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Department of Communication and Media Research International & Comparative Media Research

Comparing Online News Under Different Market Conditions

A cross-national study of online news performance

Edda Humprecht & Frank Esser

The last decade has seen a dramatic shift from print to online media in many Western countries. The emergence of the Internet has reshaped how people use the news and journalists produce the news. This transition was accompanied by economic troubles as ‘old’ media found their traditional business model threatened by the Internet and ‘new’ media start-ups are still searching for working business models. This project aims to answer the question as to which economic context conditions are most conducive to online media providing high news performance. We analyze the relationship between economic conditions and online news performance in different market environments, namely Switzerland, Germany, France, Italy, the U.K. and the U.S.A. The research design is informed by contributions from several disciplines. The Structure-Conduct-Performance paradigm (SCP) from the field of economics will serve as the theoretical framework. SCP is a well-accepted method of market analysis with roots in industrial organization theory and has been applied in media economics and media market research before. The measurement of news performance draws upon the core data gathering method of the communications discipline, namely quantitative content analysis. The statistical analysis of combining structural market data with news output data will be done with Qualitative Comparative Analysis (QCA). This project aims to answer the Research Question which constellations of economic conditions (ownership type, revenue structure, competitive situation) are most favorable for high news performance (understood as championing hard news, pluralism, analytical depth, accountability reporting, and audience participation). This is highly relevant for the current debate on the future of journalism and e-democracy.

Weiterführende Informationen

International & Comparative Media Research