The purpose of this article is to shed light on a new phenomenon in the media landscape, namely public organisations taking on the role of news producers. The analysis focuses on the digital news site VGRfokus, which is run by the Swedish county council Region Västra Götaland (VGR). The articulated goal of VGRfocus is to fill a perceived news gap in the county. Using previous literature on hyperlocal media as a lens for the analysis, we discuss how a regional news outlet produced by a public organisation can be characterised and understood. Based on our case study, we show that, while VGRfokus partly resembles other newcomers, it also has features that make it a very special news producer. This distinctiveness relates in particular to the fact that VGRfokus is part of a large, public organisation and holds ambitions to promote the work of the county council and represent its geographical area. This places issues concerning trustworthiness and credibility at the centre of the discussion and raises questions about democratic implications.

Publication timeframe:
2 times per year
Journal Subjects:
Social Sciences, Communication Science, Mass Communication, Public and Political Communication