Open Access Journal

ISSN: 2183-2439

Article | Open Access | Ahead of Print | Last Modified: 16 January 2024

Innovations in Journalism as Complex Interplay: Supportive and Obstructive Factors in International Comparison

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Abstract:  Where does innovation in journalism come from, how is it implemented, and what factors drive or hinder its development? Scholars have explored these questions from different perspectives for over two decades. Our research holistically considers the broader factors that influence the development of journalistic innovation at the macro, meso, and micro levels, and whether it is internally or externally driven. In a three-year international research project, we have unpacked innovation with this multidimensional approach, looking at the most important innovations in journalism in Austria, Germany, Spain, Switzerland, and the UK. Our study focuses on the mutual interplay between journalists, media organizations, and society. We investigated 100 case studies with 137 guided interviews with senior managers or project leaders. The results show that the focus of supporting and obstructive factors is internal and on the meso level and that many parallels exist between media systems. Internal factors are the intrinsic motivation of individuals, which need the support of open-minded management, allowing a culture of experimentation without economic pressure and assembling interdisciplinary teams. Across countries and independent of the respective media system, three external key drivers of innovation in journalism can be identified: technology, societal change, and change in the digital media universe. The study confirms once again as if through a magnifying glass that journalism is primarily a public service, especially for those innovations that strengthen the role of journalism in a democratic society.

Keywords:  Austria; Germany; innovation; journalism; media organizations; obstructive factors; Spain; supportive factors; Switzerland; UK

Published:   Ahead of Print


© Klaus Meier, Michael Graßl, Jose Alberto García-Avilés, Dámaso Mondejar, Andy Kaltenbrunner, Renée Lugschitz, Colin Porlezza, Petra Mazzoni, Vinzenz Wyss, Mirco Saner. This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 license (, which permits any use, distribution, and reproduction of the work without further permission provided the original author(s) and source are credited.