Edition 1/2021

Table of contents


Since well before the COVID-19 pandemic, we have been passionately debating the degree of freedom in our society and what…

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Key skill: Reading between the lines On the self-image of Western expats in professional journalist training at universities in the United Arab Emirates and Qatar

by Andreas Sträter / Academics who come from Western countries to teach the next generation of journalists in the United Arab Emirates or Qatar find themselves straddling two worlds. Myriad taboos mean that curricula from the United Kingdom or USA are of limited use, or none at all. The problem is that certain boundaries are not always clearly defined – and infringements can even result in academics being expelled from the country. A qualitative survey of 19 expats on self-image in academic journalist training in the Gulf.

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»A rampage spinning in circles around Capitalism« On the reception of the RAF’s Concept of an Urban Guerrilla in left-wing extremist newspapers in the early 1970s

by Gernot Pürer / In 1972, the »Red Army Faction« (RAF) launched its »May Offensive«, a series of terrorist bombings marking the beginning of a decade of attacks that made the RAF post-war Germany’s most notorious terrorist organization. One year prior, the group published ›The Concept of Urban Guerilla‹, which was both its first and foremost propaganda pamphlet and policy statement and a high-publicity proclamation of its motivations and future plans.

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B(U)ILD-ing an image of Africa A discourse analysis of representations of Africa in the newspaper Bild in the context of the Covid-19 pandemic

by Lukas Franziskus Adolphi / This paper is a discourse-analytical study about the portrayal of Africa in German newspaper BILD in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic. The aim will be to uncover underlying racist, colonial, and thus domination-asserting logics inherent in such coverage. In this context, journalism is considered a discursive instrument of power that can either stabilize or challenge existing power structures. My empirical analysis will also show opportunities for subversive effects and the social responsibility of journalism.

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Teaching Constructive Journalism How solution-focused journalism can serve both as a model and a tool for journalism education

by Gabriele Hooffacker / Does the concept of Constructive Journalism contribute new aspects to journalism studies? This essay shows that the approach of Constructive Journalism can be a productive and stimulating element in education and training. It helps society negotiate contentious issues and unburdens journalists as an alternative reporting model. During events that are portrayed as crises, Constructive Journalism can point out different possible solutions.

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Political correctness and Cancel Culture – a question of power! The case for a new perspective

by Martina Thiele / The author makes a case for a new perspective in the journalistic debate about political correctness and Cancel Culture. Instead of discussing specific terms and language or freedom of expression and censorship in general, we should focus on privilege and power in order to determine who exerts power over our social discourse from which position as well as to expose inconsistencies. For it is mostly those who wield journalistic power who claim to be threatened by speech bans and censorship.

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Political correctness – a threat to journalism? Facts provide the answer

by Ingo von Münch / Much has been written about political correctness (also: Cancel Culture) in many media. Less attention has been paid to the question of whether and why political correctness represents a serious threat to freedom of the press and thus poses a danger to journalism. The following debate contribution answers this question in the affirmative, referencing key aspects such as information bans, topic bans, governmental language regulation, and a trend towards intolerance.

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Alexandra Borchardt: Mehr Wahrheit wagen. Warum die Demokratie einen starken Journalismus braucht [Daring to speak more truth. Why democracy needs strong journalism] and Birk Meinhardt: Wie ich meine Zeitung verlor. Ein Jahrebuch. [How I lost my newspaper. A yearbook]

»This book looks at the needs and behavior of the audience on the one hand and, on the other, the constraints facing and possibilities available to journalism. Its most important concern is that each side should see the other not as an opponent, but as a partner pursuing a shared goal – ideally the goal of making life for each individual and life together in society a little bit better.« This passage is taken from Alexandra Borchardt’s introduction entitled »A deep divide. Journalism and its audience.« It sounds pleasant enough – who would not want to bridge divides between people and make the world a better place? But this concept is far from a matter of course, especially when it comes to journalism as a profession.

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Tanja Köhler (ed.): Fake News, Framing, Fact-Checking. Nachrichten im digitalen Zeitalter. Ein Handbuch. [Fake news, framing, fact-checking. News in the digital age. A manual]

News can justifiably be considered the very heart of journalism. The role of journalists is to bring anything new, relevant, and topical to the attention of the world as news. But news and news journalism – like journalism in general – are facing enormous changes and threats to their very existence: disintermediation, the rise of digital platforms, the associated revolution in communications processes, and the economic crisis enveloping journalistic media companies, to name but a few.

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Jens Radü: New Digital Storytelling. Anspruch, Nutzung und Qualität von Multimedia-Geschichten. [New digital storytelling. Aim, usage, and quality of multimedia stories]

Multimedia stories have long since become an established part of journalism, and much has been written on the subject of digital storytelling, in both academic articles and practical manuals. The multimedia reportage “Snow Fall” (New York Times 2012) is often quoted as an example of best practice and a prototype for multimedia storytelling. So why do we need another book on the topic?

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Bernd-Peter Arnold (2018): Die Medien sind an allem Schuld?! Behauptungen – Vermutungen – Erklärungen. [It’s all the media’s fault?! Claims – assumptions – explanations]

Trite criticism of journalism is currently to be heard from all quarters, not least from insiders. Despite this, the author – a former radio journalist and channel controller at Hessischer Rundfunk who now teaches the topic at Johannes Gutenberg University in Mainz – believes that the continued spread, and indeed consolidation, of the common prejudice expressed in the book’s title is down to a widespread and deep-seated »ignorance« of the »structure and operating principles of the media.«

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