The Worlds of Journalism Study was founded in 2010 to assess the state of journalism throughout the world. The study’s main objective is to help journalism researchers, media practitioners and policy makers better understand the worldviews and changes that are taking place in the professional views of journalists, the conditions and limitations under which journalists operate, and the social functions of journalism in a changing world.

A joint effort of researchers from around the world, the project aspires to the highest standards of scientific collaboration and collective publishing. In so doing, WJS has become a driver of comparative research in journalism studies, and an institutional home for those who engage in it. The basic principles of cooperation are formulated in the study’s Statute. The study is hosted at LMU Munich and is funded by multiple organizations.

WJS 2012-2016

Transformation of Journalism

The second wave of WJS has continued and extended the work carried out through a pilot study in 2007-2011. Breaking all records in comparative media research, the study brought together researchers from 67 countries from around the world. In an unprecedented collaborative effort, the project network interviewed over 27,500 journalists based on a common methodological framework.

The questionnaire elicited views of journalists on several issues journalists and news organizations face today, such as journalism’s place in society, ethics, autonomy and influences on newsmaking, journalistic trust in public institutions, and the transformation of journalism in the broadest sense.

WJS 2020-2022

Journalism’s hostile environment

The third wave of the Worlds of Journalism Study currently involves researchers from more than 110 countries.

The new series of interviews with journalists, to be conducted between 2020 and 2022, will focus, among other topics, on journalists’ safety, deteriorating editorial freedom, influences on news production, the impact of technology, and increased precarization of journalistic labor.

How do journalists around the world view their roles and responsibilities in society? Based on a landmark study that has collected data from more than 27,500 journalists in 67 countries, Worlds of Journalism offers a groundbreaking analysis of the different ways in which journalists perceive their duties, their relationship to society and government, and the nature and meaning of their work.

Challenging assumptions of a universal definition or concept of journalism, the book maps a world populated by a rich diversity of journalistic cultures. Organized around a series of key questions on topics such as editorial autonomy, journalistic ethics, trust in social institutions, and changes in the profession, it details how the practice of journalism differs across the world in a range of political, social, and economic contexts. The book concludes with a global classification of journalistic cultures that reflects the breadth of worldviews and orientations found in disparate countries and regions.

A collaborative effort of 40 scholars from around the world, the publication was edited by Thomas Hanitzsch, Folker Hanusch, Jyotika Ramaprasad and Arnold S. de Beer and released in 2019 by Columbia University Press.

Latest News

On the 5th of July, 2019, about 80 journalism scholars from around the globe gathered in Madrid to found the Worlds of Journalism Study Association.

WJSA is a non-commercial, non-governmental international organization to sustain the Worlds of Journalism Study’s internal workflow and to liaise with partner organizations. According to its Statute, the mission of the Association is to support academic research to assess the state of journalism around the world.

The Association is listed in the association register in the local court in Munich, Germany (no. VR 208297), and is chaired by Professors Thomas Hanitzsch and Neil Thurman, both working in the Department of Media and Communication, LMU Munich.

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Resources for Researchers

As a service to the wider academic community and individuals concerned with the state of journalism around the globe, the Worlds of Journalism Study offers a variety of useful resources:

The website contains detailed documentation on the conceptual background and methodological procedures ot the study. Key results of the study are presented in the form of overview tables summarizing journalists’ responses to selected questions and in the form of standardized country reports.

The datasets from the completed two waves of the study (WJS1 and WJS2) are available for download and can be used for secondary analyses.

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New Publications

Hanitzsch, T., Hanusch, F. Ramaprasad, J., & de Beer, A. S. (2019). Worlds of Journalism: Journalistic Cultures Around the Globe. New York: Columbia University Press.

Rollwagen, H., Shapiro, I., Bonin-Labelle, G., Fitzgerald, L., & Tremblay, L. (2019). Just Who Do Canadian Journalists Think They Are? Canadian Journal of Political Science.

Rupar, V., Tejkalová, A. N., Láb, F., & Seizova, S. (2019). Journalistic Discourse of Freedom. Journalism.

Harro-Loit, H. & Josephi, B. (2019). Journalists’ Perception of Time Pressure. Journalism Practice.

Standaert, O., Hanitzsch, T., & Dedonder, J. (2019). In their Own Words. Journalism.

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