Political Economy is defined as being the day-to-day constraints that journalists face when trying to adapt to new technologies like the web, social media, etc. Journalists also face institutional constraints such as the corporate interests of media companies.
John McManus explains political economy by dividing it into 3 levels: the macro, the meso and the micro. At the macro level, news organisations are seen just in terms of their profitability. At the meso level, McManus looks at the internal relations of a media organisation. At the micro level, McManus investigates how journalists respond to the demands of consumers and the market and how that affects their work.
In a typical news organisation, journalists have to juggle corporate interests, editorial interests and market interests simultaneously. This chapter on Political Economy seeks to discover if these constraints are any way lessened when working in a digital environment, i.e. online.