(by David Nordfors and Turo Uskali)
Erkki Kauhanen and Elina Noppari at the University of Tampere have now released the results of their research on innovation journalism in Finland, a project that has been going on for two years with funding from Tekes, the national Finnish agency for technology and innovation.
The study is the largest single compilation to date of empirical research on innovation journalism, setting a benchmark for future research. This seminal Finnish research has more emphasis on social innovations than previous work. This is clearly its most important achievement, and contribution to innovation journalism research.
Erkki and Elina argue for a wider definition of the concept of innovation journalism than the orginal one (which they call "Nordforsian" InJo). The focus is not on the innovation ecosystem, rather on the future of society. We agree that more emphasis may have been put on social and cultural aspects in the original work, and it is definitely key for innovation journalism to be able to discuss the future. Still, it seems constructive to limit the definition of Innovation Journalism to journalism about innovation, covering innovation processes and ecosystems. Yes - all innovation affects the future and all innovation causes change, this is true. But not all change is innovation and not all of the future is set by it. So it does make sense to keep some distinction between innovation journalism and forward-looking journalism, and to journalism of change. InJo is a subset of these wider scopes. With this said, we are happy about this book and the discussion it raises.
The Finnish study points at important issues, such as that journalism covering innovation in Finland today does not present the future perspective very much. Another interesting finding is "the hyperdominance" of ICT themes among the technology innovation related topics at the cost of all other fields of technology. Furthermore, the emphasis of the stories are centered on Finnish perspectives on innovations, and not on the international dimensions of innovation processes. The study identifies several needs of improvement.
The report is available for download on the Finnish innovation journalism site and at Tekes official site.