Getting access to the latest news is easy in Sweden. For many people, newspapers are part of the daily routine. The evening news is one of the most popular TV programs. Here`s a brief overview of what the Swedish news supply looks like:
The average Swedish family, referred to with the term Villa (house), Volvo (car), Vovve (sound of a dog), is generally expected to have a newspaper subscription. The choice is wide but the most popular newspapers are Dagens Nyheter and Svenska Dagbladet. The paper is usually read over coffee and before the reader goes to work.
`Swedish newspaper spend a lot of attention to international news`
During the day
Whoever goes to work, school or uni in another way than by car is likely to find free newspapers on his way. They are distributed in stations, shops, restaurants and a variety of other public places. The most-read one is Metro, reaching 1.5 million Swedes. Sweden is actually the country where the free newspaper trend was initiated: the Metro Stockholm edition was first released in 1995. Since then, the concept of free and independent newspapers has expanded to many other countries across Europe.
Jenny (photo) and Henrik (both 24), with whom I am staying in H?rn?sand, help me read today`s newspaper. It reports about the arriving flue epidemic, web terror, breast cancer awareness and football player Zlatan`s new villa in Malm?. A few local incidents involving killings and robbery complete the coverage of today.
Jenny explains that most newspapers spend a substantial amount of pages on foreign news. The situation in Burma has been an recurring subject over the last few days. Iraq, Afghanistan and the threat of terrorism are other subjects that gain significant attention in the press. Europe is not particularly popular as a subject and it is not often mentioned as a separate news category. `Sweden has lost a lot of its interest in Europe at the moment the EU were discussing the required curve of a banana and the length of a cucumber. That, to many people, was the prove that the EU is about rules and regulations, and that is does not serve the everyday man or woman in any way.
Although free newspapers and the internet have started keeping young people from buying newspapers, selling papers for the latter are maintained at a very high level. A wide choice of evening newspapers, existing next to the morning ones, proves that paper is still a very popular medium for transmitting news. Aftonbladet and Expressen are the biggest evening newspapers. They are generally expected to bring the news in a more lightly way than the morning papers, and the choice of information leans more towards gossip than to serious policy matters.
Other sources of info
The paper news coverage is further complemented by the TV news. Although many Swedes are reluctant to admit that they even have a TV, the 6 o`clock evening news on the ad-free state TV channels can count on high numbers of viewers. For the sake of completeness, the reluctance to declare `TV possession` has not got anything to do with the quality of the TV programs. Most Swedish homes have constant access to cable signal, but they only need to pay cable subscription once they actually use it - and so they claim they don`t. This practice has been detected up until the highest ranks of national politics, which has led the new government to propose banning the media subscription altogether.
For all other matters concerning the supply of information, the Swedes are very fanatic about remaining well-informed. Being able to follow or participate in discussions about the news is considered a virtue. Many young Swedish people will be happy to use their language skills to collect even more information than they already have access to. The resulting insights are then used for two things that Swedes are particularly good at: remaining neutral as a country, but, on the individual level, being actively involved through the non-governmental action groups of your choice.
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