METHODOLOGY

This cross-national project is based on data from 365 news media outlets in 37 countries. 

Drawing on the first wave of the study - which was conducted between 2013 and 2018 and focused on role performance of journalists and the gap between ideals and professional practice in print media and national desk news -, the second wave dealt with the systematic analysis of journalistic roles in four media platforms – print, television, radio and online – and multiple news beats across a more diverse sample of cultures. 

 

The study follows a mixed-methods design. Based on standardized operationalization of the interventionist, watchdog, citizen-watchdog, civic, loyal-facilitator, infotainment, and service roles in journalism, we first measured role performance through the presence of each of these roles and their indicators in the news via a content analysis. 

Next, to address the link between the evaluative level and the performative level of journalistic cultures, we conducted a survey among journalists working at the news outlets included in our sample. The survey dealt with the conception and the perceived role enactment of the respondents, thereby enabling us to compare journalists’ evaluations with the average performance of their news media organization.

 

Finally, each national team collected information at the organizational/institutional levels of their news organizations and the societal level of their countries.

 

The timeframe for the overall study was the year 2020. The fieldwork for the content analysis, the survey, and the compilation of organizational and societal-level data were carried out between 2020 and 2021. 

 

Our research uses a most different systems-design based on a comparative study of advanced, transitional, and non-democratic countries. In order to obtain a heterogeneous sample, we selected countries representing a variety of political regimes, geographic regions, and media systems. Our study includes countries from North America, Latin America, Western Europe, Eastern Europe, Asia, Africa, the Middle East, and Oceania. The data were gathered by the respective national teams in Argentina, Australia, Austria, Belgium, Brazil, Canada, Chile, Colombia, Cuba, Ecuador, Egypt, United Kingdom, Estonia, Ethiopia, France, Germany, Hungary, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Japan, Kuwait, Lebanon, Mexico, Paraguay, Poland, Qatar, Russia, Rwanda, Serbia, Spain, Switzerland, Taiwan, United Arab Emirates, the United States, and Venezuela.

 

All participating countries were required and agreed to follow a general agreement and ethical rules: to conduct the content analysis of news and survey of journalists in their respective countries; to efficiently train their news content coders and interviewers; and to submit high quality – clean, genuine, and reliable – data for the content analysis and the survey. The principal investigators in all countries were also expected to actively participate in project meetings, to participate in the data analysis and manuscript preparation, as well as to promote the project in their academic circles. 

 

While the host institution for the study is the Pontificia Universidad Católica de Valparaíso in Chile, each national team funded their own fieldwork.