Universalism in Public Service Media


Since the start of telephony and later in broadcasting, the pursuit of universal service has legitimated the ownership and operation of media as a public trust. Until the 1980s, this principle was the bedrock for the broadcasting mission and is still a mandated requirement for public media companies today. But in practice, the universalism ideal was largely abandoned in the 1980s as media deregulation promised more competition, innovation, and vigorous economic growth. Some of this came true, but at a worrisome cost. Growing distrust in media today is partly rooted in the illusion that more media in more platforms would inevitably ensure better media in all platforms. There is now more of everything on offer except social responsibility. This collection interrogates the historic universalism mission in public service broadcasting and explores its contemporary relevance for public service media. Taking a critical perspective on media policy and performance, the volume contributes to a much-needed contemporary reassessment that clarifies the importance of universalism for equity in access and provision, trustworthy content, and inclusive participation in the context of advancing digitalisation and globalisation. The collection situates universalism as an aspirational quest and inspirational pursuit. Researchers and policy makers will find the collection valuable for conceptualisation and strategic managers will find it helpful as a principled basis in the pursuit of improved reach and value.  




Mercedes Medina

Universalism in public service media: Paradoxes, challenges, and development

Gregory Ferrell Lowe
Philip Savage

Universalism in history, modern statehood, and public service media

Barbara Thomass

Universal – but not necessarily useful

Peter Goodwin

Universality of public service media and preschool audiences: The choice against a dedicated television channel in Flanders

Karen Donders
Hilde Van den Bulck

Historical dimensions of universalism at the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation: Some implications for today

David Skinner

Multichannel strategy, universalism, and the challenge of audience fragmentation

Julie Münter Lassen

A question of value or further restriction? Public value as a core concept

Christiana Gransow

Challenges for public service radio in small nations: Lessons from Scotland

Aleksandar Kocic
Jelena Milicev

Whose voices and what values? State grants for significant public content in the Russian media model

Olga Dovbysh
Tatiana Belyuga

Public service media in the era of information disorder: Collaboration as a solution for achieving universalism

Minna Aslama Horowitz
Gregory Ferrell Lowe

Personalised universalism in the age of algorithms

Jannick Kirk Sørensen

Datafication, fluidity, and organisational change: Towards a universal PSM 3.0

Lizzie Jackson
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