Changing conditions in the world for important investigative journalism

Fri 13 Nov 07:00

Sharply reduced revenues lead to different editorial priorities in different countries, although media representatives around the world agree on the importance of investigative journalism, according to a new report.

Utländska tidningar

In northern Europe, investigative journalism is strengthened in some parts; in southern Europe it is weakened.

The interim report on media in 18 different countries was published within the framework of the research project Media for Democracy 2020, which continuously compares how media in different countries meet democratic goals. The project is led by the University of Salzburg, with Swedish participants from the Mid Sweden University research centre Demicom.

In each country, editors and reporters have been interviewed about the position of investigative journalism. In southern Europe, the lack of resources and the lack of an investigative tradition are indicated as reasons for the decline of operations. In Northern Europe, on the other hand, several metropolitan media have prioritized investigative projects and developed operations. In the countries between Germany and Great Britain, the positions are largely held.

Some common and general features in the country reports are that private local and regional media sometimes find it difficult to invest in investigative projects. Public service media can then act as a more stable force. In several countries there are government funds that support investigative journalism.

International collaborations, such as in the case of Panama Papers, are important to show results and to strengthen interest in, and opportunities for investigative journalism. Associations for investigative journalism in Northern Europe have played a similar role. Reader funding via subscriptions and crowdfunding is growing in scope.

“It is interesting that media representatives in countries such as Italy, the Netherlands and Sweden point to the importance of the readers in order to strengthen investigative activities. Democratic and business motives meet here", says media researcher Torbjörn von Krogh, who is affiliated with Mid Sweden University.

The interim report can be read here: Http://euromediagroup.org/mdm/policybrief02.pdf

The interim report is based on 18 countries* and will also be published online. In 2021, a book will be published that builds on various themes in the national reports, including the state of investigative journalism and its importance for the development of democracy.

* The study includes the European countries Belgium, Denmark, Finland, Greece, the Netherlands, Iceland, Italy, Portugal, Switzerland, the UK, Sweden, Germany and Austria as well as Australia, Chile, Hong Kong, Canada and South Korea.

Contact persons:
Lars Nord, Professor of Political Communication, Mid Sweden University, +4670-550 93 33, lars.nord@miun.se
Torbjörn von Krogh, PhD in Journalism, +4670-738 49 13, torbjornvonkrogh@gmail.com