Edition 3/2022

Table of contents


Dear readers,

Even in liberal democracies, barely a day goes by without someone getting into a heated debate and accusing someone else of endangering press freedom or freedom of speech. Upholding these freedoms is a good thing, of course. But unfortunately, it is often done as a crude maneuver in the fight between different opinions – a strategic exaggeration used to cloud the view of the true dangers.

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Research Papers

Internal freedom of the press revisited On the current need for regulation of media ownership power from the perspective of German media journalists

By Uwe Krüger, Pauline Köbele, Mascha Leonie Lang, Milena Scheller and Henry Seyffert / This article traces the lines of conflict from the heyday of the Statute Movement [Statutenbewegung] to a re-framing of internal press freedom within publishing houses over the past few decades: from an instrument of democratizing media outlets to one for assuring journalistic quality. Lastly, this article discusses the findings of a qualitative survey of twelve German media journalists on their political opinions and ideals regarding the powers of media owners and managers.

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Counter digital revolution, disinformation, and journalistic constraints in Arab media

By Sahar Khamis and Khalid Al-Jaber / This article tackles the exploitation of new media, and the laws and regulations governing them, by Arab authoritarian regimes to crack down on opponents, act­ivists, and journalists, oftentimes under the mantle of fighting disinformation, using a plethora of techniques. It also illustrates how disinformation could spread rapidly through governmentally orchestrated campaigns via new communication tools, causing serious political consequences and high risks to activists and journalists, while aiding counter revolutions.

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Environmental reporting in Ukrainian media The importance of communicating environmental science to raise public environmental awareness

By Olha Harmatiy / Raising people’s awareness about the environment is mandatory in order to deal with growing threats and challenges to the environment. The role of news media as a main source of knowledge about the environment for wide audiences and a social platform for the formation of public environmental awareness and culture is significant.

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»Radio women in queer jobs« The construction of women broadcasters in the American trade magazine Broadcasting 1931-1939

By Stine Eckert / For more than 90 years, the magazine Broadcasting (now titled Broadcasting & Cable) has been one of the most influential trade publications for American radio. A qualitative textual analysis of its coverage between 1931 and 1939, when radio became commercialized, found that the magazine rarely mentioned women working in radio production and management. Women who had such roles were framed as outliers.

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An ideal hobby garden (for me) Communication studies’ forays into media regulation

By Roger Blum / Absurdly few experts from communication science and media law participate in the bodies of media regulation – in press councils, broadcasting councils, television councils, audience councils, media councils – and in the media in ombudsman’s offices in Germany, Austria and Switzerland. That is a shortcoming. Knowledge of fundamental rights and media law, media ethics, journalism, media structures and media effects research would help to find meaningful solutions.

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Pact with the devil

Henning Eichler interviewed by Wolfgang Scheidt / Henning Eichler’s latest study, »Journalism in social networks. ARD and ZDF under the spell of the algorithms,« was conducted on behalf of the Otto Brenner Foundation and examines the conflict between public value and platforming. In an interview, its author explains how algorithmic methods of working and platform logics influence journalistic content. Eichler – a radio journalist at Hessischer Rundfunk and Deputy Professor of Media Sciences and Digital Journalism at Hochschule RheinMain – calls for greater transparency from the operators of advertising platforms and a code of digital ethics for social media editorial offices.

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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. In 2020 and 2021 the publication of the recommendation list had to be temporarily suspended due to the Covid-19 pandemic. The collecting of relevant books, however, was not: more than 100 copies were sent in for review during this period. Starting in 2023, the project will return to a normal rhythm, publishing a recommendation list three times a year. For the selection of books published in 2020 and 2021 we will proceed differently since these books have already resonated with an audience, receiving (often journalistic) criticism. Therefore, we will summarize characteristic quotes of book reviews by daily and weekly newspapers.

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Christian Schicha, Ingrid Stapf, Saskia Sell (eds.) (2021): Medien und Wahrheit. Medienethische Perspektiven auf Desinformation, Lügen und »Fake News« [Media and Truth. Media Ethical Perspectives on Disinformation, Lies and »Fake News]

Reviewed by Marlis Prinzing / When truth becomes blurred, the biggest problem is not the lie itself, but the loss of orientation. The volume Medien und Wahrheit provides an interpretative order, insights, and concrete food for thought and calls to action from an ethical perspective. The book thus also lays down theoretical foundations, which makes it an important work beyond the immediate present.

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Elke Grittmann, Felix Koltermann (eds.) (2022): Fotojournalismus im Umbruch – hybrid, multimedial, prekär [Photojournalism in transition – hybrid, multimedia, precarious]

Reviewed by Julian J. Rossig / Following the 2008 publication of Global, lokal, digital: Fotojournalismus heute, which can, without exaggeration, be considered a milestone in journalism research, Elke Grittmann and her co-author Felix Koltermann are now presenting a follow-up volume: Fotojournalismus im Umbruch – hybrid, multimedial, prekär is a compilation of 18 contributions from academia and practice, providing a multifaceted, up-to-date overview of the profession of photojournalism.

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Jan-Felix Schrape (2021): Digitale Transformation

Reviewed by Hans-Dieter Kübler / Many a confident assertion has been made and supposedly stringent timelines have been proposed concerning our digital society. And yet, this tech-sociological »textbook« assumes that the processes of digital transformation are open-ended and driven by a variety of changes whose »dynamics and ambivalences« can only be observed in the short term, but which will create a »intricate long-term connection between technology and society.«

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