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Lischka, J. A. (2014). Different revenue incentives, different content?: Comparing economic news before and during the financial crisis in German public and commercial news outlets over time. European Journal of Communication, 29(5), 1–18. doi:10.1177/0267323114538851

This study argues that revenue model incentives determine news content. The goal to make profits and the need to sell audiences to advertisers guide journalists’ selection and interpretation of newsworthy material and result in commercialised news. We compare the volume, tone, and the obtrusiveness of topics in all economic news stories for the evening TV news of the public broadcasters ARD and ZDF, the commercial broadcaster RTL, and the tabloid newspaper BILD from 2002 to 2010 in Germany (n = 26,467). Results indicate that news selection is guided by revenue model incentives since economic news differs by volume and topic between public and commercial outlets. News interpretation, i.e., news tone, stronger varies across the media types TV and print. We conclude that advertising income dependency and observation of competitor behaviour transmits to operative journalistic practices and decisions, which in turn determine journalistic outcome.

This article is part of the author’s dissertation and funded by the SNSF, project „The impact of economic media coverage on management expectations and advertising expenditures in Switzerland and Germany“.

„Note: Means and standard deviations are indicated for news tone as dot and line. Source: Lischka, 2014, p. 8. The final, definitive version of this paper has been published in European Journal of Communication, 29/5, 2014 by SAGE Publications Ltd, All rights reserved. ©“

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M.A. Juliane Lischka

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