(How) Does User-generated Content Impact Content Generated by Professionals? Evidence from Local News

Ananya Sen, Tom Grad*, Pedro Ferreira, Jörg Claussen

*Corresponding author af dette arbejde

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Many platforms host user-generated content (UGC) and content developed by professionals side by side. However, thus far, their impact on platform ecosystems has been mostly studied in isolation. In this paper, we use data from a network of 122 local news outlets hosted by an online news platform to study the spillover effects from UGC developed by citizen journalists to the content developed by professional journalists. We use the removal of a status index associated with citizen journalists as an exogenous shock to their supply of UGC to identify these spillover effects. We find that experienced citizen journalists reduce their production of content when this status index is removed. We then find that inexperienced professional journalists increase their output in response to this behavior. However, as a result of these changes, we find a reduction in the overall content hosted by the platform, especially in the case of local news and in more isolated regions. We further show that this is likely to have detrimental effects for the platform. In particular, there is a decline in overall viewership, and the platform may need to hire and pay salaries to more professional journalists to produce enough articles to close the gap left by the departing citizen journalists. Our work contributes to the literature on UGC and online platforms and to the literature on local news.
TidsskriftManagement Science
Antal sider24
StatusUdgivet - 23 okt. 2023

Bibliografisk note

Epub ahead of print. Published online: 23 Oct 2023.


  • User-generated content
  • Platforms
  • Local news
  • Professionals