Edition 2/2022

Table of contents


Dear Readers:

The war in Ukraine continues to hold us in a tight grip, especially all people who are directly impacted by the violence and destruction it brings. The uncertainty how long this war of aggression will be raging, is continuing as well, while other conflicts around the world happen in parallel. As you can read in our statement about the war in Ukraine in issue 1/2022, we are firmly convinced, that, as communication and media studies scholars, we can contribute to public discourse by offering analyses and expertise to support communication for peace. This issue of our journal follows up on this goal with concrete contributions.

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Neutrality and values in journalism A theoretical concept for journalism studies, borrowed from value sociology

by David Muschenich / Neutrality in journalism is an oft-demanded ideal and an established quality criterion. Yet the term is rightly criticized as being too vague; even some studies work with imprecise definitions. This is surprising, given that – as this paper shows – neutrality certainly can be differentiated from related terms and understood as an impartial presentation of the topics selected and researched.

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Discarded news On news enlightenment, agenda cutting, and news ignorance

by Hektor Haarkötter / When important news fail to reach their recipients, we sometimes refer to this process as agenda cutting. This article presents the key theoretical positions on this under-researched phenomenon, presenting important study results as well as empirical findings on internal editorial decision-making processes whereby topics are removed from the agenda.

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The big plus The importance of digital routines and user experience in digital journalistic offers from newspaper publishers

by Eva Brands / Konrad Scherfer / After the digital turn in media, a central economic imperative for publishing is to build and secure subscription rates. Under the conditions of digitization, publishers are facing new journalistic and marketing challenges with their subscription management, because newspaper subscription figures and sales have been falling for years. Publishers are developing preventive measures to ward off cancellations to retain their readers in the long term. In this article, observations are made as to which relevance digital routines have in view of this development and which aspects of the user experience are relevant regarding the use of Plus Offers.

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Ingeborg Bachmann as a journalist Correspondent reports from Rome and radio entertainment in Vienna

by Eva Schmidt / Ingeborg Bachmann was the ›girl wonder‹ of postwar literature in the German-speaking world. Today, the Ingeborg Bachmann Prize is still considered one of the most important literary prizes in the German-speaking world. Less well known is the fact that Ingeborg Bachmann was not just a poet, storyteller, and novelist, but also a journalist, reporting from Rome for various radio stations and newspapers.

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The problem with pictures Source analysis and fact-checking in a time of war

by Peter Welchering / In a hybrid war, photos and especially videos become a weapon in themselves, image material is mercilessly falsified. That is why a basic knowledge of source analysis and image forensics methods is so important. Image forensics and source analysis cannot convict war criminals – but they can be used to research initial indications of when and where a crime was committed.

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»For a journalist, keeping silent is a crime« Russian independent media: Caught between responsibility and wartime censorship

by Daria Gordeeva / It did not take long after the first Russian tanks rolled across the border into Ukraine for the Russian government to tighten its censorship laws. Rushed through, the new laws target allegedly ›false information‹ and set out both large fines and custodial sentences of up to 15 years. Numerous independent media websites were blocked, and at least 150 journalists were forced into exile by a wave of repression. How do independent journalists manage to provide truthful, critical reporting under conditions of wartime censorship?

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On myths of solidarity and the logic of war Media as the focus of political media strategies

by Sabine Schiffer / The Russian army officially marched into Ukraine on February 24, 2022. Since then, a terrible war has played out there in plain sight. A war that is taking place on our own continent, with countless victims, bringing with it war crimes and a wartime economy, destroyed infrastructure, mercenary forces, militias, dead civilians, rape – like any war. Through the media, we see the war in Ukraine in detail and up close – not like any war.

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The Top 10 of Book Journalism Recommendations for books by journalists

by Fritz Hausjell / Wolfgang R. Langenbucher / Maria Beinborn (contributing co-author) / The idea of selecting and presenting the best books written by journalists is a project of the Institute for Journalism and Communication Studies at the University of Vienna, co-founded by Hannes Haas (1957-2014) and compiled by Wolfgang R. Langenbucher and Fritz Hausjell. With Journalism Research, a new medium for publication has been found.

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Wilhelm Kempf: Friedensjournalismus. Grundlagen, Forschungsergebnisse und Perspektiven. [Peace Journalism. Foundations, Research Results and Perspectives]

Reviewed by Ralf Spiller

The term »Peace Journalism« first emerged around 1900. Social science has been researching the concept for about 25 years. But what exactly is Peace Journalism? Is it journalism about peace? A normative concept of what constitutes good reporting? Or something else entirely? Kempf’s short book sheds light on the issue.

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Bernadette Uth: Hochwertig, transparent, publikumsnah. [High-quality, transparent, audience-focused. A Qualitative Analysis of Editorial Strategies for Building Trust in Journalism]; and Nina Elvira Steindl: Geleitet von Vertrauen? [Guided by Trust? Determinants and Consequences of Journalists’ Trust in Germany]

Reviewed by Beatrice Dernbach

Trust has become a buzzword in public communication in recent years. While people do trust science in times of crisis, as evidenced by the Science Barometer by Wissenschaft im Dialog, politicians and journalists do not enjoy much of it. In empirical research, trust in (!) journalism is often and still equated with media trust, which is not the same thing.

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Astrid Blome, Tobias Eberwein, Stefanie Averbeck-Lietz (eds.): Medienvertrauen. Historische und aktuelle Perspektiven [Trust in media. Historical and current perspectives]

Reviewed by Hans-Dieter Kübler

As many sources cite, in 2014/15, the (first) Ukraine crisis and overwhelming refugee movements gave rise to the term »lying press« to bash liberal mainstream media for their alleged disinformation and manipulation, used especially by right-wing protagonists such as Pegida. Ultimately, mainstream media came under enormous pressure to justify themselves. Trust in quality media and public broadcasting, which had previously been taken almost for granted, began to decline, media criticism often turned into criticism of the system.

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