Factors Influencing Journalism Performance in Developing and Transitional Countries

Hollifield, C.A., Jacobsson, A., Becker, L.B., Jacobsson, E.M., & Vlad, T. Factors Influencing Journalism Performance in Developing and Transitional Countries.  Presented at the  12th World Media Economics and Management Conference, May 2-6, 2016, New York, N.Y.

Abstract: In the past quarter century, governments, foundations, and nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) have poured vast sums of money into emerging and transitional countries with the goal of developing  sustainable, high-quality news media.  The goal has been to encourage journalism that meets generally accepted international standards for professional journalism that supports transparent, democratic, non-corrupt government, and economic and civil development.

Results of nearly three decades of investment in media development have been mixed, however. This study examines the economic, organizational, legal, and political factors in the ecology of news organizations that are related to the production of quality journalism in developing and transitional countries.  The study uses data generated by the International Research and Exchange Board (IREX) and ZenithOptimedia to examine the research question. Fuzzy Set Qualitative Comparative Analysis (fsQCA) is used to test the hypotheses and identify the models of conjunctural causation that help explain the structural conditions that are related to higher levels of journalism performance in the developing countries in the dataset.

The research finds no necessary or sufficient conditions for higher-quality journalism – not even a legal regime supporting freedom of expression.  The study finds, however, that there are several combinations of structural conditions that are related to improved journalism performance across cases, and several market and political variables that are more important than others in media development.

Ann Hollifield  Lee B. Becker  Tudor Vlad 

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