The Austrian Journalists' Report / Der Journalisten-Report

The series of books "Journalisten-Report" was established and has been published by Medienhaus Wien. During his internship in 2013 at Medienhaus Wien, Victor Flores (see CV below) wrote the following summary of the basic research study and first publication of the series, "Journalisten-Report I". To date, further issues of "Journalisten-Report" covered Austrian journalists' motives (2008), political journalism in Austria (2010) and media management in Austria (2013).
Before 2007, there were many questions about Austrian journalists but very few, if any, answers. Which gender was most often employed in journalism? How old were these journalists? How much money did they make? We at Medienhaus Wien looked at questions like these and attempted to answer every one of them as thoroughly as possible. With our comprehensive 2007 study, "Der Journalisten-Report I" [1], we extracted so much quantifiable data that the public’s awareness about Austrian journalists increased instantly. David H. Weaver and Siegfried Weischenberg were international role models when founding this study series.

7,067 journalists account for the basic population of this study (as in 2007). They came from the nine Austrian federal regions, with 55% coming from the Vienna area [2]. Der "Journalisten-Report I" aims to be a total population survey. We were able to collect the data of 63,3% Austrian journalists (average completion rate).


The overall figures from Austrian journalists will be discussed first, followed by the numbers from five specific fields of media (print, radio, television, online, and agency) and three categories of print publications.

As mentioned earlier, age, gender, and income were all key topics in this study. When we compiled numbers about overall journalists, these and four other categories were included: University degrees, full-time or part-time, fully employed or freelance, and management level. Here are the numbers from our findings [3]:

• 58% of these journalists were men
• 69% were between 30-49 years old [4]
• 34% had degrees from universities [5]
• 71% were fully employed (29% were freelancers)
• 76% worked full-time
• 14.5% had upper managerial positions
• 60% made over 36,000 Euro per year.

Since 2007, convergence processes in Austrian newsrooms have advanced. Der Standard, Tiroler Tageszeitung and others have introduced integrated editorial offices. Therefore, an update of this basic research study is in planning stage. Volumes 2, 3 and 4 of "Der Journalisten-Report" cover journalists’ motives, political journalism and media management.

1. The Prolific Field of Print

Austria traditionally has a highly concentrated print media market. It is dominated by just a handful of big publishing houses, some of them supported by German publishers. Mostly, it is Kronen Zeitung (briefly also called Krone) that accounts for this high number. Under its former editor Hans Dichand who died 2010, Krone specialized rather in political campaigning than luridness.

In 2004 the free daily Heute (Today) was launched by Eva Dichand, daughter-in-law of Hans Dichand. Christoph Dichand, son of Hans and husband of Eva, is editor-in-chief of Krone. However, they deny any economic or editorial connection of the two papers. Heute has a rather populist approach towards news. The second tabloid Österreich (Austria) was founded in 2006 and is a hybrid model of a partly paid-for, partly free newspaper.

Der Standard and Die Presse are the two most prominent representatives of quality journalism in Austria. Furthermore, there are strong regional papers in Austria’s nine provinces.

Print was the most prominent field of journalism in 2007 and still is today. Unlike citizens of many other countries, Austrians still read print publications, and they read them often. In 2012, 72.8% of all Austrians read a daily newspaper [6]. Print has also dominated the journalism employment arena. Of the 7,067 journalists in our study, 4,720 worked for print publications (roughly 67% of the people in the study). The same categories used for the data on overall journalists were used for print, with one addition: the specific departments, or beats, print journalists wrote for [7].

The gender, age [8], income levels [9], and number of academic degrees of print journalists were about the same as the overall numbers, but there were some noticeable differences in the categories that deal with types of employment.

There were also a high number of freelancers among the print group. 43% of these journalists freelanced, which was the highest rate among the five fields discussed. This number will look especially high when radio and TV journalists are discussed.

Another huge discrepancy came in the full-time/part-time category. 93% of print journalists worked full-time.

Data was also collected on journalists from three types of print publications: daily newspapers, weekly newspapers and 14-day publications (one category), and publications that circulate every 4-12 months.

a. On the Daily

The field of daily newspaper journalists included 1,596 people in our study.

Men dominated this landscape in 2007, with a 66.5% rate. This is 8.5% higher than the total number of male Austrian journalists, and it is much higher than the amount from the next two types of print publications.

Daily journalists also tended to be older, with an average age of 41.5. Compared to all of the other categories in this paper, dailies had the highest number of employees over the age of 50 (22%) [10].

There were also a huge number of full-time employees, at 96%.

b. Weekly Newspapers and 14-day Publications

The field of journalists in weekly newspapers and 14-day publications wasn’t too much smaller than daily papers, but only one category (employed/freelance) had over 1,000 journalists included in the sample.

Of these three publication groups, weekly and 14-day publication employees were the youngest (average age of 38.4) [11].

The percentage of freelancers in this group was practically the opposite of the rates from every other group in this study. 61% of these journalists freelanced, which is more than twice as big as the rate from Austrian journalists, overall, and 17% higher than the next highest freelance rate (4-to-12-month publications).

Like daily journalists, this group had 96% working full-time. There were also an above-average amount of upper management workers in this group, at 23%.

c. 4-to-12-Month Publications

The last type of print publication involves those that circulate every 4-12 months. This was also the smallest sample of the three types of print publications, with a maximum of 654 respondents.

This was the only group of the eight that didn’t have more men than women – the gender percentage was split 50-50.

Gender was just one of the top rates from this group. 42% had academic degrees, which is 8% above the average. This is also the only group to have more than 40% of employees with degrees.

There was also no other group that had more people in upper managerial positions. Due to the rather small managerial units in this sector, 26% had such roles which is 11.5% higher than the Austrian journalists’ average.

2. Over the Austrian Airwaves

In radio, a dualistic market has existed in Austria since 1995, which was the year when the first privately owned radio station (Antenne Steiermark) started broadcasting. This station entered the market as the first competitor to the gigantic public service broadcasting corporation, Österreichischer Rundfunk (ORF), which has dominated the Austrian broadcast landscape for its entire existence. ORF’s radio channels are Ö1 (news and classical music), FM4 (youth culture), Hitradio Ö3 (pop music), and nine channels that air in each Austrian region. Public radio’s market share is 74 per cent [12].

Private stations account for the fourth quarter of market share: Today, Kronehit is the only privately-owned nationwide station. This station is owned by Mediaprint, the same publishing house of the large newspaper companies Kronen Zeitung and Kurier. There are also a number of approximately 80 other stations that cover several of the Austrian regions. One example is 88.6, which airs in Vienna, Burgenland, and Lower Austria. There is also Radio Arabella, which covers Vienna, Upper and Lower Austria, and Salzburg. However, these types of privately owned stations don’t have nearly as large an impact as Kronehit.

Radio journalists made up the second-largest group in our study, with 1,176 (17%) of the 7,067 total journalists. All of the categories used for print journalists were included in the radio data, other than income level.

As most of radio journalists work for the public broadcaster, 95% of these journalists had steady radio jobs.

However, many of these people worked part-time. The rate of part-time workers (44.5%) was by far the highest from any field in this study.

Radio also had the lowest number of employees who worked in upper management, at 3% (about 35 total people). The only other category that came to close to this number was TV (8%).

3. Television: The Oldest, Most Gender-Diverse Field

Like in radio, ORF dominates the television market. In 2012, its two main programs, ORF eins (ORF1) and ORF2, had a market share of 36%. Private TV stations ATV (a pioneer in Austria’s private TV market since it was founded in 2001), Puls4, and Servus TV (owned by Red Bull Media House) had market shares of 3.4, 3.1 and 1.2%, respectively.

German overspill (by e.g. RTL, ProSieben, Sat1, ARD) accounts for the rest of the share: Most German programs are received in Austria. Some of them have Austrian “Werbefenster”, meaning they broadcast Austria-specific TV ads [13].

TV had the third largest group of journalists in the study, although they were (and always have been) the most visible of the five. Our study’s correspondents gathered information on 732 television journalists.

This field had the most female journalists (46.5% of the participants), although just barely. As mentioned earlier, the average percentage Austrian female journalists was 42%, and only one field (agency) had fewer than 40% of women employed. Gender was one of the most consistent categories in this study.

TV journalists were also the oldest of the five groups, with an average age of a little over 42 years old [14]. The next closest field in this area was print, with an average age of 40.3.

The smallest number of freelance journalists came from this field as well, barely edging out radio with a 4% rate. Radio and TV were in their own league with regards to the freelance category. The next lowest rate was 23% (from online journalists), and the average percentage was 29%.

4. Online Journalism’s Rapid Growth

When this study was conducted in 2007, only 4% of Austrian journalists worked on the web. This number is growing, though, likely due to the internet’s increased popularity in the past five years. In Austria, 86.6 per cent of men and 75.8 per cent of women occasionally go online [15], a third of them using mobile devices to do so – with numbers growing especially fast in that category.

The largest news sites are the ones linked to daily newspapers, such as DerStandard.at (created in 1995, being the first German-speaking newspaper’s website of the correspondent daily), Krone.at, KleineZeitung.at, DiePresse.com, and Kurier.at. None of them are on ORF’s level, though. With over 2.7 million unique users in an average month, ORF.at is the largest website in Austria [16]. Dominating radio and TV weren’t enough for the ORF, apparently. Yet while the public broadcaster is freely allowed to run its own news website, it was legally prevented from distributing its news via social media. Currently, there is a debate going on regarding such restrictions.

In our study, the numbers from internet journalists were very similar to the overall numbers, although internet did have a significantly larger amount of part-time employees. The 40% part-time rate of online journalists was 16% higher than the overall percentage, and only one of the five other fields (print) had more.

But that difference wasn’t nearly as large as it was in one particular area: age. Web journalists’ were 34.9 years old, on average, according to our study. That’s more than five years younger than the overall average, and only one other category (agency) had an average age below 40 [17]. 30% of internet journalists were under the age of 29, and 78% were under 40 [18].

5. Agency: The Smallest of Them All

The last field in this study was agency, which involves media members who provide news reports and press releases to news organizations. Generally, this section consists of data from employees of Austrian Press Agency (APA). APA is the biggest and most relevant news agency in Austria, providing news services in print, image, graphics, audio, and video formats. Its four administrative branches include news agency, photo agency, information management, and information technology [19]. There are a handful of smaller agencies in the country, such as Pressetext Austria.

Agency had 188 total people, almost all of them being full-time workers.