This article presents an analysis of how different major news media with different funding models (public service versus private sector media) and different organizational legacies (broadcast versus print) in six different European countries approach the social media platforms that they increasingly rely on for some of their online reach. Based on interviews with senior editors and executives in a strategic sample of 20 news organizations and analysis of their social media activities on Facebook, we find the following: all these organizations have invested significantly in social media, even as they explicitly recognize platforms as ‘frenemies,’ combining characteristics of a friend and an enemy, and they do so in ways that differ in part according to their funding models (public service versus private sector) and legacy roots (broadcast versus print). We argue that publishers’ agency and strategic priorities play a substantial role in determining how individual news organizations adapt to the increasing power of platforms, although structural factors, including power asymmetries and algorithmic incentives, also lead to similarities across otherwise different organizations with different strategies in different countries.
Sehl, A., Cornia, A., & Nielsen, R. K. (2021). How Do Funding Models and Organizational Legacy Shape News Organizations’ Social Media Strategies? A Comparison of Public Service and Private Sector News Media in Six Countries. Digital Journalism. https://doi.org/10.1080/21670811.2021.1968920