New Report: Private Sector Media and Digital News

cornia-thumbnailSeptember 30, we published our latest RISJ Report, “Private Sector Media and Digital News”, focusing on how legacy news organisations in Europe are dealing with the business of digital news. The lead author is Alessio Cornia, who worked on the report together with Annika Sehl and myself. The full PDF is freely available here and the executive summary is below.

The report looks at how they are addressing recent developments such as the rise of social media, the move from desktop internet to an increasingly mobile web, and the growing importance of online video. It examines 25 different newspapers and commercial broadcasters in six European countries are adapting to an evolving media environment on the basis of interviews conducted with executives, senior managers and editors in Finland, France, Germany, Italy, Poland, and the UK.

It shows how legacy news organisations are investing in a wide variety of digital news initiatives to reach new audiences and build new business models, but most of their revenues still come from traditional print and television operations, even after almost 20 years of investment in digital news.

Executive Summary

In this report, we examine how private sector legacy news organisations like newspapers and broadcasters in six European countries (Finland, France, Germany, Italy, Poland, and the United Kingdom) are adapting to an evolving digital media environment.

The analysis is based on 54 interviews conducted between April and July 2016 primarily with executives, senior managers, and editors from a strategic sample of 25 newspapers and commercial broadcasters across Europe, as well as on survey data from the Reuters Institute Digital News Report and secondary sources.

We show that:

  • Newspapers and broadcasters, sometimes criticised for their conservatism, are investing in a wide variety of new digital initiatives to reach new audiences and generate new revenues. All the organisations covered see audiences moving from offline media to online media – quickly in the case of print to digital, and (thus far) more slowly in the case of television to digital. All aim to make a similar move to retain the audience connection upon which both their editorial impact and their business models depend.
  • In all the countries covered, private sector legacy news organisations reach more people with news than public service media, and more people get news online from newspapers and commercial broadcasters than get news via social media.
  • Despite their growing online reach, our interviews suggest 80 to 90% of revenues in most newspapers still come from print – even after years of decline in print advertising and circulation and almost 20 years of investment in digital media. Broadcasters generally have an even smaller share of digital revenues, primarily because their legacy operations have not yet been affected by the rise of online media to the same extent, but also because they have often been less focused on building a business around digital news.
  • As revenues from legacy operations are generally declining (print) or at best stable (broadcast) and digital revenues still limited, the resources for investments in digital initiatives generally continue to come from cross-subsidies and/or cost-cutting elsewhere in each organisation.
  • In terms of the business of digital news, interviewees highlight the following challenges when it comes to advertising:
    • the dominant role of large technology companies like Google and Facebook that attract a large share of online advertising;
    • the low average revenues per user, especially on the mobile web;
    • the growing number of people who use ad-blockers.
  • The challenges around advertising mean that more and more newspapers are moving to various forms of pay models, with the exception of a few high-profile titles with very large audiences. Only a minority of online news users have been willing to pay so far, but interviewees are cautiously optimistic that the number will grow.
  • Commercial broadcasters are generally seeking to replicate the television model of advertising-supported content free at the point of consumption in their approach to digital media. For many, news is a very small part of their overall business.
  • Beyond the turn to pay models, private sector legacy news organisations (especially newspapers) are exploring other alternative sources of revenue to supplement display advertising and subscription, including:
    • the launch of new verticals (content offerings beyond the organisations’ main brands), repackaged content products, and sections aimed at cultivating specific audiences more effectively;
    • investment in native advertising and branded content activities that are more effectively differentiated from generic display advertising;
    • diversification with a move into e-commerce, business-to-business services, and offline activities including events and merchandising.
  • Social media enable news organisations to reach a wider public, in particular younger people and other audiences who do not normally come direct to their sites or apps, but also imply a number of challenges related to editorial control, brand recognition, audience data, audience loyalty, and monetisation.
  • Many news organisations covered here are experimenting with distributed content formats (e.g. Facebook Instant Articles and Snapchat Discover), and see potential for synergy between publishers and platforms. Most selectively engage but want to evaluate the first results in term of reach and revenue before they decide how much to engage and with what. Other news organisations, in particular in France and Germany, have been more reluctant so far to distribute their content through third-party platforms and aim to be more self-reliant.
  • News organisations are addressing the growth of smartphone use by adapting their content to mobile devices, creating dedicated teams, adopting mobile-first approaches and focusing on the development of their news apps. However, the mobile advertising market is still much less developed than the desktop advertising market, and this represents a central challenge for the business of mobile news.
  • Online video advertising is growing fast and several news organisations are therefore investing in online video production and curation, strengthening their online video teams, experimenting with new formats and technologies (e.g. virtual reality, 360-degree, and social video), and seeking new ways to monetise online video news.
  • All our interviewees expect to see audiences and advertising continue to move from offline to online media, and expect to see the digital media environment itself continue to change, driven by evolving forms of use, new technologies, and initiatives from large technology companies. Individual organisations are adapting to this with varying degrees of success, but no clear generally applicable model(s) for sustainable digital news production have been developed so far. Every organisation examined is experimenting and forging its own path, seeking a balance between exploiting legacy operations, building digital operations, and exploring the opportunities ahead. Experimentation and exploration are an uncertain business, but encouraging in themselves – it is because of their decision to invest in the future that newspapers and commercial broadcasters continue to be central to an increasingly digital media environment.

This report is the first of a series of annual reports that will focus specifically on how European private sector legacy news organisations are adapting to the rise of digital media.

2016 Int’ Journal of Press/Politics Conference


I’m proud to present the 2016 International Journal of Press/Politics Conference, hosted September 29-30 by the Reuters Institute for the Study of Journalism at the University of Oxford.

The full program including abstracts is here [PDF], and an overview with titles and presenters is below–we will be covering many issues relevant for the International Journal of Press/Politic‘s mission: to advance our understanding of the relations between news media and politics in a global perspective.

With more than 60 researchers from almost 20 countries and a keynote by Katrin Voltmer, it will be a truly international event and it is one I really look forward to–the second installment of what I hope will be an annual event, with the best and most relevant papers submitted to the journal for later publication.




 9.00-10.30                   Panels 1a and 1b 



Brexit 2016? Media reporting of the Referendum Campaign on UK Membership of the EU

Dominic Wring, David Deacon, John Downey and James Stanyer


Europe facing the immigration flow. Parochialism vs cosmopolitanism in the press

Paolo Mancini, Marco Mazzoni, Giovanni Barbieri, and Marco Damiani


The Coming Anocracy? Mediatized Politics in Thailand and Beyond

Duncan McCargo and Thaweeporn Kummetha


Mass righteous indignation as a form of contentious politics

Cherian George




Between the “citizen” and “consumer”: A comparative account of journalists’ roles in political and everyday life

Folker Hanusch and Thomas Hanitzsch


Opportunity makes the journalist?: An analysis of the blurring of boundaries between science and journalism during the COP21 summit

Stefanie Walter and Michael Brüggemann


The Impact of Media Policy on Journalistic Norms

Ruth Moon


From supplement to trigger? Changing role of social media in the mainstream Czech news production

Václav Štětka


10.45-12.15                 Panels 2a and 2b



Influences on Journalistic Practices Across European Digital Mediascapes

Zrinjka Peruško, Antonija Čuvalo and Dina Vozab


Reporters and Reformers: The European Fact-Checking Field in Comparative Context

Lucas Graves

Automatic Text Analysis of News Coverage As A Test Of Media System Theory

Iain McMenamin, Michael Breen, Michael Courtney, and Gemma McNulty


News in Catalonia: the formation of a differentiated Catalan media system

Manel Palos Pons




A free press in no match for corruption: how corruption poisoned the post-communist media

Lada Trifonova Price


Comparing the Role of Traditional and Digital Media in Political Communication in India and China: Populism versus Authoritarian Responsiveness

Ralph Schroeder


Changing Times, Changing Journalism: Shifting Journalistic Approaches in Transitional Democracy Explained

Claudia Mellado and Arjen Van Dalen


Who Speaks for the Past? Social Media, Social Memory, and the Production of Historical Knowledge in Contemporary China

Jun Liu



13.15-14.45     Panels 3a and 3b




Confucius Institutes and China’s Public Diplomacy: between benign cultural exchange and sinister propaganda

Falk Hartig


Journalism and Political Islam: the Case of Malaysia’s Harakah newspaper

Janet Steele


Theorizing Political Communication in the 21st century: People, Processes and Practices in an Age of Interconnection

Cristina Archetti


Shallow Globalization: Media discourse entanglements, the United Nations, and the performative neglect of global democratic necessities

Dirk-Claas Ulrich







The virtual Lobby: How politicians and journalists interact on Twitter during election campaigns

Marcel Broersma, Dan Jackson, Einar Thorsen, and Todd Graham


Involved or apathetic? Journalists’ relationship with the political sphere

Jessica Kunert and Neil Thurman


Professionalized political communication vs. speedy-journalism

Milda Celiešiūtė


Party organizations in the light of professionnalization of political communication

Lamprini Rori


15.00-16.00     Birds of a feather sessions


16.30-18.00     Panels 4a and 4b




Why political elites respond to news coverage: Information acquisition vs. strategic timing

Julie Sevenans


The emphasizing effect of the media: a comparative analysis of legislative processes

Lotte Melenhorst


Political agenda-setting put into context: How the electoral system shapes politicians’ reactions to media coverage

Luzia Helfer and Rudy Andeweg


Authority performances in mediatized policy networks

Esa Reunanen and Risto Kunelius




Networked Intermedia Agenda Setting

Helle Sjøvaag, Eirik Stavelin, Michael Karlsson and Aske Kammer


Put it in the context: Regional and national references in the press

Ramona Vonbun


[New] Media Systems, Public Spheres, and Local Political Discourses

Dirk von Schneidemesser


Political sources in the news

Helle Sjøvaag




9.00-10.30       Keynote lecture by Katrin Voltmer


11.00-12.30                 Panels 5a and 5b



Data, democracy and political communication: the case of the 2015 UK general election

Nick Anstead


Inter-media agenda-setting in the social media age. How Twitter influences the media agenda in election times

Raymond Harder, Peter Van Aelst, Julie Sevenans, and Steve Paulussen


Focus points of political attention: Collective curating on Twitter during the federal election 2013 in Germany

Andreas Jungherr and Oliver Posegga


Tweeting the electoral cycle: political debate and sentiment analysis of the Greek elections in 2015

Moses Boudourides, Dimitra Dimitrakopoulou, Sergios Lenis, and

Pantelis Vikatos,





How Political Disagreements Lead to Participation: Comparing less and more experienced voters in the case of the U.S. 2014 midterm elections

Hailey Hyun-kyung Oh


The Engaging Effect of Exemplars

Kim Andersen, Morten Skovsgaard, Erik Albaek, and Claes H. de Vreese


Practicing “Engagement”: A Cross-National Comparison

Regina G. Lawrence, Damian Radcliffe, Thomas Schmidt


Participation features in news websites: A comparative study

Yacov Netzer






13.30-14.30                 Panels 6a and 6b (3-paper sessions)




Media Scandal and Support for Regulation: How Audience Outrage Affects Public Opinion About the Press

Erik Bucy and Nichole Bauer


Explaining the formation of online news startups in France and the US: A field analysis

Matthew Powers and Sandra Vera Zambrano


Political journalists’ branding practices on social media: A comparative analysis

Folker Hanusch





Taking the lead? Understanding dynamics of individual politicians’ visibility in traditional and online media”

Sanne Kruikemeier, Katjana Gattermann, and Rens Vliegenthart


How coalition governments affect the personalisation of politics in the media

Ana Ines Langer and Iñaki Sagarzazu


Connecting politicians to issues: the impact of specialization and issue ownership on news coverage

Kirsten Van Camp



15.00-16.00     Roundtable with IJPP Ed. Board members and closing remarks

Are book chapters worth writing?

Instrumentally rational academics are supposed to avoid book chapters like the plague. They are not prestigious. They do not get cited very much. They are often hard to access. They tend to take forever to be published. As one colleague likes to say: “Friends do not let friends write book chapters.”

And yet I end up doing it again and again, sometimes quite like it.

As I see it, the key issue is not what the book chapter itself can do for me, but what the process of writing it can help me do. This may not be instrumentally rational, but perhaps reasonable.

I’ve found the genre helpful in three ways in particular (and I hope the outcome is sometimes useful for others). I think of them as (1) argumentative chapters, (2) trailer chapters, and (3) review chapters.

First, argumentative chapters—a book chapter can be a useful way of developing an argument that is interpretive and personal, a genre that contemporary social science is not very hospitable to. For example, I thoroughly enjoyed thinking through the relationship between digital technology and democracy as I wrote my entry for Ben Peter’s Digital Keywords. It’s help me share some thoughts that underlie quite a lot of other things I do and also generated a lot of really interesting discussions at various presentations in recent years.


Second, trailer chapters. A book chapter can help test out ideas in advance of a larger empirical project operationalizing the underlying concerns. For example, back in 2014, I wrote a chapter on varieties of online gatekeeping (which now, more than two years later, is on its way out…) that helped me formulate some of the questions I am now pursuing in a project focusing on the relationship between digital intermediaries and news organizations.


Third, review chapters—a book chapter can help structure a systematic review of a field of research, something I did for example when I wrote this handbook chapter on the business of journalism which after further revisions has come out in the new SAGE Handbook of Digital Journalism. Writing such a chapter imposes an obligation to really review what is out there, but also make judgements about what the most important findings are.

rkn-businessIt’s clear that there are other times where a book chapter does not help develop a personal, interpretive argument, trail a research program, or review a field.

But hey—academics are in a high waste business. Much of what we do have no impact at all, even within our own internal discussions.

It’s hard to know in advance what will help you and what might help others, so maybe hard and fast judgements for or against a whole genre are a bit premature. Of course we need to make choices, and especially junior academics have to think about not only what they value, but also what their field values.

But not everything we do need to be instrumentally rational, as long as it is intellectually useful, and I’ve found even much-maligned book chapters intellectually useful for some things.

APSA 2016 Political Communication Preconference Agenda

Very happy to have been involved in organizing the American Political Science Association 2016 Political Communication Preconference this year. Programme below.





DATE:                       Wednesday August 31st

LOCATION:             Temple University’s Center City campus at 1515 Market Street, Philadelphia PA, 19102.


  • 8:AM to 8:45AM:             BREAKFAST & REGISTRATION (Rm. 222)


  • 8:45AM to 9:00AM:             WELCOMES (Rm. 222)


  • 9:00AM to 10:15AM: PANELS


  • Gender, Class & Age (Chair: Diana Owen, Georgetown University) (Rm. 420)
    • Computer Silence: Gender Differences in Online Comment Sections. Natalie Jomini Stroud (The University of Texas at Austin), Emily Van Duyn (The University of Texas at Austin) and Cynthia Peacock (The University of Texas at Austin).
    • Visual Communication and Candidate Evaluation: Testing the Influence of Images on Support for Male and Female Candidates. Nichole Bauer (University of Alabama) and Colleen Carpinella (Disney Research).
    • Class Opinion Alignment: The Influence of Poverty Discourse on the Political Attitudes of Low-income Citizens. Lori Young (Annenberg School for Communication, University of Pennsylvania).
    • The Gender Gap and Online Political Activity in Canadian Politics. Tamara A. Small (University of Guelph), Harold Jansen (University of Lethbridge), Frédérick Bastien (Université de Montréal), Thierry Giasson (Université Laval) and Royce Koop (University of Manitoba).
    • Political Information Usage and Sources for Young Citizens: Comparison of Electoral and Non-Electoral Periods. Andrius Suminas (Vilnius University).


  • Media and Political Engagement I (Chair: Rasmus Kleis Nielsen, Oxford University) (Rm. 421)
    • WhatApp..ening to Political Discussion in Europe? Instant Messaging Services and Political Engagement in Italy, United Kingdom and Germany. Augusto Valeriani (University of Bologna) and Cristian Vaccari (Royal Holloway, University of London and University of Bologna).
    • Fly My Pretties: John Oliver, Net Neutrality, and Comedy as an Agent of Political Activation. Leticia Bode (Georgetown University) and Amy Becker (Loyola University Maryland).
    • Digital Politics and the Political Community. Michael J. Jensen (Institute for Governance and Policy Analysis, University of Canberra).
    • The Instagram Election: The Role of Visual Social Media in the 2016 Presidential Campaign. Terri Towner (Oakland University).


  • Partisan Media (Chair: Bruce Hardy, Temple University) (Rm. 422)
    • Media Issue Ownership: Reconciling Partisan News and Issue Ownership. McGregor, Shannon C. (University of Texas – Austin).
    • Media Choice and Moderation: Evidence from an Experiment With Digital Trace Data. Andrew Guess (New York University).
    • The Impact of Partisan News Exposure on Perceptions of the Opposing Party and Public Confidence in the Electoral System. Hye-Yon Lee (Annenberg School for Communication, University of Pennsylvania).
    • Self and Contextually Activated Networks: An Expanded Approach to Selective Exposure. Benjamin Lyons (University of Pennsylvania)


  • 10:15AM to 10:30AM:    BREAK
  • 10:30AM to 11:45AM:    PANELS


  • Campaigns & Elections (Chair: Michael X. Delli Carpini, University of Pennsylvania) (Rm. 420)
    • Online Interaction: Do Candidates Still Avoid It? Jennifer Stromer-Galley (Syracuse University), Patricia Rossini (University of Minas Gerais, Brazil), Lauren Bryant (University at Albany, SUNY), Bryan Semaan (Syracuse University), Jeff Hemsley (Syracuse University), Kate Kenski (University of Arizona) and Feifei Zhang (Syracuse University).
    • The Promise of Social Media Intelligence: Leveraging Consumer Analytical Tools to Understand Voters Online in 2016. Sarah Oates (University of Maryland College Park) and Wendy Moe (University of Maryland College Park).
    • Oh Snap: Chat Videostyle in the 2016 U.S. Presidential Campaign. Eisa Al Nashmi (Kuwait University) and David Painter (Rollins College).
    • Tipping the Balance of Power in Elections? Voters’ Engagement in the Digital Campaign. Diana Owen (Georgetown University).
    • Relational Labor in Candidates’ Social Media Presence. Shannon C McGregor (University of Texas – Austin) and Nancy Baym (Microsoft Research).



  • Disagreement, Negativity & Incivility (Chair: Dannagal Young, University of Delaware) (Rm. 421)
    • Liberal and Conservative Political Incivility. Ashley Muddiman (University of Kansas).
    • How Personality Traits Affect Voters’ Campaign Tone Perceptions and Responses. Annemarie Walter (School of Politics and International Relations, University of Nottingham), Travis Ridout (School of Politics and International Relations, Washington State University) and Cees Van der Eijk (School of Politics and International Relations, University of Nottingham).
    • How Political Disagreements Lead to Participation: Comparing Less and More Experienced Voters in the Case of the U.S. 2014 Midterm Elections. Hailey Hyun-kyung Oh (George Mason University).
    • Deliberative Signals: The Importance of Incivility in Highlighting Anti-Democratic Rhetoric. Emily Sydnor (Southwestern University) and Grace Atkins (Southwestern University).


  • Protest, Revolution and Media (Chair: Abby Jones, Visiting Scholar, Annenberg School for Communication, University of Pennsylvania) (Rm. 422)
    • Revolutionary Narratives and the Future of Revolution. Guobin Yang (Annenberg School for Communication, University of Pennsylvania).
    • The Contagion Effects of Protest Movements – Pegida and Party Politics in Germany. Sebastian Stier (GESIS – Leibniz Institute for the Social Sciences, Cologne), Arnim Bleier (GESIS – Leibniz Institute for the Social Sciences, Cologne), Christoph Kling (GESIS – Leibniz Institute for the Social Sciences, Cologne) and Lisa Posch (GESIS – Leibniz Institute for the Social Sciences, Cologne).
    • Democracy, New Media and Social Actors in Contemporary Spanish Politics. Leocadia Díaz Romero (Murcia State University).
    • From Connective Action to Connective People: An Empirical Evidence from Egypt. Mostafa Shehata (Roskilde University).


  • 11:45AM to 12:30PM:     LUNCH (Rm. 222)


  • 12:30PM to 1:30PM:       KEYNOTE & DISCUSSION ON THE 2016 U.S.



  • Facilitator: Michael Hagen (Temple University)
  • David Nickerson (Temple University)



(Rm. 222)


  • CHAIR: Regina Lawrence (School of Journalism and Communication, University of Oregon)
    • Geoffrey Baym (Temple University)
    • Andrew Chadwick (Royal Holloway, University of London)
    • Daniel Kreiss (University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill)
    • Dannagal Young (University of Delaware)


  • 2:30PM to 2:45PM:         BREAK


  • 2:45PM to 4:00PM:       PANELS


  • Journalism, News, and Politics (Chair: Geoffrey Baym, Temple University) (Rm. 420)
    • Platformed Publishing? The Rise of Digital Intermediaries, the Transformation of Online Journalism, and Implications for Mediated Politics. Rasmus Kleis Nielson (Oxford University) and Sarah Anne Ganter (Oxford University).
    • Analyzing Assessments of Key Partisan Claims Regarding President Obama. Stephen J. Farnsworth (University of Mary Washington) and Robert S. Lichter (George Mason University).
    • Objective and Subjective Political Knowledge in the New Media Environment. Kylee Britzman (University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign).
    • Last Week Tonight with John Oliver: Combining Journalistic Ideals and Political Satire. John Remensperger (Annenberg School for Communication, University of Pennsylvania).


  • Issue Coverage in Comparative Perspective (Chair: Jennifer Stromer-Galley, Syracuse University) (Rm. 421)
    • Threatening or Sympathetic? The Cross-National Framing of the Syrian Mass Exodus. Abby Jones (Visiting Scholar, Annenberg School for Communication, University of Pennsylvania).
    • Communist Party’s Soft Power in Cross-national Persuasion Videos: Shaping China’s Image among Overseas Audiences. Kecheng Fang (Annenberg School for Communication, University of Pennsylvania) and Diana C. Mutz (Annenberg School for Communication, University of Pennsylvania).
    • Ownership, Differential Framing and Attitudes to Labor Unions: Evidence from Two Experiments. Liam Kneafsey (Trinity College, Dublin).
    • Social Media Use and Fear Levels after the Paris 2015 Attacks. A Comparative Study. Shana Kushner Gadarian (Syracuse University),
      Kari Steen-Johnsen (Institute for Social Research, Oslo) and Bernard Enjolras (Institute for Social Research, Oslo).




  • Media and Political Engagement II (Chair: Lance Holbert, Temple University) (Rm. 422)
    • Ask Me Anything: How Elites Trigger Political Participation on Reddit. Galen Stocking (Pew Research Center), Michael Barthel (Pew Research Center), Jeff Gottfried (Pew Research Center), and Katerina Matsa (Pew Research Center).
    • Getting to the Grassroots: How Corporate Sponsored Activist Groups Are Covered in the News. Tim Wood (New York University).
    • Explaining Constituent Calls and Online Comments: The Role of Organized Interests in Grassroots Lobbying. Kelsey Shoub (University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill) and John Cluverius (University of Massachusetts, Lowell).
    • Skipping Politics: Measuring Avoidance of Political Content in Social Media. Leticia Bode (Georgetown University), Emily Vraga (George Mason University), and Sonya Troller-Renfree (University of Maryland).
    • Internet Campaigning in Japan and Taiwan: A Comparative Institutional Approach. Shoko Kiyohara (Meiji University) and Chen Boyu (University of Niigata Prefecture).


  • 4:00PM to 5:00PM: “BIRDS OF A FEATHER” SESSIONS (Facilitated Open

Discussions among Interested Scholars)


  • #WomenAlsoKnowStuff (Room 420)
    • Facilitators
      • Amber Boydstun (University of California, Davis)
      • Samara Klar (University of Arizona)
      • Yanna Krupnikov (Stony Brook University)
      • Kathleen Searles (Louisiana State University)


  • Comparative Political Communication (Rm 421)
    • Facilitators
      • Kari Steen-Johnsen (Institute for Social Research, Oslo Norway)
      • Cristian Vaccari (University of London)


  • Digital Trace Data (Rm. 422)
    • Facilitators
      • Deen Freelon (American University)
      • Andrew Guess (New York University)
      • Andreas Jungherr (University of Konstanz)


  • 5:00PM to 5:30PM:        TRAVEL TO TEMPLE’S MAIN CAMPUS



(Location TBD)

2016 Digital News Report out

Ck-emQXXEAE-2rG.jpgThe 2016 Reuters Institute Digital News Report is now out, surveying online news users across 26 countries with a combined population of around 1.3 billion.

It’s the fifth year we’ve conducted the survey, working with a wide ranger of partners and sponsors from all over the world.

As always, our report documents that there are important differences in how digital news is developing even within otherwise relatively similar high income democracies.

But there are some key commonalities across most markets identified in the main report by lead author Nic Newman working with Richard Fletcher, David Levy, and myself.

  1. The increasing  importance of social media, especially Facebook, for how people find and access news.
  2. The rapid growth of mobile news use, driven especially by smartphone.
  3. The use of online video for news growing less rapidly than publishers and platforms investing heavily in this format might have hoped for.
  4. An evolving set of challenges around the business of journalism, with the move to a more distributed environment, the rise of mobile, and the spread of ad-blockers adding to existing challenges–though the incremental growth in the number of people subscribing and the continued relevance of brands give some reasons for optimism.
  5. A mixed picture when it comes to people’s trust in news and the value they see in editorial curation versus for example personalized recommendations.

My one-liner on the development? Some winners, many losers.

The full report is available here.

The website offers interactive graphics, more essays, underlying data, as well as previous years’ reports.

This video summarize the main points in 2 minutes and 15 seconds (!).

And this slideshare provides a fuller overview of trends across different countries.

The Digital News Report in the wild

One of the most interesting things about working on the report is the opportunity to take it  on the road and discuss it with journalists, people from the news media, technology companies, media regulators, academics, and others.

We and our partners have organized events around the report in a range of countries including not only the UK and the US, but also Australia, Austria, Finland, Germany, Ireland, Portugal, and Spain (with more to come!).

On YouTube, you can find videos of some of the presenetations and discussions, including from our London launch event, where Nic Newman presented the report and discussed it with a panel including David Pemsel, Chief Executive Officer, Guardian Media Group, and Executive Chair, Guardian News & Media; John McAndrew, Director of Content, Sky News; Katie Vanneck-Smith, Chief Customer Officer & Global Managing Director, International Dow Jones; and Stephen Hull, Editor-in-Chief, Huffington Post UK. See the full video from the London launch here.

In New York, I presented the report at an event hosted by the Tow Center at the Columbia Journalism School, and discussed the findings with a panel including  the Tow Center Director Emily Bell, Huffington Post Executive Editor Liz Heron, Dow Jones Chief Innovation Officer Edward Roussell, and Vivian Schiller. See the full video from the New York launch here (first 1 hour and 45 minutes is about the DNR, the rest a very interesting presentation by Claire Wardle of ongoing Tow Center research).

Coverage of the 2016 Digital News Report

The report has been covered by a wide range of news media across the world, and a couple of examples can be found here from the Columbia Journalism Review, the Economist, the Financial Times, the Guardian,, the MediaBriefing, the Nieman Labs blog and many, many more. Very pleased to note that the Hindustan Times picked it up! You can also listen to Nic Newman discussing the report on the BBC’s Media Show here and if you watched the BBC World News Channel June 15 when we launched, you may even have caught a climpse of me discussing the changing ways  in which young people get news.


2016 International Journal of Press/Politics Book Award to Andrew Chadwick

I’m happy to announce that Andrew Chadwick (Royal Holloway) is the recipient of the 2016 International Journal of Press/Politics Book Award for his book The Hybrid Media System: Politics and Power (Oxford University Press, 2013).

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

2016 International Journal of Press/Politics Book Award to Andrew Chadwick

More and more scholars argue political communication research needs theoretical innovation to properly understand a changing media environment. Fewer have led such innovation.

Andrew Chadwick is one of them. For years, he has combined insights from political science, media and communication research and other fields with carefully executed case studies of political communication processes in different countries.

His 2013 book The Hybrid Media System: Politics and Power is an outstanding example of this, and we are proud to honor it with the 2016 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 second year we give the IJPP Book Award, which we have instituted to honor “internationally-oriented books that advance our theoretical and empirical 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 Andrew’s book stood out as a creative, innovative, and genuinely interdisciplinary work with a strong link between theory-development and empirical examples.

Instead of relying on existing, older paradigms, Chadwick develops his own original theoretical notion of hybrid media systems, offers the term as a starting point for analyzing the interplay between older and newer media and the implications for power and politics, and puts the idea to use in a series of case studies of particular forms of hybridity found in contemporary news media and campaigns in the UK and the US.

This is an important book, for the theoretical ideas it develops, for the use it puts them to, and for the questions it raises for other scholars. It will have an impact far beyond the study of news and political communication in the UK and the US by presenting new useful ideas and for putting new questions, especially comparative questions, on our collective agenda.

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

What is happening to television news?

TelevisionFor a long time, television seemed to remain resilient to the rise of digital media. In many countries, television viewing increased, as did industry revenues, even as digital media disrupted publishing and music.

For years, many warned that the digital disruption of television was imminent. (Myself included.)

In a new Reuters Institute report written with Richard Sambrook (Professor of Journalism at Cardiff, former Head of BBC News), I argue that we are now seeing the beginning of that disruption. The fact that people have cried wolf before does not mean that there are no wolfes.

Richard and I outline our main argument in a piece on the Nieman Lab here. The full report is available for free as PDF or HTML.

The Executive Summary is below.

Executive Summary

In this report, we analyse what is happening to television news. We map recent changes in traditional television viewing, the rise of online video, and a range of examples of how different organisations are working with new forms of television-like news developed for a digital environment.

We show how recent years have seen significant declines in traditional television viewing in technologically developed markets, and a rapid rise in online video viewing driven by video-sharing sites, video-on-demand services, and the integration of video into social media sites. Television is still an important medium, and will remain so for years to come, but it will not be the dominant force it was in the second half of the twentieth century.

Television viewing in countries like the UK and the US have declined by 3 to 4% per year on average since 2012. These declines are directly comparable to the declines in print newspaper circulation in the 2000s and if compounded over ten years will result in an overall decline in viewing of 25 to 30%. The average audience of many television news programmes is by now older than the average audience of many print newspapers.

The decline in viewing among younger people is far more pronounced both for television viewing in general and for television news specifically, meaning that the loyalty and habits of older viewers prop up overall viewing figures and risk obscuring the fact that television news is rapidly losing touch with much of the population.

There are no reasons to believe that a generation that has grown up with and enjoys digital, on-demand, social, and mobile video viewing across a range of connected devices will come to prefer live, linear, scheduled programming tied to a single device just because they grow older. This raises wider questions about how sustainable the broad public interest role broadcast news has played in many countries over the last 60 years is.

Television news is still a widely used and important source of news, and will remain so for many older people for years to come, but if television news providers do not react to the decline in traditional television viewing and the rise of online video – in particular on-demand, distributed, and mobile viewing – they risk irrelevance. The full implications of the changes we identify here will not be felt immediately, as current viewers will continue to watch for years to come. But the challenge needs to be recognised now and acted on if television news providers want to reinvent themselves and find an audience that increasingly prefers digital media to television, and increasingly embraces on-demand, distributed, and mobile video distributed online.

Many different kinds of news organisations, including legacy broadcasters, print legacy media, and a range of digital pure players, are experimenting with different kinds of television-like and online video news to reach audiences, especially younger people. We review some of what they are trying to do below and show how a limited number of new players, most notably video-on-demand providers like Netflix and Amazon Prime, and platforms like Facebook and YouTube, are currently leading the move towards a video-enabled internet and that, while there are impressive experiments with long-form, in-depth content, shorter clips, and various modes of distribution, no one seems to have found the right recipe for online video news or IPTV news. None of the platforms and on-demand services that dominate online video focus on news.

The fact that no one has found the right recipe for doing online video news in this rapidly changing environment takes nothing away from the urgency of adapting to it. Television as a platform may well be about to face disruption on a scale comparable to what printed newspapers have experienced over the last decade. Television news providers face this transition with many strengths, including well-known brands, creative talent, and deep archives of quality content, but they also risk being constrained by their legacy organisation and culture.

Television news providers who wish to reach younger audiences, adapt to this changing environment, and remain relevant will therefore need to continue to invest in innovation and experimentation, and can learn much from established insights into organisational traits that enable innovation in digital news.