MediaDev effectiveness

Research, reports and articles about the effectiveness of media development (and development aid).

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For non-academic research, reports and articles on digital transformation go to

pageMediaDev effectiveness

Journal of Applied Journalism and Media Studies - JEANNINE RELLY & SILVIO WAISBORD

The COVID-19 pandemic, global economic downturn, anti-press violence and worsening situation of labour precarity for journalists around the world have led to increased stress, trauma and burnout in the profession, which raises questions at the heart of media sustainability and approaches to media development in a global context ...

Though programmatic agendas in global media development are crowded with multiple goals in response to complex problems, we believe that resilience should be prioritized. This work cannot be done without a nuanced analysis of local causes of emotional distress as well as local understandings of emotional labour and repair. Working with journalists’ support organizations and employers in conducting diagnoses, identifying suitable actions and promoting sustainable practices is imperative. Recommendations and actions need to be sensitive to local conditions, demands and opportunities. While immediate remediation actions are important, it is also important to keep attention on long-term structural matters that cause emotional distress.

This is one of a series of articles published in the special edition, "What's next for media development" (Volume 11) of the Journal of Applied Journalism and Media Studies.

Journal of Applied Journalism and Media Studies - INES DREFS

The academic study of media development as a field of practice and international cooperation has received quite some impetus in the last couple of years. Theory-building in this research field, however, seems to be stagnating. The explanatory power of established theories such as modernization, dependency or participation appears limited in the light of recent empirical findings that point to increasing ‘bureaucratization’ and ‘proceduralization’ in the media development sector. Against this background, this article sets out to find an analytical model that adequately grasps the logics guiding the work of media development’s various actors – from donors to intermediary organizations to local NGOs.

Theoretical input from organizational institutionalism seems to offer a promising perspective for characterizing the institutional logics that shape (yet do not determine) media development practice. On this basis, the article proposes an analytical framework that allows to categorize media development actors’ beliefs and practices between the poles of social transformation logics and managerial logics.

This is one of a series of articles published in the special edition, "What's next for media development" (Volume 11) of the Journal of Applied Journalism and Media Studies.

Journal of Applied Journalism and Media Studies - NICK BENEQUISTA, ET AL. (editors)

This special edition of the Journal of Applied Journalism & Media Studies features critical insights into the future of international media assistance. Edited by Nick Benequista, Susan Abbott, Tawana Kupe, and Fatima El-Issawi, the collection reflects the efforts of the Media Sector Development Working Group at the International Association for Media and Communication Research.

What comes next for media development? Though the contributors to this volume provide answers from diverse perspectives, they each touch upon questions of agency and localization. The contributors investigate major issues with a bearing on media development literature in a bid to explore some conceptual frameworks and lay down a path for an actionoriented practice.

Media Development Assistane in the 21st Century

In this position paper which draws on the GFMD and CIMA's draft concept note on MediaDev principles, MEDAS 21 stresses the relevance of media development in international cooperation. It includes a summary of research and case studies from Sub-Saharan Africa and South Asia that came out of MEDAS 21's graduate school.

This position paper puts forward suggestions for further practical and theoretical engagement with media development cooperation.

Defining the contested term ‘media development cooperation’ is an ongoing process. Without taking a position on whether or not it constitutes a separate field of research, these objectives can serve as references for what is named in this paper 'media development cooperation'—meaning any engagement by the media themselves and by development actors that promotes either participatory communication (the use of communication to enhance endogenous social change), media for development (the use of media for development purposes) or media development (the targeted development of an independent media sector including a favourable environment, media organizations and outlets, journalists and the audience/ media literacy).

Global Media Journal German Edition- MIRA KEBLRER

The PDF version of this journal article is available here.

"It appears to be essential to reflect different perspectives for doing media development work in contexts where foreign actors are not insiders. Here, their outside views on the needs of supported countries and on how to work together can be difficult for implementing projects, especially for actors on-site on which this article focuses. It aims to bring practical and academic reflections together for a broader understanding of how insiders and outsiders perceive media development work differently."

American Political Science Association - SILVIO WAISBORD & ABIGAIL JONES

The volume of international media assistance (IMA) has significantly grown during the past two decades. Major donors, including the United States’ government, have increased support for initiatives aimed at fostering freedom of expression, media independence, diversity of opinion, democratic press legislation, investigative journalism, and equal access to information technologies. Yet, despite this explosion, we still know very little about the link between aid interventions and media transformations? This article analyzes how selected programs articulate broad media objectives with program goals and apply indicators to determine impact with the goal of understanding how media assistance goals are operationalized and measured, and how program goals are linked to broad objectives. Guided by the notion that institutions and institutional incentives matter in international aid, it is proposed that IMA program goals should not only be the reflection of normative arguments about desirable media structures and practices, and models of development and change. They also need to be viewed as the expression of the dynamics and organizational goals of aid institutions.

SAGE Journals - Timothy Neff and Victor Pickard

"This study examines whether and how public media systems contribute to the health of democracies in 33 countries in Europe, Africa, Asia, North America, the Middle East, Latin America, and South America. We gather national economic data and public media funding levels, audience shares, and regulatory data, primarily for 2018 and 2019 but in some cases earlier, due to lack of available data. We then assess correlations with strength of democracy indices and extend Hallin and Mancini's typology of North American and European media systems through hierarchical cluster analysis of these 33 countries."


This paper uses in-depth interviews with 30 directors and senior policymakers of 16 of the world's largest donor countries to examine how news coverage "influences governments’ humanitarian aid allocations, from the perspective of the senior bureaucrats involved in such decision-making."


"This paper explores how it is possible to authoritatively report on events in one of the world’s most restrictive places for press freedom."

Technological University Dublin - DAIRE HIGGINS

"This thesis examines the impact on the Media Assistance sector of the arrival of digital technologies into the ‘information ecosystems’ in which it operates. Whereas historically in Media Assistance, broadcast media and the press have been the preferred (or available) media for achieving development objectives, digital technologies such as mobile phones and social media are radically altering the landscape of Media Assistance." (abstract)

Lexington Books - JAIRO LUGO-OCANDO

"[This book] examines the way in which foreign aid has shaped professional ideologies of journalism as part of systematic and orchestrated efforts since the beginning of the twentieth century to shape journalism as a political institution of the Global South. Foreign aid pushed for cultural convergence around a set of ideologies as a way of exporting ideology and expanding markets, reflecting the market society along with the expansion of U.S. power and culture across the globe.

Jairo Lugo-Ocando argues that these policies were not confined to the Cold War and were not a purely modern phenomenon; today’s journalism grammar was not invented in one place and spread to the rest, but was instead a forced colonial and post-colonial nation-building exercise that reflected both imposition and contestation to these attempts. As a result, Lugo-Ocando claims, journalism grammar and ideology differ between societies in the Global South, regardless of claims of universality." (publisher)


This collection is the first of its kind on the topic of media development. It brings together luminary thinkers in the field—both researchers and practitioners—to reflect on how advocacy groups, researchers, the international community and others can work to ensure that media can continue to serve as a force of democracy and development. But that mission faces considerable challenges. Media development paradigms are still too frequently associated with Western prejudices, or out of touch with the digital age. As we move past Western blueprints and into an uncertain digital future, what does media development mean? If we are to act meaningfully to shape the future of our increasingly mediated societies, we must answer this question.

Stanford Social Innovation Review - ANYA SCHIFFRIN & ETHAN ZUCKERMAN

More and more news outlets rely on philanthropic funding. With such funding come new questions about the effect that media content has on citizens and policymakers. Traditional metrics, most observers agree, are insufficient. But the value of alternative metrics is an open issue. Two scholars analyze an array of current approaches to gauging whether and how news organizations make a difference in the world.


For non-academic research, reports and articles on digital transformation go to

pageMediaDev effectiveness


This resource page is a work in progress. Please get in touch to let us know what is missing using this form.

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