Reporting on corporate misconduct decreases significantly if the company in question has a selective advertising partnership with the media. This is shown in a study by WiSo professor Marc Fischer.
Prof. Dr. Marc Fischer is the director of the Chair of Marketing Science and Analytics at the Faculty of Economics and Social Sciences at the University of Cologne. One of his research focuses is ethical misconduct.
Our society functions according to certain norms and values, which companies are also expected to follow. The media take on the role of a corrective authority. They publicly denounce the violation of such norms and are therefore still an important apparatus of society. Central to this is the question of how independently "the media" really act. Together with Samuel Stäbler (Assistant Professor at Tilburg University), Professor Fischer investigated the role of newspapers reporting on corporate misconduct. Over a period of six years, the researchers examined 50,000 articles from five countries to identify and analyse reports on corporate misconduct.
Professor Fischer now explains the central results in a new WiSo research video. It showed that only one in ten media companies reported on misconduct if the company concerned had an advertising partnership with the magazine. On the other hand, the likelihood of reporting was up to 40% higher for a popular company than for less well-known corporations. Conclusion: The public media often do not fulfil the social norms themselves, whose compliance they massively demand from companies and politics. Nevertheless, media are still an important engine of society today. Raising awareness of the interconnections can therefore be a first step towards stronger compliance among the media themselves, even if they usually have to act in a corporate manner as well.