Quality Assurance in the Media

14. September 2014

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IPJ’s research focuses on quality assurance in print and online journalism and also on how journalism is changing in converging media landscapes: what trends to focus on and how to assure quality in the process.

Specific questions stem from research funded by media companies and editorial media boards and are published for recommended implementation as management reports. Using proven research tools – content and workflow analyses, benchmarking, reader scan and eye tracking evaluations – we establish a profile of strengths and weaknesses for the range of print media offerings and offer concrete recommendations for improving editorial approaches and media production.

We begin with a benchmark process developed in 1998 to develop unbiased quality criteria – vital for the success of newspapers in the market. Building on this, we developed the benchmark program for regional newspapers in subsequent years. This is customized specifically to the needs and demands of the newspaper editors. It functions as a screening process, thus serving the media companies as a calibrating and controlling instrument with which to elevate the performance of its publishing work.

What leads to media usage, and how can that be increased? These questions largely apply to design. But how can functional shortcomings be identified? How can a better design improve usage? For years we have been analyzing newspaper and – more recently – website layout by using eye tracking technology. These micro studies tell us much about the “pre-conscious” perceptions of and reactions to what media has to offer – which we include in our consultations with publishing houses as they redesign their websites.

Since the various media spheres have begun to converge, we have been focusing on crossover media research: the future of the daily newspaper needs to focus on an offline and online integrated medium, which needs to be effective in both versions, with a particular strength in local coverage.

The future of the newspaper remains tied to the reading capabilities of the future readership. As part of a research project, we have studied the avenues and possibilities of gaining readers in the “Next Media Generation.” You can find an analysis with tips and recommendations here.

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