newsagencies_banner_1400x400px

The Future of National News Agencies in Europe

This project will suggest alternative futures for national news institutions by collecting and combining data and analysis from and for industry, policy-makers, and journalists working with and within European news agencies.

The current political climate, characterized by increasing populism, resurgent nationalism, growing political polarization, and the digitally facilitated spread of misinformation, calls for the wide availability of trustworthy news. But what kind of news do publics need? And who should have the responsibility for producing and providing it?

National news media, including news agencies, have traditionally been seen as producers of the most reliable news within nation-states. However, there has been a significant increase in the number of informal news sources in today’s digital media landscape, an increase which has challenged the traditional role of institutionally-produced, fact-based news in democratic decision-making.

Under current conditions of shifting market forces and declining trust in institutional media, many news organizations are being forced to develop new strategies and business models to ensure the continued production and dissemination of reliable and verified news.

Because of their extensive embeddedness within national media systems, as well as their significant engagement with key stakeholders, news agencies offer a fruitful but neglected focus for a comprehensive and comparative study aiming to understand these structural changes in the contemporary media environment. This project will therefore ask:

  • To what extent, if at all, do national news agencies need to find new ways to operate sustainably?
  • Are we witnessing a fundamental shift in the work that news agencies do?
  • Will the functions of news agencies be taken over by new media companies?
  • Who needs – and who supports – news agencies?

Research Design

The project analyses the historical context, institutional environment, and economic strategies of national news agencies in Europe in order to understand how they compete with other news suppliers and publishers in a digital media landscape.

The project makes use of multidisciplinary research approaches and will initially feature three main data gathering phases: a questionnaire, a series of interviews, and a set of case studies.

By combining approaches and methodologies from across disciplines, the project will produce new knowledge and innovative concepts to respond to the rapidly emerging changes and challenges affecting today’s news organizations.

Questionnaire

A questionnaire focusing on an array of topics, including ownership models, diversification practices, and future plans was circulated to the CEOs of EANA member agencies. This served as a pilot phase for the project. Select preliminary findings were shared at the recent EANA spring conference in Bucharest in April 2018. Industry feedback on these findings will be used to help shape the design of future phases of the project.

Interviews

A series of interviews will be conducted with the CEOs of participating EANA member agencies. These interviews will permit a rich, qualitative engagement with some of the issues covered in the questionnaire phase. A set of interview questions will be developed from questionnaire responses, and these will be further refined based on consultation with industry leaders.

Case studies

A further phase of the project entails a set of four thematic case studies exploring distinct but interrelated topics pertaining to the sustainability of national news agencies in the contemporary media environment. Four research teams based in Helsinki, Jyväskylä, Oxford, and Vienna will each conduct an individual case study, and each team will work with a number of national news agencies from across Europe. More detailed information on case studies will follow.

People

LSE People

rantanen

Prof Terhi Rantanen
Academic Director

Prof. Terhi Rantanen (MSc, LicSc, DocSc, Docent, Helsinki University) is Professor in Global Media and Communications at the London School of Economics and Political Science. Before joining the LSE, she held a full-time position as a senior academic in the Department of Communication at Helsinki University and was visiting scholar and professor at several universities around the world including Harvard University, Moscow University, Stockholm University, and University of Southern California. Prof. Rantanen’s research areas include global news media organizations. She has published extensively on media globalization and global news transmissions. She has directed a double degree MSc in Global Media and Communications at LSE with the University of Southern California since its foundation in 2000. Prof. Rantanen is also a founding editor of Global Media and Communication.

jaaskelainen

Atte Jääskeläinen                           
Project Co-Director

Atte Jääskeläinen has worked for more than 22 years in leading editorial positions in Finnish media. Most recently he was Director of News and Current Affairs in Finnish Broadcasting Company Yle. In Yle's major change program two totally separate news organisations started to work together as an integrated, digital-first, multi-platform news organisation innovating also for younger audiences and social media. Before Yle he was CEO and Editor-in-chief of the Finnish News Agency, before that Business Editor and later Politics Editor of Helsingin Sanomat, the leading Finnish quality newspaper. Atte Jääskeläinen holds a LL.M. with distinction in European law from University of Helsinki, and is trained on the bench at Helsinki City Court. He currently holds visiting fellowships in the Department of Media and Communications at the London School of Economics and Political Science and the Reuters Institute for the Study of Journalism at the University of Oxford.

kelly

Anthony Kelly                                 
Research Officer

Anthony Kelly is a PhD researcher in the Department of Media and Communications at the London School of Economics and Political Science. His research interests and expertise include online partisan media, commercialisation of news, and participatory political communication. Anthony holds a BA International in French and Anthropology and a European Joint Masters in Cultural Differences and Transnational Processes. Prior to commencing his PhD, Anthony served as a lecturer in Maynooth University’s Department of Anthropology, where he taught modules on topics including political media, digital anthropology, and globalisation. Anthony’s role on the project focuses on broadening knowledge exchange and impact and is funded by LSE KEI.

stupart

Richard Stupart
Research Assistant

Richard is a PhD candidate at the London School of Economics and Political Science. He is currently researching the ethics and practice of journalistic witnessing in conflict reporting in South Sudan for his doctoral thesis. and has further research interests in the intersection between media narratives and development assistance, as well as ethical and methodological issues in data gathering in conflict contexts. Richard holds an MA in Media Studies from Rhodes University and an MPP from Universität Erfurt.

Case Study Researchers

einmann

Maret Einmann
Case Study Research Assistant

Maret Einmann holds an MA from the Institute of Communication at the University of Tartu. Her research interests and expertise include: journalism, role perceptions and professionalisation of journalists, and communication studies.

Laura Juntunen

Laura Juntunen
Case Study Research Assistant

Laura Juntunen is a PhD student in communication studies at the University of Helsinki. She holds a master’s degree in Social Sciences. Her research interests include journalism ethics and media self-regulation, journalistic practices and news journalism in general. She is also a former journalist and has worked for the Finnish news agency in the past.

lauk

Prof Epp Lauk
Case Study Principal Investigator

Epp Lauk, Ph.D., is Professor of Journalism at the Department of Language and Communication Studies at the University of Jyväskylä, Finland. She has served as Guest Professor at the University of Oslo (Norway), as Bonnier Professor at the University of Stockholm (Sweden), as Visiting Professor at the University of Umeå (Sweden) and Vytautas Magnus University of Kaunas (Lithuania). She also worked as Visiting Fellow at the University of Oxford (MDCEE project). Her research and numerous publications include journalism cultures and history, media and journalism in Central and East European countries, media policy, media self-regulation, and digital and social media.

nieminen

Prof Hannu Nieminen
Case Study Principal Investigator

Hannu Nieminen is Dean of the Faculty of Social Sciences and Professor of Media and Communications Policy, University of Helsinki. He received his Ph.D. in 1996 in the University of Westminster, London. He has published widely on issues related to media and democracy, theories of public sphere, and communication policy and regulation. From 2010 to 2017 he served as a member of the Governing Board of NORDICOM (Nordic Information Centre for Media and Communication Research). Since 2012 he is an Expert in Public Service for the Administrative Council of YLE, Finland's national public service broadcasting company.

surm

Jasmin Surm
Case Study Research Assistant

Jasmin Surm is a PhD student at the Department of Journalism and Communication Science at the University of Vienna. She holds a master's degree in Communication Science conducting research on international news agencies for her doctoral dissertation. Her broader academic background are the humanities; she is doing a master’s degree in Comparative Literature and a bachelor’s degree in Romance Philology. Besides German, she is fluent in English, Spanish and Portuguese and has an advanced knowledge of Italian, French and Catalan. Her research interests include news agencies, international news journalism, the media landscape of the Iberian Peninsula and foreign languages.

vyslozil

Dr Wolfgang Vyslozil
Case Study Principal Investigator

Dr Wolfgang Vyslozil was CEO of APA Austria Press Agency for 26 years and retired at the end of 2008. He was twice elected President of EANA, has held the post of the Chairman of Group ’39, the European alliance of independent national news agencies, and was Chairman of the IPI expert committee on news agencies. Dr Vyslozil is currently a lecturer at the Universities of Vienna and Salzburg on Strategic Media Management. Additionally he holds research seminars on historical and future developments of news agencies. 

yanatma

Dr Servet Yanatma
Case Study Research Assistant

Dr Servet Yanatma is an independent researcher and freelance journalist, and currently a visiting fellow at Reuters Institute for the Study of Journalism at University of Oxford. He holds a BA and MA in history from the Bogazici University. In 2015, he completed his PhD program in Middle East Technical University with the title of “The International News Agencies in the Ottoman Empire, 1854-1908.” His research interests are news agencies, political economy of media, media ownership, online media, public diplomacy, media and politics in the late Ottoman Empire and modern Turkey.

Advisory

Erik Nylen

Erik Nylen
Collaborating Partner

Erik Nylen is Secretary General of the European Alliance of News Agencies (EANA). He is the former CEO and Editor-in-Chief of Swedish news agency TT and has extensive experience as a reporter, news editor and project manager in Swedish media.

Funding

This project has received funding from the following sources:

Further funding is currently being sought to ensure the interview and case study phases, as well as to further expand the scope of the project.

The project is designed and conducted in conjunction with our collaborating partners, the European Alliance of News Agencies (EANA) and is the beginning of a major research project on the study of national and global news.