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About me

I am a journalism researcher and educator. I have a doctorate (Doctor of Social Sciences) in Journalism and Mass Communication from Tampere University. I am Docent at the University of Helsinki. Here is a short profile video about me. 


I am an Associate Professor (tenure track) of journalism studies at the Faculty of Information Technology and Communication Sciences.  

My current project is a five-year (2020-2025) Academy of Finland Research Fellow project called "The Future of Dispersed Journalism: The Power of Start-ups, Metrics Analysis and Event Production" . This project investigates how start-up culture, metrics analysis and event production have become part of journalism in Finland. I also lead a project called "Individual paths of journalists" and it aims to follow the lives and careers of about 40 young journalists for ten years. Another project deals with datafication of journalism and how it shapes the relationship between journalists and audiences. Both projects are funded by Helsingin Sanomat Foundation.

I also act as the associate director of Taru – Research Centre for Communication Sciences. 

I also supervise PhD researchers and MA students.

Fields of expertise

The themes I have been interested in throughout my research career are: (1) the democratic and constructive role of journalism in society, (2), the relationship between journalists and the audience, (3) journalistic work practices, and how to improve them, (4) participation in the media: why and how people use the media so that they sometimes want to take part in producing it, and (5) the changing nature of journalism and its future, and how to theorize it.

Main positions of trust

I am currently a member of the editorial board of Digital Journalism, and the international editorial borad of Media & Journalismo.

I am also one of the founders of Nordic Forum for Social Responsibility in Journalism, and a board member of Sopiva ry, The Finnish Association for Conciliatory Journalists .  

Research topics

Journalism, journalistic work, practice theory, participation, journalism movements (public journalism, conciliatory journalism), audiences, news use, the public sphere. 

Research unit

Taru – Research Centre for Communication Sciences

Research fields

Communication sciences, media studies, journalism studies.


Current funding: Academy of Finland

Research career

In 2018-2020 I was a Senior Research Fellow at the Institute for Advaced Social Research at Tampere University, and before that at Research Centre COMET. There I acted as th e principal investigator in the research project titled "Conciliatory Journalism" (2016-2017). This action research project developed ways how journalism can act as a mediator between conflicting parties in various disputes. 

My postdoc research project (2013-2016) analysed how and why the notion of ‘participation’ has become consolidated in European journalism practice. The study concentrated on recognised participatory journalism in Finland, Sweden and Paris/Brussels. My article based on the study was awarded in 2018. 

I have also acted as the national coordinator (2012-2017) in Finland for the second wave of Worlds of Journalism Study that assesses the state of journalism throughout the world. A book comparing journalists in 67 countries was released in 2019. I have also worked with the comparative research initiative Journalism Students Across the Globe. 

Previously I have worked in research projects dealing with audiences ('Amateur images: A comparative study on how user-generated content is shaping journalism' and 'Towards Engaging Journalism'). My PhD dissertation (2010) analysed forms of public journalism in the Finnish press.

Selected publications


Steen Steensen, Ahva Laura (eds.). (2017). Theories of Journalism in a Digital Age. Abingon, Oxon, UK: Routledge. 

Heikkilä, Heikki; Ahva, Laura, Siljamäki, Jaana & Valtonen, Sanna (2012). Kelluva kiinnostavuus: Journalismin merkitys ihmisten sosiaalisissa verkostoissa. Tampere: Vastapaino. [Co-authored book: Slippery engagement: The relevance of journalism in everyday social networks.] 


Noppari, Elina; Hiltunen, Ilmari & Ahva, Laura. (2019). User profiles for populist counter-media websites in Finland. Journal of Alternative and Community Media 4 (1), 23-37.  

Ahva, Laura & Steen Steensen. (2019). Journalism Theory. In The Handbook of Journalism Studies, Second Edition edited by Wahl-Jorgensen, Karin, & Thomas Hanitzsch. New York: Routledge, 38–54.  

Hautakangas, Mikko & Ahva, Laura (2018). Introducing a New Form of Socially Responsible Journalism: Experiences from the Conciliatory Journalism Project. Journalism Practice 12: 6, 730–746. 

Ahva, Laura; van Dalen, Arjen; Hovden, Jan Fredrik; Kolbeins, Guðbjörg Hildur; Löfgren Nilsson, Monica, Morten, Skovsgaard; Väliverronen, Jari (2017). A Welfare State of Mind? Nordic journalists' conception of their role and autonomy in international context. Journalism Studies 18: 5, 595–613. 

Ahva, Laura (2017). How is Participation Practiced by “In-betweeners” of Journalism? Journalism Practice 11: 2–3, 142–159. 

Ahva, Laura (2017). Practice Theory for Journalism Studies. Journalism Studies 18: 12, 1523-1541. 

Latest publications