On December 1, 2016, a team of students and supervisors from the IMS Master´s program presented their preliminary results of an international comparative study about media viability in five countries.
The research project titled “Viability of Alternative Online News Media Organizations in Developing and Transition Countries” focuses on five countries: Ecuador, Uganda, Cambodia, Ukraine, and Tunisia.
The presentation was initiated by Prof. Dr. Christoph Schmidt and student You Y Ly from Cambodia who gave the audience an introduction to the general idea and research aims of the project. They were followed by Dr. Laura Schneider from DW Akademie´s department of Department of Strategy and Consulting Services, who acted as a guest expert, giving insights on the topic of media viability and the context of the evolution of this concept.
Later on, Janine Deselaers, Research Associate at the IMS Master´s Program, and Prof. Schmidt, dvelved more deeply into the methodological aspects of the project. Finally, two student researchers – Katharina Wecker from Germany and Estefanía Oliva from Uruguay – presented the preliminary results of the first phase of the project. So far, interviews had been conducted with founders and owners of alternative online news media. All research had been done according to a joint theoretical framework and interview guidelines developed by all group members together.
The second phase of the project will consist in interview conduction with media experts from different fields in order to supply the results from the first phase with a correcting and wider perspective as well as the classification and identification of the challenges that independent online news media are facing within broader contexts such as digital change, repressive media laws and economic crises.
A lively discussion with classmates from the first and third semester, lecturers and other colleagues of the DW Akademie succeeded the presentation.
The topic of media viability is of rising importance, not only for media organizations themselves but also for international media development institutions such as the DW Akademie. To identify the factors that make media not only able to survive but to combine financial sustainability with high journalistic quality content and editorial independence must be an overarching goal for everyone striving to support the distribution of independent news, especially in developing countries. The IMS research project is doing its share to get a step closer to this aim.