Most popular post: Is quality journalism sustainable?
Here are 20 news organizations from four regions that are solving this problem
You’re reading the My News Biz newsletter, which I send every Thursday. My goal is to help digital media entrepreneurs find viable business models. Today’s newsletter is from June 2019 and has been the most popular post on my website, Entrepreneurial Journalism.
This post is part of a study that identifies 20 media organizations from 16 countries and four regions-–Eastern and Central Europe, Western Europe, Latin America, and the United States–-that have developed sustainable business models for high-quality journalism. This list is by no means exclusive. The examples were chosen to present a variety of solutions to this challenge. I welcome comments on other media we could have included.
— James Breiner, June 26, 2019
Eastern and Central Europe region
We begin with the region of Eastern and Central Europe because it has been a battleground for quality journalism in the past half-dozen years. The traditional values of Western democracies and the European Union –free speech, free press, free people, free markets, social justice, and inclusion– have faced a strong challenge from political and social leaders from Eastern and Central Europe.
In Hungary, for example, investors and media groups favorable to the right-wing Fidesz party have bought up media properties and converted them into propaganda machines for their messaging (Mertek Media Monitor Blog, 2019). In addition, the foreign policy of the government of Russia, led by Vladimir Putin, has made recovery of influence in that region a priority. Putin viewed the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991 and the loss of control of countries in its bloc as a national shame. Russia’s media strategies had the cumulative effect of marginalizing and isolating media
organizations that align themselves with the values of the EU and western democracies (Foer, 2019).
In countries where the public trust in the media has declined from the previous year, according to the Reuters Institute Digital News Report 2018, “declining trust often seems to be linked to political tension” (p. 18). In spite of this, the region has several outstanding examples of news organizations that have adapted to the new environment and are, indeed, prospering with market-driven business models.
The research on these 20 media was used for a paper: Medina, M.; Sánchez-Tabernero, A.; & Breiner, J. (2021). “Some Viable Models for Digital Public-Interest Journalism”, El Profesional de la Información 30 (1) e300118. https://doi.org/10.3145/epi.2021.ene.18