Case Studies

⚠️ The selected journalistic initiatives make up the sample of cases analysed in the JoIn-DemoS project. This is not a ranking of the most innovative media, but a glimpse of the examples defined as innovative in different areas according to the project's methodology.

Entrepreneurial journalism

Cost-cutting and the technologicalisation of newsrooms have led many journalists, new or established, to decide to become a sort of one-man media to do independent journalism with added value. This innovation encompasses brand journalism practitioners such as bloggers, newsletter writers, freelancers and those developing new independent business models

Fact Checking

Innovation understood as a new way of doing journalism, which directly combats the disinformation that proliferates in the digital ecosystem, as well as the birth of projects and media based on this activity. It also highlights the innovative nature of the channels through which hoaxes are confronted and citizens are educated, such as social networks, and the technological commitment to artificial intelligence tools that allow mass verification in particularly complex cases, such as deep fake videos or images

Foundation Funding

The establishment of journalistic organisations in the legal form of non-profit foundations promotes the social mission of the media and the possibilities and limitations it entails for the revenue model. Through this type of formulas, the media facilitate their editorial independence, as they can better access revenue streams such as donations or public subsidies reserved for this type of organisations. Moreover, the foundations’ mission is to serve a social good

Journalistic Start-ups

This innovation includes organisations and platforms that have recently set up apart from traditional media houses and that act and organise themselves differently from them. This category covers both start-ups, more often characterised by a universality of topics, and niche media, more limited in their scope (science reporting, court reporting or reporting on migration)

Local Journalism

Although the most relevant innovations have taken place in the big media and publishing houses, the regional press has not lagged behind. Besides covering news within small communities, local newsrooms also allow for more interaction with citizens, who can easily collaborate with journalists. Local journalism innovations include economic and collaborative dynamics and a specialized focus on local and community-based topics

Media Labs

Some media outlets create departments with workflows separate from those of the editorial staff, whose members and teams focus on innovative aspects such as developing new and optimising existing business avenues, product design, experimenting with new narratives and other issues important to the future and strategy of their titles. Sometimes the process involves moving these units away from the demands of breaking news coverage so that they can better analyse and understand audience needs and devise attractive and innovative products

Membership models

This initiative is related to the generation of revenue from users but, unlike subscriptions, it does not consist of payment in exchange for access to information. Instead, readers contribute financially to become partners or members and thus ensure the sustainability of the media and of journalism with which they identify.  The advantages of this model lie in reducing dependence on advertising revenue, engaging the community directly, and allowing even non-paying users to access content, thus generating positive social externalities

Mobile and Live Journalism

Heterogeneous category that groups together all those innovations aimed at improving the user experience for the consumption of information on mobile devices as well as the consumption of live content. This includes the creation of specific products for mobile and tablet, the optimisation of the mobile versions of the media, with technologies such as AMP or Facebook Instant Articles, the intentional management of push notifications and the distribution of content in real time through multiple media channels

New Digital Storytelling

This innovation brings together the new narratives used by media to package their information and make it more attractive to users. These have multiple applications: video formats adapted to emerging platforms, the use of interactive infographics to explain complex issues and even gamified narrative formats through webdocs, among other examples

New Organisational Forms and Teams

It is an innovation that points to the organisation of newsrooms around multidisciplinary working groups that broaden the competences of the media to operate in the digital ecosystem. It also involves continuous experimentation in the reconfiguration of work teams to respond to different challenges in the most satisfactory way possible, due to the fact that digital specialities have gone from occupying a residual role in newsrooms to becoming sources of knowledge central to the activity of organisations

News on Social Media

This innovation involves approaching new audiences differently and engaging them outside the usual media distribution channel. The usefulness of social media to increase online traffic and user engagement is also considered an incremental innovation that has been adopted by media in the last decade

News Only TV Channel

This category refers to the existence of 24-hour news channels. This sort of only news TV channel strengthens the broadcaster’s public value and enables the audience to receive quickly and contextualised information, which makes it easier to follow an in depth and immediate analysis and media coverage of the latest news


Our project is funded by the Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft (DFG, German Research Foundation) – Project-ID 438677067, the Austrian Science Fund (FWF) – Project I 4797-G – and the Swiss National Science Foundation (SNF) – number 100019E_190126. The project “Innovations in journalism in democratic societies: Index, influence and prerequisites in international comparison” has a total volume of ca. 1.3 million Euro.