Mapping and Explaining Media Quality: Insights from Switzerland’s Multilingual Media System

Open Access Journal | ISSN: 2183-2439

Article | Open Access

Mapping and Explaining Media Quality: Insights from Switzerland’s Multilingual Media System


  • Linards Udris Department of Communication and Media Research, University of Zurich, Switzerland
  • Mark Eisenegger Department of Communication and Media Research, University of Zurich, Switzerland
  • Daniel Vogler Research Center for the Public Sphere and Society, University of Zurich, Switzerland
  • Jörg Schneider Research Center for the Public Sphere and Society, University of Zurich, Switzerland
  • Andrea Häuptli Department of Communication and Media Research, University of Zurich, Switzerland


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Abstract:  In this article, we analyse how various macro- and meso-level factors influence news media’s provision of hard news, an important element of media quality. The research draws on a content analysis of more than 100,000 news items between 2015 and 2019 from 53 print, radio, TV, and online news outlets in Switzerland, a small state with three linguistically segmented media markets, each of which is partially influenced by a large neighbouring country (Germany, France, and Italy). The research design takes into account the multi-dimensional character of hard news and allows for analysis with explanatory factors on different levels: On the meso-level, ownership types complemented with media types, and on the macro-level language regions of different market size. Findings show large differences in the importance of hard news overall and these findings are consistent across the three dimensions of hard news (topic dimension, focus dimension, style dimension). Hard news orientation differs especially between private and public media, but also within privately held media outlets, and less so within public media, which points to a general quality culture embedded within public media organizations. Thus, rather than by language region and the according media market size or by ownership types, quality differences can be best explained by media types.

Keywords:  content analysis; media ownership; media performance; media quality; media types; news; Switzerland

Published:   24 August 2020


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DOI: https://doi.org/10.17645/mac.v8i3.3140


© Linards Udris, Mark Eisenegger, Daniel Vogler, Jörg Schneider, Andrea Häuptli. This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 license (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0), which permits any use, distribution, and reproduction of the work without further permission provided the original author(s) and source are credited.