Fortifying boundaries

The “how and why” of the Finnish media and countermedia from 2014 to 2018


  • Olli Seuri Tampere University
  • Pihla Toivanen University of Helsinki



boundary work, countermedia, alternative media, fake news, journalism


This article examines how recent changes in the hybrid media environment have led media actors to define the “how and why” of their practices. We consider the discussion on the differences and similarities surrounding both the legacy media, and newcomers such as countermedia, to be part of journalism’s boundary work: the ongoing, yet temporally fickle, process of marking the boundaries between journalism and non-journalism. We demonstrate how both legacy and countermedia actors drew boundaries through vocabulary, institutional reflection, demarcation practices, and ethos. While the Finnish media underlined its institutional autonomy and dominance by defending the social good of journalism and dubbing countermedia as fake media, countermedia actor MV-lehti drew its own boundaries by ridiculing media professionals, media institutions, and journalists. Our findings illustrate how these actors consistently asserted the flawed ideological foundations of “the other”, with the consequence that boundaries have become fortified, rather than crossed or blurred.

Author Biographies

Olli Seuri, Tampere University

Olli Seuri, DSocSci, is a postdoctoral researcher at the Faculty of Social Sciences at Tampere University. His interests include history and journalism, recent changes in information environment and the future of journalism. He is a co-author of a popular non-fiction book Totuuden jälkeen (“Post-truth”). He is also a former Professor of Practice in Journalism and a practicing journalist.

Pihla Toivanen, University of Helsinki

Pihla Toivanen, MSc, is a doctoral student at the Department of Digital Humanities, Faculty of Arts at the University of Helsinki. In her doctoral thesis, she is developing computational discourse analysis methods for media research. Previously she has studied computational frame analysis of Finnish counter media articles in her master’s thesis.


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How to Cite

Seuri, O., & Toivanen, P. (2021). Fortifying boundaries: The “how and why” of the Finnish media and countermedia from 2014 to 2018. Journalistica, 15(1).



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