Media Performance and Democracy

The role of media in a functioning democracy is indispensable: it is only possible to openly exchange opinions and positions if a high-quality range of journalistic services is available. The rise of digitalization has intensified the discussion about media quality, with far-reaching changes in media markets giving rise to the question of whether media quality can be ensured in the long run. To answer this question, it is necessary to take stock of the democratic performance of media systems and the structural factors that influence them.

Through a comparative content analysis of democratic media quality in Germany, Austria and Switzerland, this project closes this research gap. Media performance is evaluated for each quality standard by comparing the findings of the content analysis with external benchmarks. The project also aims to answer the question of which segments of the population adopt which standards of media quality. In the context of the country comparison, a comparative approach to research on quality – which is among the first of its kind – can show how various structural factors influence media content at the micro, meso and macro level.

In light of the project’s high social relevance, the findings are not just of interest to central areas of scientific research like fragmentation, framing and agenda building, but also to journalism and media policy.

Project staff:
Prof. Dr. Birgit Stark
Miriam Steiner M.A.

For further information on our project, our cooperation partners and our funding, please visit our website.