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Few winners, many losers: the COVID-19 pandemic’s dramatic and unequal impact on independent news media

Authors: Rasmus Kleis Nielsen, Federica Cherubini, Dr. Simge Andi

Affiliation: Reuters Institute

Organization/Publisher: Reuters Institute

Date/Place: November 10, 2020/ UK

Type of Literature: Report

Number of Pages: 32


Keywords: COVID-19, Media, Pandemic, Independent News Emergency Relief Coordination



This critical report is based on surveys and interviews conducted in middle-income countries to see how the COVID-19 pandemic impacted the independent news media organizations. The report finds that the pandemic has boosted news circulation although the physical reach of newspapers declined along with annual revenue. Small online media has survived the pandemic while most of the media insists on funding to continue the news production. The report discusses in detail how the pandemic’s hit to the global economy has bled independent media organizations, thus hitting the circulation of information in mostly poor countries. “The pandemic will have a dramatic and unequal impact on independent news media, with few winners, and many losers,” the report observes. However, the smaller newsrooms expect stable revenue. The media organizations said the severity of the crisis is due to funding and it is the single most important thing everyone asked for. “If a funder believes in the power and potential of a particular independent news media organization and wants to support it, confidence in the people involved is a good starting point, as is a multi-year time horizon. The case organizations featured here, we believe, have all demonstrated that they merit such confidence, as do many other independent news media across the world doing difficult and important work in a challenging environment and in the face of the coronavirus crisis,” the report adds.


By: Riyaz ul Khaliq, Non-Resident CIGA Research Associate



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