Objective

'Ageing Societies' are societies with a rapidly ageing population, a growing share of older persons and a decreasing share of younger persons. This research project examines how the Swiss Ageing Society is covered over the period 2014-2017 in three German-language Swiss newspapers (quality newspaper NZZ, tabloid newspaper Blick and free newspaper 20 Minuten). The project investigates how these newspapers represent, label and define the Swiss Ageing Society, which related topics they discuss, which frames they use and which actors are held accountable for solving policies; such as the government, enterprises, nonprofit groups or individuals. The various newspapers may allocate the responsiblities differently and  present a different image of the Swiss Ageing Society - think for instance of a ‘economic catastrophe’ or instead a ‘great human achievement’.

Background

Switzerland’s population is ageing at an impressive pace. The life expectancy rises, fertility decreases and the migration is not able to counter this ageing tendency. With ever fewer people in the labour market and ever more retirees, Switzerland has to develop solutions to keep for instance the pensions and old age and survivors care insurance (German: 'AHV') sustainable, or to recruit enough health professionals for the increasing demand. With regard to such broad challenges, newspapers have proven to affect the public opinion. The newspaper coverage of the Swiss Ageing Society may therefore influence the public attitude towards policies addressing the implications of the Ageing Society.

Significance

Currently, no empirical data about the representation of the Ageing Society are available yet in Switzerland. This study therefore provides first-time empirical results and aims to fill said research gap. Social relevance is assured: how the Ageing Society and its opportunities and challenges for the Swiss welfare systems are represented in three influential newspapers is important for the public opinion and possible public policy acceptance; even more so against the backdrop of the Swiss direct democracy.

 

Funding

The Swiss National Science Foundation (SNF) supports this project with a three year research grant.