PSM Contribution to Democracy: News, Editorial Standards and Informed Citizenship

  • Stephen CushionEmail author


This chapter examines the questions that PSM face about their continued role and relevance against the backdrop of a fast-changing and increasingly commercialised media landscape. It examines the evidence about news produced by PSM and considers the implications for democracy in two ways. First, it draws on the latest academic scholarship to examine the evidence about whether PSM produce news that is distinctive from their market-driven rivals. Second, it considers how informative PSM coverage is compared to their commercial competitors. The chapter assesses the latest research to establish whether public or commercial media systems offer the most effective way of raising public knowledge about politics and public affairs.


  1. Boehlert, E. (2016, November 3). The Media Isn’t for Hilary Clinton: Her Emails Have Been Covered More Than All Policy Proposals. Salon, Salon Media Group.
  2. Bos, L., Kruikemeier, S., & de Vreese, C. (2016). Nation Binding: How Public Service Broadcasting Mitigates Political Selective Exposure. PLoS One, 11(5), 1–11.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Curran, J., Iyengar, S., Lund, A. B., & Salovaara-Moring, I. (2009). Media Reporting, Public Knowledge and Democracy: A Comparative Study. European Journal of Communication, 24(1), 5–26.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Curran, J. et al. (2012). Media System, Public Knowledge and Political Engagement: An 11-Nation Study. Unpublished material.Google Scholar
  5. Cushion, S. (2012). The Democratic Value of News: Why Public Service Media Matter. Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Cushion, S. (2015). News and Politics: The Rise of Live and Interpretive News. London: Routledge.Google Scholar
  7. Cushion, S. (2018). Using Public Opinion to Serve Journalistic Narratives: Rethinking Vox Pops and Live Two-way Reporting in Five UK Election Campaigns (2009–2017). European Journal of Communication. Online First.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Cushion, S., & Lewis, J. (2009). ‘Towards a ‘Foxification’ of 24-Hour News Channels in Britain? An Analysis of Market-Driven and Publicly Funded News Coverage. Journalism: Theory, Practice and Criticism, 10(2), 131–153.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Cushion, S., Lewis, J., & Ramsay, G. N. (2012). The Impact of Interventionist Regulation in Reshaping News Agendas: A Comparative Analysis of Public and Commercially Funded Television Journalism. Journalism, 13(7), 831–849.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Cushion, S., & Thomas, R. (2018). Reporting Elections: Rethinking the Logic of Campaign Coverage. London: Polity.Google Scholar
  11. Cushion, S., Thomas, R., Kilby, A., Morani, M., & Sambrook, R. (2016). Interpreting the Media Logic Behind Editorial Decisions: Television News Coverage of the 2015 U.K. General Election Campaign. International Journal of Press/Politics, 21(4), 472–489.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. de Vreese, C., & Boomgaarden, H. (2006). News, Political Knowledge and Participation: The Differential Effects of News Media Exposure on Political Knowledge and Participation. Acta Politica, 41(4), 317–341.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Freedman, D. (2018). “Public Service” and the Journalism Crisis: Is the BBC the Answer? Television and New Media. Online First. Google Scholar
  14. Goidel, K., Gaddie, K., & Ehrl, M. (2017). Watching the News and Support for Democracy: Why Media Systems Matter. Social Science Quarterly, 98(3), 836–855.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Humprecht, E., & Esser, F. (2018). Mapping Digital Journalism: Comparing 48 News Websites from Six Countries. Journalism, 19(4), 500–518.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Iyengar, S., Hahn, K. S., Bonfadelli, H., & Marr, M. (2009). “Dark Areas of Ignorance” Revisited: Comparing International Affairs Knowledge in Switzerland and the United States. Communication Research, 36(3), 341–358.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Media Coalition Reform. (2018). Draft Proposals for the Future of the BBC.
  18. Reinemann, C., Stanyer, J., & Scherr, S. (2016). Hard and Soft News. In C. de Vreese, F. Esser, & D. Hopmann (Eds.), Comparing Political Journalism. London: Routledge.Google Scholar
  19. Strömbäck, J. (2017). Does Public Service TV and the Intensity of the Political Information Environment Matter? Journalism Studies, 18(11), 1415–1432.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Sehl, A., Cornia, A., & Nielsen, R. K. (2016). Public Service News and Digital Media. Oxford: Reuters Institute for the Study of Journalism, University of Oxford.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Soroka, S., Andrew, B., Aalberg, T., Iyengar, S., Curran, J., Coen, S., et al. (2013). Auntie Knows Best? Public Broadcasters and Current Affairs Knowledge. British Journal of Political Science, 43(4), 719–739.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Tyndall, A. (2016). Year in Review. Tyndall Report.

Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.School of Journalism, Media and CultureCardiff UniversityCardiffUK

Personalised recommendations