Success and Failure in News Media Performance

Comparative Analysis in The Media for Democracy Monitor 2021
Editor(s): Josef Trappel, Tales Tomaz

The Media for Democracy Monitor (MDM) assesses the performance of leading news media in mature democracies with regard to three core dimensions of democracy: freedom, equality, and control. After monitoring 10 countries in 2011, the MDM project expanded to cover leading news media of 18 democracies in 2021. In this book, the most salient results from the MDM were selected to undergo  cross-country and longitudinal comparison, searching for patterns and tendencies across countries, 
with a particular focus on the influence of digitalisation. Some of the key results are the ubiquitousness of the news media’s financial crisis, increasing consumption gaps as younger generations prefer online platforms, and persisting gender inequalities, both in news content and in newsrooms. However, the volume also shows that the reach of news media remains high, the watchdog role and investigative journalism are increasingly relevant in daily practice, and that public service media, in general, continue to play a vital role for democracy. These results have implications for media policies, regulations, and practices to improve news quality and, ultimately, democracy worldwide.




Josef Trappel & Tales Tomaz 

1. Democracy at stake: On the need of news media monitoring
Tales Tomaz & Josef Trappel


2. Countering misinformation in and from the newsroom: How digital platforms redefine journalistic practice and the democratic role of news media
Eva Mayerhöffer, Marinella Belluati, Brooks DeCillia, Leen d’Haenens, Alice Fubini, Wai Han Lo, Enrique Núñez-Mussa, Jón Gunnar Ólafsson, & Rossella Rega

3. Protecting journalists from harassment: Comparing existing protection mechanisms and the effects on democracy
Alice Baroni, Leen d’Haenens, & Wai Han Lo

4. Gender inequalities in and through the media: Comparing gender inequalities in the media across countries
Claudia Padovani, Marinella Belluati, Achilleas Karadimitriou, Christine Horz-Ishak, & Alice Baroni

5. Investigative journalism and the watchdog role of news media: Between acute challenges and exceptional counterbalances
Achilleas Karadimitriou, Torbjörn von Krogh, Christian Ruggiero, Cecilia Biancalana, Mauro Bomba, & Wai Han Lo


6. Comparing news media reach: Exploring effects of asymmetric news media consumption
Heinz Bonfadelli, Valgerður Jóhannsdóttir, Lars Nord, & Hanne Vandenberghe

7. Soaring media ownership concentration: Comparing the effects of digitalisation on media pluralism and diversity
Josef Trappel & Werner A. Meier

8. Commercial influence in newsrooms: Comparing strategies to resist pressure from owners and advertisers
Tales Tomaz, Joaquim Fidalgo, John Grönvall, & Josef Trappel

9. Public service media: Exploring the influence of strong public service media on democracy
Barbara Thomass, Joaquim Fidalgo, John Grönvall, Achilleas Karadimitriou, & Lars Nord

10. Ethical codes of conduct in journalism: Demands for a digitalising mediascape
Joaquim Fidalgo, Barbara Thomass, Christian Ruggiero, Mauro Bomba, Simone Sallusti, & Torbjörn von Krogh

11. Media accountability: A cross-country comparison of content monitoring instruments and institutionalised mechanisms to control news media performance
Barbara Thomass, Francesco Marrazzo, Werner A. Meier, Gordon Ramsay, & Mark Blach-Ørsten


12. Media transparency: Comparing how leading news media balance the need for transparency with professional ethics
Werner A. Meier & Josef Trappel

13. Journalistic practices contesting the concept of internal pluralism: Mapping strategies for internal diversity in and through the news
Enrique Núñez-Mussa, Kari Karppinen, & Hanne Vandenberghe

14. Practising democracy in the newsroom: Comparing practices of news processing, conflict resolution, and hiring
Josef Trappel, Joaquim Fidalgo, & Achilleas Karadimitriou


15. The professionalisation of journalism: Global trends and the challenges of training and job insecurity
Christian Ruggiero, Achilleas Karadimitriou, Wai Han Lo, Enrique Núñez-Mussa, Mauro Bomba, & Simone Sallusti

16. Innovation in journalism: How technology affects the news media, publication formats, and the journalist profession
Leen d’Haenens, Wai Han Lo, & Martin Moore ​​​​​​​