D., & Taradai, D. (2022). Narrating “Their War” and “Our War”: The Patriotic Journalism Paradigm in the Context of Swedish and Ukrainian Conflict Coverage. Central European Journal of Communication, 15(2(31), 178-201.



Scientific Papers