From 2008 to 2016, two consecutive research and teaching projects at the Department of Journalism & Media Management examined the public value of public service and commercial media.
Public value has long been regarded as an international indicator for the social value of media. The debate about public value and media in Europe arose from the situation that the system of public broadcasting is under high pressure. Given the large competition from private media and the Internet, its justification is controversial nowadays. Public broadcasters need to focus on the appreciation of the audience because their their willingness to pay fees is highly associated with their valuation of offered services. Therefore, public broadcasters are encouraged to fulfill their public mission and contribution to social welfare to prove their public value. The impact of public service media on society, however, is complex and difficult to assess.
Public value research at the Department of Journalism & Media Management pays respect to the complex relationship between media and society. In our work, we aim at contributing to preserve quality content, to inspire the discussion about quality in the media and to point to the crucial role of audiences as critical media users.
Between 2008 and 2016, the work of the research team at the Department of Journalism & Media Management focused on the public value of different types of media in Austria and neighboring countries.
Phase 1: “Public Value – Die Zukunft des Qualitätsjournalismus zwischen öffentlich-rechtlichem Mehrwertgebot und wachsendem Wettbewerbsdruck”
(Project funded by FFG and MA23 of the City of Vienna | 2008 – 2012)
The first project, which was funded by the Austrian Research Promotion Agency (FFG) and the MA 23 of the City of Vienna, started in autumn 2008. Research included country comparisons as well as interviews with experts, media journalists and the audience.
In fall 2010, the Department organized the a conference “Multimedia future of quality journalism – Who benefits from public value?” in which practitioners and researchers participated. The different perspectives unfolded through research were published in a final edited volume.
Phase 2: “Public value goes international”
(Project funded by MA23 of the City of Vienna | 2014 – 2016)
Within the teaching and research project “Public value goes international”, public service media structures and offerings in Austria and other European countries were examined. A team of established and junior researchers cooperated with students and university partners from Albania, Belgium, Germany, Finland and the UK in joint workshops and seminars. Result of the project will be a research database of media services and figures for public value in Europe.
In the follow-up project, the Department expanded its expertise and enriched the national and international public debate on the future of public broadcasting and quality media.