May they come in? A comparison of German and Flemish efforts to welcome public participation in the news media

Jeroen De Keyser, Annika Sehl


Much attention has been paid to audience participation in online journalism in recent years. This article contributes to that ongoing discussion by focusing on the previously largely overlooked macro level. It compares participatory journalism on German and Flemish national newspapers’ Web sites with a threefold aim: a) discussing the (lack of) introduction of certain participatory features in both markets; b) offering the first longitudinal perspective in that field for both markets; and, c) analyzing the various influences of market size on participatory journalism implementation. The longitudinal overview confirms that changes are happening at a fast pace. In general, the availability of participatory features on national Flemish and German newspaper Web sites is comparable, as both markets belong largely to the same journalistic culture. The larger part of the dissimilarities is explained by the difference in market size.

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