Success and Failure in News Media Performance

Comparative Analysis in The Media for Democracy Monitor 2021


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The Media for Democracy Monitor (MDM) assesses the performance of leading news media in mature democracies with regard to the three core dimensions of democracy: freedom, equality, and control. After monitoring 10 countries in 2011, the MDM project expanded to cover the 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, continues 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.