News media in European democracies and beyond: stable structural conditions but notorious deficits


The research and monitoring project “Media for Democracy Monitor (MDM) 2021” concluded its third round of investigation by publishing its findings in an edited volume in 2022. This article informs about the theoretical concept, the methodology and approach, the main findings, but also about the unconventional research process itself. Core findings include that leading news media remain core institutions in the diverse types of contemporary democracies, despite the ever-growing recognition and use of digital news formats. However, notorious weaknesses remain over time, such as high degrees of commercialisation, ownership concentration and gender imbalances and inequalities. Leading news media in Europe differ from those in other parts of the world regarding their internal governance and editorial independence. Member states of the European Union score slightly better in the MDM 2021 than others.

Keywords: media democracy; editorial independence; media monitoring, news digitalization; news gender balance; journalism harassment.