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Rasmus Kleis Nielsen
Director, Reuters Institute for the Study of
Journalism
Professor of Political Communciation, University
of Oxford
Stanford University, November 25, 2018
Effect of the
Changing Media
Landscape on
Democracy
World’s biggest ongoing news survey
74,000
respondents
37 Markets
2
Institutional-level change
4
0%
5%
10%
15%
20%
25%
30%
35%
40%
0
5
10
15
20
25
30
35
40
1950 1960 1970 1980 1990 2000 2010
Circulationper100population
US newspaper circulation and advertising share (1950-2010)
Print newspaper circulation Print newspaper advertising (% of total advertising)
Long-term structural decline in traditional business of news…
From Nielsen (forthcoming) “The changing economic context of
journalism”
5
0
50
100
150
200
250
2005 2006 2007 2008 2009 2010 2011 2012 2013 2014 2015 2016 2017
$billion
Estimated global digital advertising revenues, 2005-2017
Google Facebook Others
… rapid rise of new dominant platform companies
From Nielsen (forthcoming) “The changing economic context of
journalism”
6
0
100
200
300
400
500
600
700
800
900
1000
1960 1965 1970 1975 1980 1985 1990 1995 2000 2005
Minutesofcontentperminuteofattention
Media supply/demand in the US, 1960-2005
From Neuman et al (2015), “Tracking the Flow of Information
into the Home”
… and intensified competition for attention
Individual-level change
8
Q10a_new2017_rc. Which of these was the
MAIN way in which you came across news in
the last week? Base: All/under 35s that used
a gateway to news in the last week: All
markets = 69246/19755.
See Newman et al (2018) 2018 Reuters Institute Digital News
Report.
From direct to distributed discovery…
All markets
9
Automated serendipity means that
people who use search and social
media (and news aggregators) tend
to use more sources of news and
greater diversity of sources than
those that don’t.
The effect of incidental exposure to
news on social media is particularly
clear for the young and those least
interested in news.
See e.g. Fletcher and Nielsen (2018) “Are people incidentally
exposed to news on social media? A comparative analysis”
… driving automated serendipity and incidental exposure
10
ALL 37 MARKETS - % THAT TRUST EACH MOST OF THE TIME
Uncertainty in distributed environments, information
unchecked, hard to distinguish news from rumor...
Mostly this about trust in mainstream media
and in the sources that people use
Trust news
I use
44%
Trust news
overall
51%
Trust news
in search
34%
Trust news
in social
23%
See Fletcher and Nielsen (2018b) “Generalized scepticism” and
Newman et al (2018)
… navigated on the basis of “generalized skepticism”
Democratic implications?
Institutional
Individual
Aspirational?
The political side of creative destruction
Empowerment and dependency
Shift of power in favour of platform companies
Unintended consequence of wider embrace
Empowerment and dependency
Asymmetrical benefits: strongest, but not only
What do we want the new settlement to
look like?
13
References
Fletcher, Richard, and Rasmus Kleis Nielsen. 2017. “Are People Incidentally Exposed to News on Social Media? A Comparative
Analysis.” New Media & Society, August, 1461444817724170. ps://
doi.org/10.1177/1461444817724170.
Fletcher, Richard, and Rasmus Kleis Nielsen. 2018a. “Generalised Scepticism: How People Navigate News on Social Media.”
Information, Communication & Society 0 (0): 1–19. 10.1080/1369118X.2018.1450887.
Fletcher, Richard, and Rasmus Kleis Nielsen. 2018b. “Automated Serendipity: The effect of using search engines on news
repertoire balance and diversity.” Digital Journalism 6 (8): 976–89. https://doi.org/10.1080/21670811.2018.1502045.
Neuman, W. Russell, Yong Jin Park, and Elliot Panek. 2012. “Tracking the Flow of Information into the Home: An Empirical
Assessment of the Digital Revolution in the U.S. from 1960–2005.” International Journal of Communication 6: 1022–41.
Newman, Nic, Richard Fletcher, Antonis Kalogeropoulos, David A. L Levy, and Rasmus Kleis Nielsen. 2018. “Reuters Institute
Digital News Report 2018.” Oxford: Reuters Institute for the Study of Journalism. Digitalnewsreport.org
Nielsen, Rasmus Kleis. 2016. “Democracy.” In Digital Keywords: A Vocabulary of Information Society and Culture, edited by
Benjamin Peters, 81–92. Princeton Studies in Culture/Power/History. Princeton: Princeton University Press.
Nielsen, Rasmus Kleis. Forthcoming. “The Changing Economic Contexts of Journalism.” In the ICA Handbook of Journalism
Studies, edited by Karin Wahl-Jorgensen and Thomas Hanitzsch, forthcoming from Routledge.

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What are the effects of a changing media landscape on democracy?

  • 1. Rasmus Kleis Nielsen Director, Reuters Institute for the Study of Journalism Professor of Political Communciation, University of Oxford Stanford University, November 25, 2018 Effect of the Changing Media Landscape on Democracy
  • 2. World’s biggest ongoing news survey 74,000 respondents 37 Markets 2
  • 4. 4 0% 5% 10% 15% 20% 25% 30% 35% 40% 0 5 10 15 20 25 30 35 40 1950 1960 1970 1980 1990 2000 2010 Circulationper100population US newspaper circulation and advertising share (1950-2010) Print newspaper circulation Print newspaper advertising (% of total advertising) Long-term structural decline in traditional business of news… From Nielsen (forthcoming) “The changing economic context of journalism”
  • 5. 5 0 50 100 150 200 250 2005 2006 2007 2008 2009 2010 2011 2012 2013 2014 2015 2016 2017 $billion Estimated global digital advertising revenues, 2005-2017 Google Facebook Others … rapid rise of new dominant platform companies From Nielsen (forthcoming) “The changing economic context of journalism”
  • 6. 6 0 100 200 300 400 500 600 700 800 900 1000 1960 1965 1970 1975 1980 1985 1990 1995 2000 2005 Minutesofcontentperminuteofattention Media supply/demand in the US, 1960-2005 From Neuman et al (2015), “Tracking the Flow of Information into the Home” … and intensified competition for attention
  • 8. 8 Q10a_new2017_rc. Which of these was the MAIN way in which you came across news in the last week? Base: All/under 35s that used a gateway to news in the last week: All markets = 69246/19755. See Newman et al (2018) 2018 Reuters Institute Digital News Report. From direct to distributed discovery… All markets
  • 9. 9 Automated serendipity means that people who use search and social media (and news aggregators) tend to use more sources of news and greater diversity of sources than those that don’t. The effect of incidental exposure to news on social media is particularly clear for the young and those least interested in news. See e.g. Fletcher and Nielsen (2018) “Are people incidentally exposed to news on social media? A comparative analysis” … driving automated serendipity and incidental exposure
  • 10. 10 ALL 37 MARKETS - % THAT TRUST EACH MOST OF THE TIME Uncertainty in distributed environments, information unchecked, hard to distinguish news from rumor... Mostly this about trust in mainstream media and in the sources that people use Trust news I use 44% Trust news overall 51% Trust news in search 34% Trust news in social 23% See Fletcher and Nielsen (2018b) “Generalized scepticism” and Newman et al (2018) … navigated on the basis of “generalized skepticism”
  • 12. Institutional Individual Aspirational? The political side of creative destruction Empowerment and dependency Shift of power in favour of platform companies Unintended consequence of wider embrace Empowerment and dependency Asymmetrical benefits: strongest, but not only What do we want the new settlement to look like?
  • 13. 13 References Fletcher, Richard, and Rasmus Kleis Nielsen. 2017. “Are People Incidentally Exposed to News on Social Media? A Comparative Analysis.” New Media & Society, August, 1461444817724170. ps:// doi.org/10.1177/1461444817724170. Fletcher, Richard, and Rasmus Kleis Nielsen. 2018a. “Generalised Scepticism: How People Navigate News on Social Media.” Information, Communication & Society 0 (0): 1–19. 10.1080/1369118X.2018.1450887. Fletcher, Richard, and Rasmus Kleis Nielsen. 2018b. “Automated Serendipity: The effect of using search engines on news repertoire balance and diversity.” Digital Journalism 6 (8): 976–89. https://doi.org/10.1080/21670811.2018.1502045. Neuman, W. Russell, Yong Jin Park, and Elliot Panek. 2012. “Tracking the Flow of Information into the Home: An Empirical Assessment of the Digital Revolution in the U.S. from 1960–2005.” International Journal of Communication 6: 1022–41. Newman, Nic, Richard Fletcher, Antonis Kalogeropoulos, David A. L Levy, and Rasmus Kleis Nielsen. 2018. “Reuters Institute Digital News Report 2018.” Oxford: Reuters Institute for the Study of Journalism. Digitalnewsreport.org Nielsen, Rasmus Kleis. 2016. “Democracy.” In Digital Keywords: A Vocabulary of Information Society and Culture, edited by Benjamin Peters, 81–92. Princeton Studies in Culture/Power/History. Princeton: Princeton University Press. Nielsen, Rasmus Kleis. Forthcoming. “The Changing Economic Contexts of Journalism.” In the ICA Handbook of Journalism Studies, edited by Karin Wahl-Jorgensen and Thomas Hanitzsch, forthcoming from Routledge.