Peace Journalism revisited A plea for better reporting on debates, controversies and social conflicts

By Sigrun Rottmann | A society that is challenged by multiple crises with many upheavals and conflicts needs journalists with conflict expertise. It needs journalists who are impartial, who contextualize and who report in a balanced and solution-oriented way. The media – even »quality media« – too often report on debates or conflicts using emotional and partisan language. They also increasingly make dubious diagnoses of division and polarization. Peace Journalism or Conflict-Sensitive Journalism as proposed by some peace and conflict researchers can provide inspiration and a basis for an interdisciplinary transfer of knowledge that supports good reporting on crises and social conflicts in Germany and elsewhere. They also provide an impetus for a debate about journalistic values and the role that journalism can and should play in uncertain times. This is an important topic when training new and more experienced journalists – especially in view of the communication strategies of populists and right-wing extremists who instrumentalize conflicts for their own purposes.

Fixers in a war zone Foreign media’s invisible producers

By Maryna Grytsai | Fixers are rarely mentioned as members of journalistic teams, yet their contribution to foreign and specifically war reporting is enormous. The current war in Ukraine is no exception. Fixers act as guides for foreign correspondents, helping them to navigate a foreign country, language, and culture. At the same time, they often receive the least protection – as demonstrated recently by the death of the Ukrainian journalist and fixer Bohdan Bitik, who was working together with a correspondent from the Italian newspaper La Repubblica in Kherson. This case, and others like it, give rise to plenty of questions: Under what conditions do fixers work and what are the rules for their work? What does their role include and (how) are their rights protected?

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.

Content creation A new phase of journalism?

By Gabriele Hooffacker | Conventional providers of news and journalism have now been joined by a new group of actors, known by terms like ›influencer‹ and ›content creator.‹ While the job description ›content creator‹ usually describes professions from the world of content marketing, some successful content creators also adhere to journalistic standards and are received accordingly. This essay uses games journalism as an example to present a model for the way a segment of journalistic functions is shifting onto new actors and channels.

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.

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.

»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?

The hybrid university system needs a nuanced reward culture Using advanced training in teaching as currency

by Marcel Franze / Universities of all kinds are institutions of teaching and research. As a result, disciplines like journalism studies straddle two fields: academia on the one hand, and professional preparation and qualification on the other. This balancing act becomes particularly obvious when it comes to the way theory and practice can be integrated. University staff receive too little attention in this context.

Let’s talk about utopias On the topicality of ecological visions and media critique in Ernest Callenbach’s novel Ecotopia

by Gabriele Hooffacker / Utopias allow us to criticize the present from an assumed positive future perspective. At present, however, dystopias are dominating the discourse. Using Ernest Callenbach’s 1975 novel Ecotopia, our author tested the topicality of a positive ecological utopia in a teaching project: Students at a summer academy read excerpts from the novel and explored its positive ecological visions of the future as well as its criticism of the contemporary media system.

France’s very own Murdoch Money, media, and campaigning

by Valérie Robert / In recent years, France has not only seen an upheaval of its party system, but also changes in its media landscape. The influence of large corporations and entrepreneurs might endanger internal freedom of the press and reinforce a political shift towards the right. This article analyses current developments on the French media market as the election campaign gets underway, with a particular focus on the conglomerate TF1 and billionaire Vincent Bolloré.