Skip to main content
Tampere University
phone number+358505099219
City Centre Campus

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.


I am an Associate Professor (tenrue 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. Another project that I lead is called "Individual paths of journalists" and it aims to follow the lives and careers of about 40 young journalists for ten years. The project is funded by Helsingin Sanomat Foundation. The project called "News Source Diversity Meter" aims to develop a data analytics tool for newsrooms that uses methods of natural language processing (NLP). It is funded by The Media Industry Research Foundation of Finland.

I also supervise PhD researchers and MA students, and I am the board chair of COMET Research Centre.

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

Tampere Research Centre for Journalism, Media and Communication, COMET.

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.]


Loosen, Wiebke, Ahva, Laura, Reimer, Julius, Solbach, Paul, Deuze, Mark, & Matzat, Lorenz. (2020). ‘X Journalism’. Exploring journalism’s diverse meanings through the names we give it. Journalism.

Hanitzsch, Thomas; Ahva, Laura; Oller Alonso, Martin; Arroyave, Jesus; Hermans, Liesbeth; Hovden, Jan Fredrik; Hughes, Sallie; Josephi, Beate; Ramaprasad, Jyotika; Shapiro, Ivor & Vos, Tim (2019). Journalistic Culture in a Global Context: A Conceptual Roadmap. In Worlds of Journalism: Journalistic Cultures Around the Globe, edited by Thomas Hanitzsch, Folker Hanusch, Jyotika Ramaprasad, and Arnold S. de Beer. New York: Columbia University Press, 23–46.

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. 

Gerlander, Maija; Hautakangas, Mikko & Ahva, Laura. (2018). Vuorovaikutuksen jännitteet toimittajan työssä: Sovittelujournalismin herättämiä näkökulmia. Prologi: Puheviestinnän vuosikirja 2018, 60–71. [The dimension of interaction in journalistic work: Insights from The Conciliatory Journalism Project, The Yearbook of Interpersonal Communication]  

Ahva, Laura & Wiard, Victor. (2018). Participation in Local Journalism: Assessing Two Approaches through Access, Dialogue and Deliberation. Sur le journalisme, About journalism, Sobre jornalismo 7: 2, 64–79. 

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.

Hautakangas, Mikko & Ahva, Laura. (2018). Sovittelujournalismi kirkastaa keskustelua. In Niemi, Mari K & Houni, Topi (eds.) Media & populismi: Työkaluja kriittiseen journalismiin. Tampere: Vastapaino, 278–303. [Conciliatory journalism clarifies public discussion, a chapter in a book Media & populism: Tools for critical journalism.]

Ahva, Laura (2018). Osallistuvan journalismin ankkuroivat käytännöt. Media & viestintä 41: 1, 75–96. [The anchoring practices of participatory journalism, Journal of Media and Communication]

Heikkilä, Heikki & Ahva, Laura. (2017). Las brechas que hacen significativa la investigación académica. Evaluación del impacto en Finlandia del proyecto Conexión Pública del Reino Unido. In Guerrero M.A. and A. Arriagada (eds.), Conexión Pública: Prácticas Cívicas y Uso de Medios en 5 Países. Mexico City: Universidad Iberoamericana & UNESCO, 48–68. [The Gaps that Make Research Meaningful: Evaluating the Impact of the UK Public Connection Project, in a book Public Connection: Civic Practices and Media Use in Five Countries.]

Mäenpää, Jenni & Ahva, Laura (2017). Opiskelu ja työelämä journalistin ammattiin sosiaalistajina. Työkokemukseen perustuva vertailu: tulokkaat, vakiintuvat ja konkarit. Media & viestintä 40: 1–2, 1–23. [University studies and working life as sites for socialization into journalism profession, Journal of Media and Communication.]

Ahva, Laura & Steensen, Steen (2017). Deconstructing digital journalism studies. In Franklin Bob, Eldridge Scott A. (eds) The Routledge Companion to Digital Journalism Studies. Abingon, Oxon, UK: Routledge, 25–34.

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.



See: Tampere University Research portal.