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.

»Defend the institutions!« Public service media safeguard democracy

By Barbara Thomaß | Expectations for the reform of public service broadcasting in Germany are enormous. Just as great, if not greater, is the need to meet these expectations – and the motivation to achieve this is more than high. There is a real danger of failing to meet these excessive expectations and a process of ailing setting in, with changes in political majorities in the states possible.

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.

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.

The parole on the ›misery of the media‹

by Alexis von Mirbach / The feud between Siegfried Weischenberg and Michael Meyen is no secret in the world of communication studies and provides the only logical explanation for the claim that our book Das Elend der Medien [The misery of the media] forms part of a field called alternative media criticism (AMC).

Of scientific relativization and differentiation Why Siegfried Weischenberg’s assessment of Noam Chomsky’s propaganda approach is wrong

by Florian Zollmann / Siegfried Weischenberg regards Noam Chomsky’s propaganda approach as exemplary of an Alternative Media Criticism (AMC). According to Weischenberg, the AMC is lacking in balance as well as scientific relativization and differentiation. As the following article will show, Weischenberg’s account of Chomsky’s propaganda approach is incorrect and inconsistent with the academic literature.

Journalism in the age of tech sponsoring? A case for stronger journalism in the digital media world

by Mandy Tröger / Building on the paper by Günther and Schultz (2021) »Ten Theses for Strong Journalism in a Digital Media World«, this paper adds an eleventh thesis to the case: Good digital journalism will have to face the issue of new structural dependencies created by tech sponsorship. For when journalism is funded by corporations such as Google or Facebook, digital journalism is subjected to new market and product logics, not least because these corporations provide the digital infrastructures.

Inspire, enlighten, disagree Ten ways to ensure strong journalism in a digital media world

by Oliver Günther and Tanjev Schultz / Digitalization is transforming journalistic processes and ways of working. The sector must resist being subjected to the logic of markets and products. Reflecting on the standards and objectives of journalism is vital. In ten propositions, this paper outlines the tension between journalistic autonomy and technological change, calling for confident journalism that trusts both editorial offices and the audience to play a more proactive role.

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.