Category Archives: Comparative media research

2015 Reuters Institute Digital News Report

2015 DNRThe 2015 Reuters Institute Digital News Report is now out. We are launching it in London and will discuss it around the hashtag #risj15 on Twitter.

Three main takeaways from the report across the 12 countries covered–

1) An accelerating move to mobile web use, with desktop use (for news) down and tablet use stagnant in many countries.

2) The increasing importance of digital intermediaries like search engines and social media, more than anything Facebook, in how people find news online.

3) Mounting commercial challenges for news media in terms of the move to mobile (where advertising is even more difficult), the rise of ad-blocking software, and no significant increase in the number of people paying for digital news.

The main report, written by Nic Newman with input from David Levy and myself and research support from Richard Fletcher is available on our dedicated website

There, you can also find supplementary essays by BBC Heads of News James Harding, Director of the Two Center for Digital Journalism Emily Bell and others, as well as interactive graphics with the data and data from previous years.

Nic, with his usual energy, insight, and talent for communication, has also made a video covering the main points in a 100 seconds. (That’s less than 1 second per page.)

Everything is also freely available for download. Thanks to all our partners for supporting this project. We hope it will be of use to journalists, media professionals, researchers, and anyone else interested in the future of news.

4 x come work with me!

From 2016 onwards we at the Reuters Institute for the Study of Journalism are expanding our Digital News Report with a much wider range of research on developments in the media business, in media policy, and in news media start-ups across Europe.

We will be hiring four post doctoral research fellows to work with David Levy, Nic Newman and myself on what will be an exceptionally exciting comparative news media research project. This is a great chance to come to Oxford and be part of a strong, interdisciplinary, and growing research team with strong connections to practicing journalists, the news media, and various digital media.

Deadline for application is July 3. Links below to each of the positions.

RISJ seeks 4 new researchers for project on Digital News Media

We are seeking to appoint four Research Fellows to work on a 3 year project aimed at analysing media developments in more than 20 European countries, with a particular emphasis on digital media, news, and politics.

Each post has a different focus, though it is expected that they will work closely together on this exciting new project.  For further details please visit the individual job pages on the Department of Politics website:

New edited book on local journalism out

Local journalismLocal Journalism: the decline of newspapers and the rise of digital media, has just been published by I.B. Tauris. It contains a range of analysis of local news media ecosystems, relations between local journalists and various other actors  in local communities, and of hyperlocal news sites across a range of high income democracies in the Western Europe and North America.

I edited this book because local journalism is important, because it is often overlooked by academics as well as in discussions around the future of journalism, and because the contributors to the book had some really interesting things to say about how local journalism is developing, including in terms of differences and similarities across various countries.

The first chapter is available for free download here, and the book can be purchased through the usual routes including the publisher or Amazon.

Full description, nice words of praise from Bob Franklin and David Ryfe, as well as the list of contributors and the table of contents all below.

Local Journalism: the decline of newspapers and the rise of digital media

Edited by: Rasmus Kleis Nielsen

For more than a century, local journalism has been taken almost for granted. But the twenty-first century has brought major challenges. The newspaper industry that has historically provided most local coverage is in decline and it is not yet clear whether digital media will sustain new forms of local journalism.

This book provides an international overview of the challenges facing changing forms of local journalism today. It identifies the central role that diminished newspapers still play in local media ecosystems, analyses relations between local journalists and politicians, government officials, community activists and ordinary citizens, and examines the uneven rise of new forms of digital local journalism. Together, the chapters present a multi-faceted portrait of the precarious present and uncertain future of local journalism in the Western world.

“This is a detailed, research-based and comparative account of developments in local news and journalism at a time of structural change and transition in local news ecosystems. It reasserts the significance of local news and journalism for local communities and their economic, political, social and cultural life and sets a benchmark for future studies of local news and journalism during a period of change and uncertainty.”

Bob Franklin, Professor of Journalism Studies, Cardiff University

“Journalism is changing, nowhere more rapidly than in locally produced news.  This book provides an on-the-ground glimpse of these changes as they are taking place across Europe, the UK, and the United States.  An invaluable snapshot of a fast-moving process…and an important touchstone for research yet to be done!”

David Ryfe, Director of the School of Journalism and Mass Communication at the University of Iowa

The contributors to the book are Andrew Williams (Cardiff University), Bengt Engan (University of Nordland), C. W. Anderson (CUNY-CSI), Dave Hart (Birmingham City University), David Domingo (Université Libre de Bruxelles), Emmanuel Marty (University of Nice Sophia Antipolis), Florence Le Cam (Université Libre de Bruxelles), Franck Bousquet (University of Toulouse), Jerome Turner (Birmingham City University), Julie Firmstone (University of Leeds), Marco van Kerkhoven (Utrecht University of Applied Sciences), Matthew Powers (University of Washington), Nancy Thumim (University of Leeds), Nikos Smyrnaios (University of Toulouse), Oliver Baisnee (Sciences Po, Toulouse), Piet Bakker (Utrecht University of Applied Sciences), Sandra Vera Zambrano (Sciences Po, Toulouse), and Stephen Coleman (University of Leeds).

Table of contents

  1. The Uncertain Future of Local Journalism (Rasmus Kleis Nielsen)

PART I – Local media ecosystems

  1. The News Crisis Compared: The Impact of the Journalism Crisis on Local News Ecosystems in Toulouse, France and Seattle, USA (Matthew Powers, Sandra Vera Zambrano, and Olivier Baisnée)
  2. Local newspapers as keystone media: the increased importance of diminished newspapers for local political information environments (Rasmus Kleis Nielsen)
  3. How News Travels: A Comparative Study of Local Media Ecosystems in Leeds (UK) and Philadelphia (US) (C.W. Anderson, Stephen Coleman, and Nancy Thumim)

PART II – Local journalism and its interlocutors

  1. The plurality of journalistic identities in local controversies (Florence Le Cam and David Domingo)
  2. Rethinking local communicative spaces: reflecting on the implications of digital media and citizen journalism for the role of local journalism in engaging citizens in local democracies (Julie Firmstone and Stephen Coleman)
  3. Perceived relevance of and trust in local media (Bengt Engan)

PART III – New forms of local media

  1. Between journalistic diversity and economic constraints: local pure players in Southern France (Nikos Smyrnaios, Emmanuel Marty, and Franck Bousquet)
  2. Hyperlocal with a Mission? Motivation, strategy, engagement (Marco van Kerkhoven and Piet Bakker)
  3. Filling the News Hole? UK community news and the crisis in local journalism (Andy Williams, Dave Harte, and Jerome Turner)

2015 International Journal of Press/Politics Book Award to Rodney Benson

I’m happy to announce that Rodney Benson (NYU) is the recipient of the 2015 International Journal of Press/Politics Book Award for his book Shaping Immigration News: a French-American Comparison (Cambridge University Press, 2013).

Below is the official announcement of the award from the full award committee, which included Jesper Strömback, Matt Carlson, and myself.

2015 International Journal of Press/Politics Book Award to Rodney Benson

It is one thing to say how you think media and politics should be researched, theoretically and methodologically. It is another to do it.

Rodney Benson has for years excelled at writing both theoretical, methodological, and empirical pieces laying out his vision—and his practice—of what political communication research and journalism studies can be like and what it can accomplish.

His 2013 book Shaping Immigration News: a French-American Comparison is an outstanding example of this, and I’m proud to honor it with the 2015 International Journal of Press/Politics Book Award on behalf of the journal and the award committee, which this year consisted of Jesper Strömback, Matt Carlson, and myself.

This is the first year we give the IJPP Book Award, which we have instituted to honor “internationally-oriented books that advance our theoretical and empiric al understanding of the linkages between news media and politics in a globalized world in a significant way.”

Books published within the last ten years are eligible for the award, and we had a very strong field of candidates. This is a real testament to the theoretical creativity, methodological rigor, and growing internationalization of this field of research.

The award committee agreed that Rod’s book stood out as carefully written and researched work with a clear and strong link between theory, method, and data, and with an impressive comparative research design comparing immigration news in France and the US not only cross-nationally, but also over time, and linking a detailed, large-scale content analysis with historical evidence, interviews, and a wider analysis of the journalistic fields in each country.

As Matt Carlson said early in our discussions: “Lot’s of people have talked and thought for a long time about this, and about how to do it. Rod really does it.” And as Jesper Strömback put it in our final conversation: “This is the kind of book we always say we want to see, but don’t often see.” I agree with them.

This is a terrific book, an inspiring book, and one that is important far beyond the study of immigration news or indeed the study of French and American journalism. This is a mixed-method, historically-informed, comparative analysis of news regimes that not only tells us how to do good research, but shows it, unfolding the theoretical, empirical, and normative implications of its findings.

I hope you’ll join me in congratulating Rod for writing this book. The award is simply a way for the community to recognize and highlight his contribution to the field.

Come work with me!

We at the Reuters Institute for the Study of Journalism are recruiting for a one-year post-doctoral research fellowship for someone to come to Oxford and work closely with me on a research project focused on how news media organizations in different countries handle their relationship with digital intermediaries, and how these in turn handle their relationship with news media.

Clearly, this is a very timely and live issue, with the growing role of search engines and social media as drivers of traffic to news online, with Facebook offering to host news content, and with Google’s launch of their “Digital News Initiative” in Europe. It is a project I’m really looking forward to working on and were I’m particularly keen to find the right colleague.

The application deadline is June 5.

More details here.

Inaugural Int’ Journal of Press/Politics Editorial

My inaugural editorial for the International Journal of Press/Politics is now out.

A couple of snippets below.

[The International Journal of Press/Politics’] purpose has been a constant for almost twenty years, from when the journal was first launched in 1996. … [The] title continues to capture what it is about. It is international in that it is dedicated to research that transcends its geographic context, making an explicit contribution not only to our understanding of political communication in a single country—whether that country is the United States or Uzbekistan—but also with relevance across the world, either because it clearly specifies the conditions under which the empirical results may be relevant elsewhere or because it makes a theoretical or methodological contribution along with a clear argument about how this might be applicable in other contexts. It is about the press in the broad sense of news media in all their variations of hard news, soft news, punditry, and opinion across all platforms, whether analogue or digital. It is about politics in an equally broad sense to include not only election campaigns and the candidates and parties most directly involved but also policy processes between elections and political actors beyond electoral politics, including governments, interest groups, and social movements. The ideal article in the International Journal of Press/Politics delivers a rigorous analysis covering all these three bases. Submissions covering less than two of these three bases, or that remain wholly internal to a highly specialized scholarly subfield, are likely to get a (polite) desk reject and a suggestion they go elsewhere. We are proud to publish high-quality country case studies, but they have to be positioned as such to make an international contribution. We are happy to accept articles from scholars who are clearly positioned in one discipline or approach, but they should be placed in a wider and often interdisciplinary context.


My aim as editor is to ensure that the International Journal of Press/Politics continues to advance our understanding of the interactions between news media and political processes around the world and to serve the international and interdisciplinary community of scholars working in this area of research. Ultimately, a journal is what the people who submit to it, review for it, and edit it make it. My predecessors as editors, past and present members of the editorial board, as well as the contributors and peer reviewers who have been involved, have made the International Journal of Press/Politics what it is today. I want to thank all of them—in particular Silvio Waisbord, who has been a tremendous help as I prepared to take over as editor—for all their work. I will edit the journal in the spirit of those who have done so before, and aim to serve and expand the intellectual community around it.

Review of “Political Journalism in Transition”

Simon Dawes has written a very nice review of Political Journalism in Transition: Western Europe in a Comparative Perspective (which was published in 2014 by I.B. Tauris, edited by Raymond Kuhn and myself).

The review is published in Media, Culture, and Society and concludes

The authors get to the heart of contemporary debates about the future of media regulation and the extent of state intervention, the role of the market and the importance of autonomy and independence. In illustrating the contextual differences between media systems and journalistic practices in the ‘West’, they also contribute to a more informed critique of the realities of political information, engagement and accountability, as well as a richer understanding of the causes and background of recent scandals involving both political and media figures.

The full review is here. The first chapter of our book is freely available here and the the book can be bought from the publisher, Amazon, or, if you live in a truly unusual community, your local bookstore.