Edition 2/2023 July 2023

Table of contents


Artificial intelligence (AI) is the phrase on everybody’s lips. But why? A guest paper by American researcher Meredith Whittaker on…

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Call for papers

Broadcasting in all its manifestations Call for Papers

Journalism Research/Journalistik for Issue 3/4, 2023and 1, 2024 We are inviting submission for the upcoming issues of Journalism Research/Journalistik for…

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Research Papers

New game, new rules An investigation into editorial guidelines for dealing with artificial intelligence in the newsroom

By Kim Björn Becker | The introduction of the language model ChatGPT created plenty of hype around the use of artificial intelligence – not least in journalism. In a profession based around language, the new technology has a wide range of applications. Yet these new possibilities also give rise to questions about how the media deal with artificial intelligence (AI). Some editorial offices have now begun to react to the challenge by publishing their own AI guidelines, aiming to clarify the principles on which their use of algorithms is based. This paper conducts a comparative examination of the documents issued by seven international media in order to gain a fundamental understanding of where the editorial offices see opportunities and the pitfalls they address. The investigation looks at two organizations each from Germany and the USA, as well as one each from the Netherlands, the United Kingdom, and Canada. The analysis shows that news agencies tend to have more concise rules, while public service broadcasters are subjected to more comprehensive regulatory standards. Each editorial office sets its own focus: While almost all the media’s guidelines cover human control of AI and questions of transparency, there is less focus on requirements for trustworthy algorithms. The investigation shows that, although media are already looking at fundamental questions thrown up by the new technology, newsrooms still have blind spots when it comes to dealing with AI.

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Fear and balanced The world according to the foxnews.com homepage

By Fred Vultee | This discourse analysis draws on a database of foxnews.com homepages from 2022-23 to assess the issues, stories and actors that help form the worldview of the Fox audience. The thematic assessment is complemented by a study of text features that address licensing: who speaks and how, and under what conditions? Results address a question that has drawn attention for more than two decades: »What is Fox News?«

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Separating Advertising Business from Journalism How pertinent is Karl Bücher’s 1919 concept for press reform today?

By Horst Pöttker | The purpose of this article is to raise awareness for fundamental problems of journalistic quality assurance. To do this, we analyzed Karl Bücher’s largely forgotten reform concept of 1919 against the backdrop of current media developments for its sociopolitical relevance, its merits and flaws compared to other concepts of journalistic quality assurance (most of which Bücher himself already mentioned at the time), its applicability to various media, and its political, legal, and economic viability. Our hypothesis is that the most promising and viable approach is to extend the principle of public broadcasting to other media.

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How language AI could change journalism training A workshop report by Gabriele Hooffacker

By Gabriele Hooffacker | There are already some indications of what generative language AI can and will be able to do. It will transform journalism, the »profession of the public sphere« (Pöttker 2010). What does journalism teaching look like under these conditions? Which competencies need to be taught? Which specific knowledge and skills? Instead of dealing with the topic in a theoretical way, this subjective debate piece attempts to approach it by exploring the topic together with students. It provides a workshop report, compiles possible learning objectives for both students and teaching staff, and inspires further thought about the competencies needed for the profession of the public sphere.

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A lack of critical corrective Expectation-led distortions in reporting on the welfare state in Germany

By Georg Cremer | However valid their empirical basis, the images commonly distributed on the social situation and welfare policy in Germany have consequences for reporting – they shape the developments that are considered worthy of reporting on and how they are interpreted. As a result, reporting serves to reinforce hardened opinions. This often negatively impacts a solution-oriented debate on reform, as problems are not considered in a sophisticated way for specific target groups. The media frequently fail to provide a critical corrective, especially when press releases from social organizations are in line with preconceived perceptions and the demands that the organizations derive from them appear to be for a good cause. Even where depictions are extremely distorted, politicians are often reluctant to take a contrasting position, as this carries the risk of being accused of wanting to ›talk down‹ social problems. A lack of statistical skills for handling complex social statistics also plays a role.

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The Top 10 of Book Journalism Recommendations for books by journalists

By Fritz Hausjell and Wolfgang Langenbucher | 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. The project published its first recommendation list in 2002 in the quarterly journal Message, founded by Michael Haller. After the journal’s discontinuation, the selections were documented in the magazine Der österreichische Journalist [The Austrian Journalist] starting in 2015. In 2020 and 2021 the publication of the recommendation list had to be temporarily suspended due to the Covid-19 pandemic. It found its new home, Journalism Research, in 2022.

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Gunter Reus: Der andere Claudius. Anmerkungen zu einem oft verkannten Publizisten. [The Other Claudius. Notes on an Oft-Misunderstood Publicist.]

Reviewed by Horst Pöttker | »Der Mond ist aufgegangen, die goldnen Sternlein prangen…« [The moon has risen, the golden stars are shining…] – Matthias Claudius’ lullaby has become such a staple that it has spawned numerous parodies, among others by Dieter Höss and Dieter Hildebrandt. Peter Rühmkorf’s spoof begins like this: »The moon has risen, / I, between hope and dangling, / don’t touch the sky.« Even such rather odd echoes of the song point to the part of Claudius’ work that paints him as a sensitive, occasionally sanctimonious, God-fearing poet, and as such, he certainly fit into the literary and cultural historical era of his time (1740-1815).

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Markus Wolsiffer: Das Nachrichtenverständnis junger Menschen. Definitionen und Erwartungen im Kontext aktueller journalistischer Information. [How young people process the news. Definitions and expectations in the context of current journalistic information.]

Reviewed by Nadine Klopfenstein Frei | When a journalist with a doctorate writes a book about how young people process the news, one might expect a sharp argument here or there, or at least a pointed pen. But Markus Wolsiffer exercised academic restraint in his book Das Nachrichtenverständnis junger Menschen. The author consolidated his dissertation into a nice volume on news processing by adolescents aged 14 to 21, also providing an overview of news research and its underlying theories.

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Andreas Elter: TV und AV Journalismus. Praxisbuch für Unterricht und Training, Bd. 2. [TV and AV journalism. A practical primer for teaching and training, vol. 2.]

Reviewed by Sebastian Köhler | Andreas Elter is considered one of the most theoretically and practically versed moving image journalism experts in this country. Prior to his current role as head of the »Moving Image« department at the ARD-ZDF Media Academy, he spent many years working as an editor and reporter at WDR, ZDF and RTL before becoming the nationwide Director of Studies for Journalism at a private university. According to Elter, he wrote this book between December 2019 and May 2021 – a time when Germany and much of the world were heavily affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. During this time of crisis, there was a considerable surge in the use of traditional media, similarly to the aftermath of the attacks of September 11, 2001.

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Translators of issue 2/2023

Sophie Costella was born and grew up in the UK. After completing her degree in German and Politics, in 2008…

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