IMCA Research Seminar - Marco Clemente, ZHAW School of Management and Law

Institute of Marketing and Communication Management

Date: 01.02.2024 / 12:30 - 13:30

Room 251

Fan, Watchdog, or Both? Media Strategies to Balance Conflicting Demands (with Gino Cattani, NYU and Riccardo Puglisi, University of Pavia)


The media face the tension of satisfying conflicting demands from multiple audiences: on the one hand, to keep their credibility, they are expected to conform to the societal and professional expectations of unbiased reporting; on the other, they need to meet the expectations of their readers, which may result in some level of partisanship and bias in their reporting. Our goal is to understand how the media seek to resolve this tension by looking at the strategies they use to balance credibility and partisanship. We examine how three daily sports newspapers cover referee decisions in the Italian football major league. The analysis reveals that the three newspapers are biased in favor of their local teams by portraying them as victims of referee mistakes, but they are not blatantly so. We find evidence of different strategies that newspapers seem to use to reconcile the tension between credibility and partisanship. First, the bias stems primarily from overreporting events (referee decisions) that other newspapers do not report. Second, for referee decisions that other newspapers also report, we still find some level of bias, but, in this case, newspapers tend to use ambiguous language in their evaluation. Third, we find no bias when newspapers report referee decisions for which clear TV evidence is available. Finally, newspapers use consistently neutral language – i.e., refrain from judging – when reporting decisions contrary to the expectations of their readers. These findings contribute to the literature on media bias and the strategic behavior of third-party evaluators.


Prof. Dr. Marco Clemente is Professor of Sustainability and Management and Co-Head of the Center for Corporate Responsibility at ZHAW School of Management and Law . Marco's research and teaching focus on business ethics, sustainability, and corporate scandals. Marco has published in leading academic journals such as the Academy of Management Review, the Journal of Management Studies, the Journal of Management Inquiry, and the Research in the Sociology of Organizations. He was the co-editor of the volume on Organisational Wrongoing as the “Foundational Grand Challenge” and of the special issue on Social Evaluations at the Journal of Management Studies. Marco is also passionate about teaching and personal development. He was nominated among the 2020 “Best 40 under 40 MBA Professors” by Poets & Quants and was LSE alum of the month in August 2020. Marco did a TEDx in Mantova on the topic of personal crises, and he is the author of the book “Simple Rule of The Day: The daily art of becoming a better you”. Marco has an MSc in Management from LSE and a Ph.D. in Strategic Management from HEC Paris. Previously, he visited and worked at NYU Stern, Aalto University in Helsinki, IESEG in Paris, and SKK GSB in Seoul. In total, he lived in 8 countries between the U.S., Europe and Asia. Before joining Academia, Marco was a marketing manager in P&G. You can find more information at: