Yearbook Quality of the Media

fög examines the current changes taking place in the Swiss media landscape in the course of a year. This study focuses on the press, radio, TV and online media. In seperate analyses, complementary in-depth studies focus on selected sectors of politics, the economy and society.

Yearbook 2016 – What is new?

The latest edition of the Yearbook is handier and comes with several innovations.

First, we substantially elaborated our method used for the “quality scoring”. Our established concept now has been supplemented with additional indicators, which allows us to measure diversity, among others, in an even more valid way. Furthermore, we have changed from content-analyzing front-page and lead stories to content-analyzing whole editions and newscasts. The random sample from 2015 yielded 25,389 news items from 64 different news outlets.

Second, data from content analysis are part of the research project Medienqualitätsrating (MQR-16) [Media Quality Rating MQR-16], where data on media quality derived from content analysis is systematically linked with survey data on media quality evaluated by the audience. With this new survey, we are able to show empirically that the normative concept of media quality used for the quality scoring in the Yearbook is shared by the general public.

Third, in 2016, fög become the Swiss partner of an international large-scale project conducted by the Reuters Institute for the Study of Journalism at the University of Oxford. The Reuters Digital News Report is published annually, containing survey data on the news consumption in 26 countries. Switzerland was included for the first time in 2016. From this year on, parts of the results will also be discussed in the Yearbook. This rich data allows us, for instance, to contextualize the specific news preferences of young adults in Switzerland within a wider international perspective.

Our quality concept

The quality concept which the Yearbook has been using since its first edition in 2010 is derived from the basic foundations of a functioning democracy. These function criteria are widely shared in society. They can be found in legal texts on broadcasters with public service obligations, in the guidelines of professional news organizations, in the charters of press and media councils and in social-scientific theories of media quality.

These normative criteria have been translated into four general quality dimensions, i.e. relevance, diversity, contextualization, and professionalism.

The quality dimension relevance is based on the principle that, in public communication, the “general” should have priority over the “particular” and the “social” over the “private”. Accordingly, we are interested in the distribution of hard news vs. soft news or in the importance of media reports on institutional procedures compared to personalized reporting.

The quality dimension diversity is based on the principle that no topic, no opinion and no actor should be excluded in principle from public communication. This is why a diverse media coverage is essential. In the Yearbook, we consider a type of public communication as particularly diverse when the media conduct their news coverage with a variety of topics and geographical spaces.

The quality dimension contextualization is derived from the expectation that the media should provide more than just mere reporting and description of events but a contextualization of events. This contextualization is done when the media put current events into more long-term perspective and link them to other topics.

The quality dimension professionalism, a necessary condition for the media to fulfill their functions, is founded in the role conceptions of journalism itself. Main indicators used in the Yearbook in this dimension are objectivity, source transparency, and the degree of in-house reporting (compared to reliance on material produced by others).

Aim of the Yearbook Quality of the Media

This annual publication is designed to strengthen the awareness of media quality and to stimulate discussion on the transformation of our public sphere.

The Yearbook Quality of the Media is an information resource for media professionals, managers from the worlds of politics and business, the academia and for everyone who wishes to be actively involved with the development of our media and their contents.

Who is behind the Yearbook Quality of the Media?

The fög is responsible for the Yearbook. With the Yearbook, we have been striving for an interdisciplinary approach to analyzing public communication and thus social change.

The decision to publish the Yearbook was promoted by the independent and nonprofit Kurt Imhof Foundation for Media Quality (former Foundation for the Public Sphere and Society), which sponsors the project.

The project was inspired by its sole model to date, namely the annual documentation “The State of the News Media. An Annual Report on American Journalism” (Project for Excellence (PEW)), which is funded by The Pew Charitable Trusts in the United States.

Support the Yearbook

Donations to the Kurt Imhof Foundation for Media Quality may be made to:

IBAN CH28 0070 0110 0019 9753 1

Should you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact us.