RISJ Reports

RISJ Reports are designed to make available current research on journalism that has been undertaken either within or in association with the Reuters Institute. 

The papers can be downloaded in PDF format, by clicking on the titles, or right-clicking and choosing 'Save link as...' to save the file directly to your computer.

What If There Were No BBC Television? The Net Impact on UK Viewers

By Patrick Barwise and Robert G. Picard

This report is an independent contribution to the debate on the future of the BBC and uses a range of scenarios to compare the current UK television market with what it might be like if there were no BBC TV. 

Ask the Audience: Evaluating new ways to fund TV content

By Sian Kevill and Alex Connock

This report examines the evolving funding and distribution models for TV and video content and the global debate around editorial credibility, regulation, and effectiveness. It asks viewers what they think of content created in this way and demonstrates a surprisingly high tolerance of advertiser presence.

How the Media Report Scientific Risk and Uncertainty: A Review of the Literature

By Teresa Ashe

Based on an extensive review of the academic literature, this study examines the media’s reporting of risk and uncertainty around environmental and health stories, summarising how, when and scientific stories involving them are reported, outlining theoretical approaches to media practices, and analysing the factors that lie behind the creation of news stories.

Media and Democratisation: What is known about the Role of Mass Media in Transitions to Democracy

by Nael Jebril, Václav Stetka and Matthew Loveless

This report explores what is known about the roles of the mass media in transitions to democracy. It offers a fundamental overview of thinking regarding democratisation through the media, and covers the major works, theories, and themes relevant to the study of mass media in transitional contexts.

Is there Still a Place for Public Service Television?

Eds Robert G. Picard and Paolo Siciliani

This report explores what is driving changes in broadcasting, how changes are altering the traditional economics of broadcasting systems and provision, and the implications for broadcasting policy.

Crowdsourcing in Investigative Journalism

By Johanna Vehkoo

This report looks into how crowdsourcing can be useful in long-term journalistic investigations. It illustrates the method by introducing three case studies from the UK and Finland.

Remotely Piloted Aircraft Systems and Journalism: Opportunities and Challenges of Drones in News Gathering

By David Goldberg, Mark Corcoran, and Robert G. Picard

This report summarizes issues raised by journalists, policy and legal specialists in the challenges posed by the use of unmanned aircraft in news gathering. It includes research to help news organisations evaluate the potential for use of these tools, to understand the broader context and issues surrounding their use, to consider how they might be used, and to assess the desirability of their use.

The Public Appetite for Foreign News on TV and Online

by Richard Sambrook, Simon Terrington and David Levy

This study looks at coverage of international issues on BBC TV and online. It reveals that online audiences for individual international stories are on average lower than those of the two main BBC TV news bulletins and that online selection of international stories often follows behind them being broadcast on TV.

Truth Matters: The BBC and Our Need for It to Be Right

by John Lloyd

The scandals which erupted within the BBC in November 2012 posed questions about the governance and the management culture of the BBC. In this report we illuminate the major areas of contention and debate, show what the underlying and often long-running problems in the management structure are and point to the main routes of future developments now in discussion within and about the BBC.

Ten Years that Shook the Media World

by Rasmus Kleis Nielsen

This report documents some very significant differences in how media companies in different countries have fared over the last decade, examining six  affluent democracies (Finland, France, Germany, Italy, the United Kingdom and the United States) as well as two emerging economies (Brazil and India).

The economics of television in a digital world: What economics tell us for future policy debates

by Patrick Barwise and Robert G. Picard

This report explores the economic factors underlying television and the policy arguments that emanate from them in the all-digital television world. It reveals where differing perspectives and debates take place among economists and economic policy analysts and the roots of those differences.

News Plurality in a Digital World

by Robin Foster

This report examines the nature and scope of powerful new digital intermediaries such as search engines, social networks, and app stores and looks at their implications for plurality – both good and bad – in a fast-changing digital world.

Delivering Trust: Impartiality and Objectivity in the Digital Age

by Richard Sambrook

A review of the  debate in the US and the UK about the relevance of the journalistic norms of objectivity and impartiality in the digital age.


Regulating the Press: A comparative study of international press councils

by Lara Fielden

This report provides the most up to date and wide ranging comparative study of press councils overseas. It offers hard analysis and insight in an area often marked by entrenched positions and emotion.  Its aim is not to provide a blue print for a new UK model, but there are many positive lessons from international experience.

Squeezing Out the Oxygen - or Reviving Democracy? the History and Future of the TV Election Debates in the UK

by Ric Bailey

The impact of the TV debates during the 2010 Election campaign has led many to assume they will now become a permanent feature of UK general elections. This firsthand account examines the arguments over whether debates are appropriate for the UK’s parliamentary democracy, and warns that despite their galvanising impact on the 2010 campaign, future debates cannot be taken for granted if old difficulties recur and some new ones emerge.

Medical and Health News and Information in the UK Media: The Current State of Knowledge

by Robert G. Picard and Minhee Yeo

 This report reviews what is known about medical and health news in UK media and shows that research on the subject is spotty, weak, and outdated. It suggests a research agenda for better understanding the roles and performance of UK media in conveying medical and health information. 

Mainstream media and the distribution of news in the age of social discovery

by Nic Newman 

Social media have helped UK newspapers and broadcasters gain traction around the world, but news organisations are becoming increasingly worried about the potentially disruptive effect of social media on their business models.  This paper offers an important contribution to understanding the implications of these changes for the quality of news and the future of journalism.

Public Support for the Media: A Six-Country Overview of Direct and Indirect Subsidies

 by Rasmus Kleis Nielsen with Geert Linnebank

This report examines the main forms of direct and indirect public sector support for the media in six developed democracies (Finland, France, Germany, Italy, the United Kingdom, and the United States), shows how the main beneficiaries of the hundreds of millions of Euros worth of subsidies provided remain broadcast and print industry incumbents, and discusses the prospects for reform.

The new foreign correspondent at work: Local-national stringers and the global news coverage of conflict in Darfur

by Mel Bunce

This report examines the Sudanese-national journalists who provided an important portion of the global news coverage on the crisis in Darfur. The results point to a potential crisis in the discursive nature of contemporary international news.

Can it tweet its way to democracy? The promise of participatory media in Africa

by Abiye Megenta

In this report, we explore the changing ways in which citizens are chipping away the power of authoritarian regimes in Africa, including Egypt, through the use of online participatory media.


From their own correspondent?  New media and the changes in disaster coverage: Lessons to be learnt

by Glenda Cooper

This research discusses how disaster reporting has changed since the 2004 tsunami and how a duet – aid agencies and the media – has become a trio with the introduction of user-generated content into the lexicon.


Trust in International News Media in partially free media environments

 by Anne Geniets

This report examines attitudes to trust in domestic, regional and international news media across the whole population in five developing countries: Kenya, Senegal, Egypt, India and Pakistan.

The Global News Challenge: Assessing changes in international broadcast news consumption in Africa and South Asia

by Anne Geniets

This report examines changing news consumption patterns across the whole population in six African countries, India and Pakistan in the context of increased competition and media liberalisation in these eight markets.

#UKelection2010, mainstream media and the role of the internet: how social and digital media affected the business of politics and journalism

by Nic Newman

This study examines the impact of social media on the UK election, looking in particular at the record breaking levels of participation among younger voters and the effect this had on the outcome.

Good News from a Far Country? Changes in international broadcast news supply in Africa and South Asia

by Brian Rotheray

This report is based on reviews of the main international broadcasters, news agenda analysis of local and international broadcasters and studies of the media environment in eight countries in Africa and Asia.

Investigative Journalism and Political Power in China: Five Newspapers’ Reporting of the Chenzhou Mass Corruption Case, February 2004–November 2008

by Haiyan Wang

This working paper begins by asking whether or not investigative journalism in China takes the same adversarial position towards officialdom as do its Western counterparts and, if not, what the relationship looks like.


The rise of social media and its impact on mainstream journalism

by Nic Newman

This study by Nic Newman, Future Media Controller, BBC Journalism, examines how newspapers and broadcasters in the UK and US are responding to a wave of participatory social media, and a historic shift in control towards individual consumers.

Journalism, Democracy and the Public Interest: rethinking media pluralism for the Digital Age

by Steven Barnett

The media industry is in the midst of a 'perfect storm', as recession, fragmented audiences and the shift of press advertising to the internet, impact upon it. Steven Barnett, Professor of Communications at the University of Westminster, analyses the effects of these changes on the industry, and how Government and regulatory intervention can best enable it to move forward in a changing world.

Navigating the Crisis in Local and Regional News: A Critical Review of Solutions

by Andrew Currah

This report, by Andrew Currah who is a lecturer at University of Oxford specialising in the digital economy, and a visiting fellow at the Reuters Institute, evaluates the likely impact of the serious funding crisis in local and regional news, on the quality of journalism, and on the potential for the emergence of a 'news gap' in the UK. A range of options for sustaining local and regional journalism are then examined in turn, and possible ways of moving through the crisis are proposed.

Press Subsidies and Local News: The Swedish Case

Karl Erik Gustafsson, Henrik Örnebring and David AL Levy 

In this working paper, Karl Erik Gustafsson, co-founder of the Media Management and Transformation Centre at Jönköping International Business School, together with Henrik Ornebring and David Levy, from Reuters Institute, review the Swedish media landscape in the context of its historical background, and in today's more uncertain marketplace. They then critically assess the quality of Swedish journalism, and draw lessons from the Swedish press subsidy system.

A Shock to the System: Journalism, Government and the Freedom of Information Act 2000

by Jeremy Hayes

Jeremy Hayes of BBC Radio 4’s ‘The World Tonight’ and a recent BBC fellow at the Reuters Institute presents a progress report on the Freedom of Information Act .

The Two Professionalisms of Journalism: Journalism and the changing context of work

by Dr Henrik Örnebring

Dr Henrik Örnebring, Axess Research Fellow in Comparative European Journalism, analyses the changes in journalistic occupation.

Comparative European Journalism: The State of Current Research

by Dr Henrik Örnebring

Dr Henrik Örnebring, Axess Research Fellow in Comparative European Journalism, gives an overview of the current research in the field in his recent e-publication.