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.


This label encompasses the sending of email newsletters to subscribing users summarising important information on a topic, geographic area or news focus. It is a revival of old products that, with modifications, provide value in today’s media ecosystem. Newsletters offer an editorial experience and are not a mere collection of links, but offer journalistic analysis and thus build audience loyalty. The intimacy and the personal tone of the newsletter’s author influence the success of these initiatives

Niche Media

In this innovation we group together media companies that address a very specific target group with their journalistic offerings and focus, for example, on a topic that receives less attention in broad reporting. In opposition to the search for scale in generalist media, these companies seek for a smaller but much more interested audience. This way, it is easier to fund user revenue models and also to charge a bigger advertising fee, as messages are directed towards a well segmented market

Other financing models

This residual category includes mentions of innovations in marketing that do not fit into other categories such as paywalls or donations. Some examples are live events organized by publishers or B2B news or communication services, which serve as an additional source of revenue

Para-journalistic Initiatives

This innovation encompasses the influence of actors who may not actually be journalists in a classical way,  but who work through journalistically or para-journalistically methods. It contemplates the production of personal blogs, videos and live broadcasts through digital platforms, with Youtube and Twitch as main exponents. The use of these channels appeal to young audiences through the use of different formats, rhythms and codes, which are more casual, personal and interactive

Paywall and Paid Content

This innovation points to the media market’s shift towards models sustained by user revenues, whether through metered paywalls, freemium, algorithmic, or other content sales systems. A broad spectrum of perspectives on subscriptions is covered. An important factor underlying this is that the adoption of these models has also led to an adaptation of the organisation to prioritise quality of content over quantity

Personal and Digital Meetings

This category refers to initiatives by media to get in touch with their users in person (face-to-face or digitally) or to connect users with each other. This kind of actions create and strengthen community management on all levels. It also encourages users to get outside their bubbles and to discuss with people of different opinions in a friendly and democratic environment

Science Journalism

Science journalism has undergone a renewal in the last decade due to COVID-19 crisis. Its practical usefulness has been perceived and has gained weight with the creation of independent and vertical media in consolidated portals, the incorporation of more science journalists in the newsrooms and a greater prominence of these topics in the news offer. Not only in terms of the pandemic, but also due to the rise of other topics such as the effects of technologies or climate emergencies

Specific target groups and targeting

This label describes initiatives to reach small and large target groups, which have not been explicitly addressed so far, within a broad and methodical catchment area. This innovation includes the playout of classic media content on screens in public transport, engagement on social media, personalisation of content using AI, community efforts with the production of media content by users or the use of moderators from the target group

Tools and Management/Remote Work

Telework is identified as an innovation following its implementation in most newsrooms due to the health crisis in 2020. Media work can also be done remotely in many cases, without affecting the product, although methods of sharing knowledge do need to be refined. Besides, newsrooms designed communication systems and adapted workflows, increasing the use of Zoom, Teams or Meet, and other tools such as WhatsApp, Slack and Telegram to coordinate. They also worked extensively on the development of content management systems or VPNs

Tools to Improve Discourse Quality

Online communities tend to generate hateful and unconstructive speech that the media are keen to prevent by developing human or automated moderation resources. These tools aim to include diverse groups of users in conversations, in addition to identifying hate speech or giving preference to constructive messages over negative ones

Video/Moving Image by Print Media

This category includes those traditional print media that have decided to reinvent themselves by also offering information in audiovisual format, either as moving image, online video or TV


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.