Studies on startups and media policy featured at ICA 2020

ICA presentation

Research into the founders of journalism startups in Canada as well as on the impact of media policy on innovation was presented at the International Communications Association annual conference.

The event was originally due to take place on the Gold Coast in Australia but was held virtually from May 21 to 25 2020 due to COVID-19 restrictions.

GJIL researchers Alfred Hermida and Mary Lynn Young presented the initial results of an analysis of the professional identities of the founders behind the more than 60 journalism startups that have launched in Canada in the past two decades.

Most of these startups were small operations run by a handful of employees, or, in some cases, by a sole founder. The results showed that the majority of founders (75 per cent) were former journalists or individuals with a background in the journalism industry as anchors or executives. Some founders had lost their jobs while others were journalists who seemed disillusioned by mainstream media.

In a related presentation, Young and Hermida organised and participated in a panel entitled, “A Global Analysis of Journalism Startups and Media Policy.” The panel discussion brought together perspectives from Australia, Canada, India, the Netherlands and Singapore.

In their presentation, Young and Hermida examined the recent decision by the Canadian government to allocate almost CAD$600M over five years to support journalism.

Their analysis found that the organizations that stand to gain the most are recognizable commercial professional journalism outlets with large newsrooms. They suggested that this comes at the expense of stimulating the development of contemporary and non-commercial infrastructures focused on digital journalism growth and possible innovation, together with vital decolonizing perspectives.

Suggested citations:

Hermida, Alfred, and Mary Lynn Young. Founders, journalism startups and saving the media. International Communications Association annual conference, Gold Coast, Australia, May 21-25, 2020. (Virtual conference due to COVID-19)

Young, Mary Lynn, and Alfred Hermida. Who benefits? Winners and losers in Canada’s media policy. International Communications Association annual conference, Gold Coast, Australia, May 21-25, 2020. (Virtual conference due to COVID-19)

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