Shaping the narrative: Journalists dominate the European tech influence landscape

“Independent journalism is the exact tonic the world needs most at a moment in which polarization and misinformation are shaking the foundations of liberal democracies and undermining society’s ability to meet the existential challenges of the era, from inequality to political dysfunction to the accelerating toll of climate change.” A.G. Sulzberger, publisher of The New York Times

In the ever-evolving landscape of European technology influence, our Tyto Tech 500 report shows a transformation happening among the very elite influencers. When we consider just the top 500 highest ranking influencers across Europe – in our research, that is the United Kingdom, Germany, France, Sweden and the Netherlands – it is journalists that have risen to the top.

Within our pan-European top 500 list, 40% of them are journalists. This marks a significant departure from the influencer hierarchy seen in the overall Tech 500 (the combined country rankings), as analysed in this blog. In the Tyto Tech 500 as a whole, the influencer group with the largest presence is business leaders (57% of all influencers in the combined ranking of the five countries) and journalists are in second position with 21% of the total number of influencers. These positions are reversed in the ranking of the 500 most influential people, where business leaders have the second highest presence with 37% of the people in the ranking.

The transformation among these top-level influencers is underscored by a notable surge in the number of journalists within the pan-European ranking. In 2021, 143 journalists held positions in the ranking. By 2022, this number increased to 147, and in 2023, it witnessed remarkable growth of 35%, totalling an impressive 198 journalists. This represents an impressive 38% increase from 2021 to 2023, confirming the dynamic evolution of the tech journalist landscape.

The prominence of journalists within these top 500 influential people reflects the enduring importance and trust that the public places in credible news sources, as highlighted in the New York Times quote at the beginning of this blog. Amidst the pervasive issue of disinformation and the relentless spread of fake news, it is evident that people are increasingly looking to reputable news media. This is particularly telling among the current climate of economic and political uncertainty we’re experiencing. Journalists serve as beacons of objectivity within a swiftly evolving technology sector, providing a critical and trusted link to accurate and dependable information.

As I have previously mentioned, in a significant paradigm shift, business leaders have relinquished their undisputed grip on the top spot, now occupying the second position with a 37% share of the most influential tech figures at the pan-European level, after journalists. The decline in representation of business leaders is noteworthy, amounting to a significant 16% reduction. The number of business leaders has decreased from 221 in the previous year to 186 in 2023.

At the forefront of the journalist category stands the French journalist François Sorel, renowned as the Host of Tech&Co on BFM Business. Also commanding a prominent position in the journalist rankings is Sarah Butler, a distinguished figure at The Guardian in the UK. We also identified Jonathan Amos from the BBC as one of the top journalists in the ranking, who has served as a science correspondent since 1994.

Journalists now assume the mantle of leadership in the pan-European ranking. This upward trend can be attributed to the dynamic nature of the technology industry, where constant innovation and change are the norm. The European population displays a strong interest in staying current with the latest technological advancements and trends. Tech journalists, with their specialised expertise and unwavering focus on this evolving field, are uniquely equipped to meet this widespread interest.

This shows us how, in the face of technological innovation, economic uncertainty, and the proliferation of disinformation, journalists are looked to as the guardians of truth, providing the public with a vital link to accurate and reliable information. The transformative shift outlined in our Tyto Tech 500 research signifies a new era where those at the forefront of technology influence are those who can navigate the ever-changing landscape with precision and credibility.

As professionals of communications ourselves, we believe this shift not only reflects the changing dynamics of the tech industry but also underscores the crucial role journalists play in shaping the narrative and guiding the public through the complex world of technology. Want to know more about the changing face of tech influence in Europe? Access the report and gain valuable insights into the emerging trends shaping the future of technology, influence and media. Stay informed, stay connected, and join us in unravelling the fascinating tapestry of European tech influence, as we do every year.