Neil Thurman

Professor of Communication
Department of Communication Studies and Media Research
LMU Munich

Neil Thurman

From the Blog

For financial reasons, newspapers and magazines are increasingly ending their print editions and going online-only. Examples include Canada’s La Presse, Finland’s Taloussanomat and magzines like Company and Glamour. By doing so, some have returned to profitability, but with what consequences for their audiences? In this talk, given at the 2019 asi International Publishing & Data Conference, I explore how the case of the New Musical Express (NME) magazine can help answer this question.

How do British journalists see their role in society? Do they consider themselves aggressive opponents of those in power? Do they aim to influence politics? To find out, we compared British journalists’ professional attitudes to those of journalists in another country with a similar media landscape but a more muted press: Germany. Our analysis revealed several significant differences between journalists in Britain and Germany. We found that British journalists believe it more important than their German colleagues to confront those in power and hold them to account. But – contrary to expectations – we found no difference between British and German journalists’ eagerness to set the political agenda or influence public opinion.

The consequences of The Independent's decision to go online-only show that although ditching print may bring newspapers financial sustainability it can decimate audience attention.