Dr Lee Becker, director of the Cox International Center, at the 2015 AEJMC conference in San Francisco, California.

High Levels Of Competition Are Found To Be Associated With Low Levels Of Journalistic Performance

A research team from the University of Georgia and from two Swedish universities has found added support for their earlier findings that, contrary to traditional economic theory, high levels of competition can be detrimental to the production of high quality journalism.

In a paper presented to the Association for Education in Journalism and Mass Communication, the team used data from a sample of 21 countries to examine the relationship between the availability of advertising revenue to individual media outlets and the quality of journalism at those outlets.

The researchers found that, particularly where internet competition influences advertising market share, as the news media’s share of the advertising market falls in a country, so, too, does the quality of the journalism produced by that country’s news media.

The 21 countries were in emerging media markets, where competition is intense for limited advertising resources.

The team presented its findings to the Media Management, Economics and Entrepreneurship division of the international conference held in San Francisco in early August. The paper was judged to be the top faculty research paper of the division.

Lead author on the paper was Adam Jacobbson from the Department of Economics at the University of Stockholm. Other authors were Dr. C. Ann Hollifield, Dr. Lee B. Becker, and Dr. Tudor Vlad from the Grady College of Journalism and Mass Communication at the University of Georgia and Eva-Maria Jacobsson from the School of Computer Science and Communication, Royal Institute of Technology, Stockholm.

Dr. Becker is director of the James M. Cox Jr. Center for International Mass Communication Training and Research, a unit of the Grady College, and Dr. Tudor Vlad is associate director of the Cox International Center.

Drs. Becker and Vlad also presented a second paper at the San Francisco conference that showed that journalism and mass communication faculties in the United States have become more diverse in the last 15 years in terms of both race/ethnicity and gender.

Dr. Ann C. Hollifield speaking at the 2015 AEJMC conference.

The researchers found that the expected predictors of increased diversification, and particularly accreditation by the Accrediting Council on Education in Journalism and Mass Communication, did not show the expected relationships to diversification. ACEJMC schools were more diverse, and they became more diverse over time, but so did the faculties of programs that were not accredited.

Oana Stefanita, a doctoral students at the National University of Political Studies and Public Administration, Bucharest, Romania, also was an author of the paper on faculty diversification. Stefanita had been a Fulbright Scholar in the Cox International Center in academic year 2014-2015.

The AEJMC conference was held Aug. 6 to 9 in the San Francisco Marriott Marquis in downtown San Francisco.

Communication scholars from around the world attended.

The U.S. and Swedish team has been working on the relationship between competition and journalistic performance for a number of years, and their most recent findings are consistent with those the team has presented and published previously. The most recent paper used a refined measure of advertising revenue and included data across a number of years.

Drs. Becker and Vlad have conducted research together on journalism and mass communication education and its labor market for more than 15 years as part of the research program of the Cox International Center.

The paper presented to the Media Management, Economics and Entrepreneurship division of the Association for Education in Journalism and Mass Communication is available here.

The paper on faculty diversification is available here.