Open Access Journal

ISSN: 2183-2439

Article | Open Access

Comparing Media Systems Through the Lens of Neoliberal Hegemony: Evidence From the US and Flanders

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Abstract:  This article argues that increased insight into the global characteristics of the post-Cold War era provides journalism scholars with alternative interpretative lenses to engage in comparative analysis of media system development in the West. We adopt the sociohistorical approach pursued by Hallin and Mancini (2004) in their seminal work Comparing Media Systems to embark on an examination of the dialectic relationship between global neoliberal hegemony, the transformation of media markets, and the emergence of a new journalistic consciousness (doxa). This examination concerns a comparative analysis of developments in a selection of Flemish and American legacy newspapers between 1980 and today, based on a data set consisting of 36 in-depth semi-structured interviews with high agency individuals (executive editors, managing editors, senior journalists, and publishers). The goal of the article is to establish the lens of global neoliberal hegemony as a viable alternative framework to the regional lens of the media systems typology for engaging in comparative analysis of developments in media structures and journalistic practice.

Keywords:  comparing media systems; Flanders; journalism history; media markets; neoliberalism; oral history; USA


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© Nils Wandels, Jelle Mast, Hilde Van den Bulck. 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.