Facing increased competition and changing user behavior news media outlets increasingly have to pursue branding strategies to stay successful in the market. But the role of traditional news media as democratic institutions and the associated expectations impede branding measures as well as reservations against branding on the journalist’s side. This contribution is an attempt to further investigate news media branding. Referring to existing models it suggests the integration of societal functions as well as journalistic quality in the brand identity of news media brands. The production of contents should reflect these values in order to achieve successful branding to create a strong news brand. Expert interviews, audience survey and content analysis have been conducted to investigate the performance of news media brands regarding the fulfillment of societal functions and the journalistic quality.