Latest data, trends and issues facing journalism and media

You can find here processes and documents that frame data, learning & knowledge sharing on journalism support & media development

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This edition of WAN-IFRA’s annual flagship research and report reveals an industry challenged but optimistic about its business. It examines the results of publishers’ business in 2021, their forecasts for 2022 and beyond, and the trends and issues shaping the industry. The research shows news publishers feel confident about tackling the ongoing coronavirus crisis, and that some of their early pandemic-era pivots are beginning to pay dividends. However, publishers still need to navigate considerable transformation and turmoil, even if there are signs of a resurgence in global advertising markets and a maturing of many reader revenue strategies. The invasion of Ukraine has further undermined companies’ plans, as how that conflict will unfold can have long-lasting effects on industries across the board, in addition to the humanitarian crisis it is causing.

The World Press Trends Outlook analysis is based on an online survey distributed to industry leaders. 162 news executives from 58 countries took part in the survey in Fall 2021 – a big thank you to them for sharing their insights, results and strategies. In addition, WAN-IFRA works with PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) and ZenithOptimedia for key performance indicators (revenue, circulation and ad spend). For additional audience insights, we work with analytics specialist Chartbeat.


This study has been commissioned by the Reuters Institute for the Study of Journalism to understand how news is being consumed in a range of countries. Research was conducted by YouGov using an online questionnaire at the end of January/beginning of February 2022. The 46 markets analysed account for more than half the world’s population, and can perhaps illuminate trends elsewhere.

A SUMMARY OF SOME OF THE MOST IMPORTANT FINDINGS: • Trust in the news has fallen in almost half the countries surveyed, and risen in just seven, partly reversing the gains made at the height of the Coronavirus pandemic. On average, around four in ten of our total sample (42%) say they trust most news most of the time. Finland remains the country with the highest levels of overall trust (69%), while news trust in the USA has fallen by a further three percentage points and remains the lowest (26%) in the survey. • Consumption of traditional media, such as TV and print, declined further in the last year in almost all markets (pre- Ukraine invasion), with online and social consumption not making up the gap. While the majority remain very engaged, others are turning away from the news media and in some cases disconnecting from news altogether. Interest in news has fallen sharply across markets, from 63% in 2017 to 51% in 2022. • Meanwhile, the proportion of news consumers who say they avoid news, often or sometimes, has increased sharply across countries. This type of selective avoidance has doubled in both Brazil (54%) and the UK (46%) over the last five years, with many respondents saying news has a negative effect on their mood.

The Economist Impact 2022

Breaking news: the economic impact of Covid-19 on the global news media industry is an Economist Impact report, supported by UNESCO, as part of the latter’s work to promote media viability. The findings are based on a research programme conducted between April and August 2021.

The report found that Covid-19 intensified economic pressures facing the global news media industry. It accelerated the decline of many news publishers’ most profitable revenue stream—printed newspaper advertising and circulation. Outlets in low- and middle-income countries have been the most severely impacted, with a rate of decline almost two times faster than the global average. Record growth in digital advertising and online subscription revenue in 2020 will not be sufficient to make up the difference. This has led to newsroom closures, layoffs and pay cuts for journalists at a time when access to trustworthy information is desperately needed.

Media and Journalism Research Center (2022) - Marius Dragomir and Astrid Söderström

This study is an updated version of an analysis focused on the editorial autonomy of state media worldwide, first published in 2021, using a new typology to research state-administered media that was introduced as part of the same analysis. The 2022 study covers a total of 157 countries, six more than in 2021. The data used for the analysis was collected over the course of the past five years as part of the Media Influence Matrix project carried out by the Media and Journalism Research Center.

State Media Monitor is a project of the Media and Journalism Research Center, a research institute that specializes in carrying out media research globally. This website features the most complete state media database ever built. Collection of data for the State Media Database has been carried out since 2004 under the supervision of Marius Dragomir, a journalist, media expert and scholar who is the center’s director.


UNESCO’s World trends in freedom of expression and media development: global report 2021/2022 analyses the state of media freedom, pluralism, independence, and safety of journalists over the past five years. Especially in light of the COVID-19 pandemic, access to information has never been more imperative. News media has struggled to keep up with the demand for reliable and quality news as revenue declines and limited capacities. This issue has particularly affected the Global South. This crisis was further accelerated by the easy access that audiences found to disinformation, leading to "a pandemic of non-verified or misleading information. Such falsehoods- spread intentionally or not- sowed confusion, division and, discord, impacting lives and livelihoods around the world."

Democracy Fund/Media Impact Funders (2019) - SARAH ARMOUR-JONES AND JESSICA CLARK

This comprehensive report provides an extensive overview of the state of global media philanthropy. It includes a discussion of data from the Media Data Map, results from a survey of leading organizations engaged in funding media-related projects, analyses of existing literature and reports, and insights offered by experts across a range of media funding issues.

Improving the mechanisms for capturing and analyzing global media funding trends is not only relevant for foundations focused on traditional media issues such as freedom of expression and journalism support, but also for donors working on healthcare, economic security, environmental issues and human rights. As the reach of media extends, it impacts all issues and areas of philanthropic giving. With support from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, Media Impact Funders has been researching worldwide trends, challenges and opportunities for media funding.

Centre for International Media Assistance (2018) - MARY MYERS & LINET ANGAYA JUMA

CIMA made an unprecedented effort to sift through a database with thousands of projects to more accurately identify flows going to media development and to provide the most granular analysis yet of how those funds are being spent. Given the new analytical approach of this report, it should not be regarded as simply an update on previous CIMA reports. The analysis presented in this report is meant to inform current debates on how international assistance can support an effective response to the new and evolving threats to the freedom of the press. That response will be led by journalists, civil society, groups, reform-minded officials and many other actors, but donors can play a crucial role by channelling adequate and timely resources to actors committed to upholding democratic values in global media systems.

KEY FINDINGS When donors provide assistance to the media sector, they frequently back projects that aim to strengthen the media’s contribution to good governance in some way or another. This kind of funding is consistent with recent declarations made by the international community on the importance of protecting independent media for the sake of democracy and development. Yet, in the bigger picture, donors still only commit a tiny fraction to this sector and appear to be responding slowly, if at all, to the unique challenges of press freedom in the digital age.

• Media assistance represented on average just 0.3 percent of total official development aid (ODA) between 2010 and 2015.

• Donor flows to media are small, but are holding steady.

• China is an increasingly active player in terms of global media aid flows, although its interventions are largely focused on developing infrastructure and take the form of loans rather than development grants.

2021 - Media Freedom Coalition discussion on ODA support to media (13 April)

In addition to OECD guidelines, A number of countries have specific guidelines for media assistance and journalism support, including, Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC) ​The role of media in creating inclusive, just and peaceful societies - Guidelines for SDC media assistance (2020)​

The Media Freedom Coalition (MFC) was formed in July 2019 at the Global Conference for Media Freedom in London as “a partnership of countries working together to advocate for media freedom and safety of journalists and hold to account those who harm journalists for doing their job”.

The Global Conference for Media Freedom hosted a session for donors on 10 July 2019.

1000 organisations now publish their development and humanitarian spending to IATI's Development Portal - a view of all IATI data by the recipient country or publisher, comparable with the latest OECD DAC CRS (Creditor Reporting System) data - including all major media development donors.

Goal 16 of the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) adopted as part of Agenda 2030 in 2015 marked a milestone by including an explicit target to “Ensure public access to information and protect fundamental freedoms” (Goal 16.10).

International Support to Media Development: Context, Evidence, Challenges and Possible Strategic Principles (2014).

In addition to OECD guidelines, A number of countries have specific guidelines for media assistance and journalism support, including, European Commission - Guidelines for EU support to media freedom and media integrity in enlargement countries, 2014-2020.

OECD DAC GovNet - 15 Sep 2014

OECD DAC, Strategic Principles for Media Assistance, Accountability and Democratic Governance: Orientations and Principles for Development, OECD DAC Guidelines and References Series, OECD 2013, as referenced in a January 2014 paper, Domestic Accountability and Support to Media: From the Why to the How in Effective Cooperation.

“Historically, media development has focused on journalism training ...[however]... donors increasingly understand that the media are part of a country’s political economy and therefore require broader, more substantial, and longer-term support.”

The paper also lamented the dearth of efforts within donor organisations dedicated to understanding media’s role, the low level of priority often given to media issues within development agencies, and the lack of mechanisms that institutionalise media support into policy structures.

In early 2012, the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) Development Assistance Committee (DAC) Working Party on Development Finance Statistics (WP-STAT) and the International Aid Transparency Initiative (IATI) developed a framework for the common standard for publishing aid information. This framework built upon the commitments donors made at the 4th High-Level Forum on Aid Effectiveness (HLF-4).

2011 - OECD DAC / GOVNET commitment to media support

The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) Development Assistance Committee (DAC) has played a key role in elevating the importance of media development, including a 2011 commitment by DAC and its Network on Governance (GOVNET) “to support the media, alongside with parliaments and political parties, as part of its broader promotion of domestic accountability.”

In addition to OECD guidelines, A number of countries have specific guidelines for media assistance and journalism support, including, Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency (SIDA) Sida's guidelines for Media Development (2010).

In 2008 UNESCO adopted a set of media development indicators, which “define a framework within which the media can best contribute to, and benefit from, good governance and democratic development.”

At the Second High-Level Forum on Aid Effectiveness (2005), it was recognised that aid could - and should - be producing better impacts and development efforts should be based on first-hand experience of what works and does not work.


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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