Media Systems in the Digital Age: An Empirical Comparison of 30 Countries


Media systems have changed significantly as a result of the development of information technologies. However, typologies of media systems that incorporate aspects of digitalization are rare. This study fills this gap by identifying, operationalizing, and measuring indicators of media systems in the digital age. We build on previous work, extend it with new indicators that reflect changing conditions (such as online news use), and include media freedom indicators. We include 30 countries in our study and use cluster analysis to identify three clusters of media systems. Two of these clusters correspond to the media system models described by Hallin and Mancini, namely the democratic-corporatist and the polarized-pluralist model. However, the liberal model as described by Hallin and Mancini has vanished; instead, we find empirical evidence of a new cluster that we call “hybrid”: it is positioned in between the poles of the media-supportive democratic-corporatist and the polarized-pluralist clusters.

Edda Humprecht, Laia Castro Herrero, Sina Blassnig, Michael Brüggemann, Sven Engesser, Media Systems in the Digital Age: An Empirical Comparison of 30 Countries, Journal of Communication, Volume 72, Issue 2, April 2022, Pages 145–164,