Austrian Media Managers – the Better Journalists?

October 17, 2013 • Ethics and Quality, Newsroom Management • by

A new survey of media managers in Austria offers some unexpected insights into how different parts of media organisations think.

For the first time, Andy Kaltenbrunner, Matthias Karmasin und Daniela Kraus (Medienhaus Wien) have surveyed Austrian media managers to find out more about this professional group and their professional values.

The random sample of 131 is relatively small, reducing the validity of the study.

The basic data contains few surprises.  Men dominate the top spots, holding 74 percent of all positions, and the few women in top positions earn approximately 20 percent less than their male colleagues.  Non-Austrians only reach the top if they come from Germany or from Switzerland. Only 52 percent of the interviewed managers are academics.

But the next part of the study is worth reading. The researchers compared the views of media managers with those of Austrian journalists surveyed in earlier studies. Quite remarkably, more managers than journalists believe strongly that the media should air grievances, exercise control over politics, the economy and the society“ and “influence the political agenda” as well as “give ordinary people a chance to express their opinions.”

This runs counter to a traditional belief that journalists are the feisty change agents, straining at leashes placed on them by staid managers. Three quarters of the managers also favor the idea that “the management should not exercise any influence on newsrooms.”

The researchers rightly point out that some of the managers may have given answers they believed to be socially desirable, instead of those that they genuinely believe, but the study still shows that Austrian media managers seem to be less anxious than their journalist employees.

Source: Andy Kaltenbrunner et al. (Hg.): Der Journalisten-Report IV: Medienmanagement in Österreich, Wien: Facultas 2013

This article was first published in: Schweizer Journalist, Nr. 10+11/2013

The article was translated by the author.

Photo credit: Graham Holliday / Flickr Cc


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