»This book looks at the needs and behavior of the audience on the one hand and, on the other, the constraints facing and possibilities available to journalism. Its most important concern is that each side should see the other not as an opponent, but as a partner pursuing a shared goal – ideally the goal of making life for each individual and life together in society a little bit better.« This passage is taken from Alexandra Borchardt’s introduction entitled »A deep divide. Journalism and its audience.« It sounds pleasant enough – who would not want to bridge divides between people and make the world a better place? But this concept is far from a matter of course, especially when it comes to journalism as a profession.
News can justifiably be considered the very heart of journalism. The role of journalists is to bring anything new, relevant, and topical to the attention of the world as news. But news and news journalism – like journalism in general – are facing enormous changes and threats to their very existence: disintermediation, the rise of digital platforms, the associated revolution in communications processes, and the economic crisis enveloping journalistic media companies, to name but a few.
Multimedia stories have long since become an established part of journalism, and much has been written on the subject of digital storytelling, in both academic articles and practical manuals. The multimedia reportage “Snow Fall” (New York Times 2012) is often quoted as an example of best practice and a prototype for multimedia storytelling. So why do we need another book on the topic?
Trite criticism of journalism is currently to be heard from all quarters, not least from insiders. Despite this, the author – a former radio journalist and channel controller at Hessischer Rundfunk who now teaches the topic at Johannes Gutenberg University in Mainz – believes that the continued spread, and indeed consolidation, of the common prejudice expressed in the book’s title is down to a widespread and deep-seated »ignorance« of the »structure and operating principles of the media.«
Reviewed by Hans-Dieter Kübler / »I never considered freedom of speech a blank check to falsify the truth, a way of playing where anyone can say whatever they want, from a position of absolute power and without any regard for facts.« This is not a contemporary admonition from the era of fake news, hate speech, and echo chambers, but the words of English writer and journalist Daniel Defoe. continue to article
Reviewed by Boris Romahn / Lauren Lucia Seywald is a Master’s graduate of the Vienna Institute of Journalism and Communication Studies, a freelance journalist, and a project manager at ichschreibe.at. Her book pursues two goals: Explore the structural conditions and influencing factors of investigative journalism, and learn more about the professional self-image of media producers who engage in investigative reporting. continue to article
Reviewed by Roger Blum / Publishing successful Master’s theses on a common overarching topic in one compact volume is a great idea because it lends visibility to student research in a condensed format. continue to article
Reviewed by Hans-Dieter Kübler / The usage figures have been clear for some time: If young people look for information about current events in the news at all, they choose to do so online, using websites and social media. Traditional news media such as radio and television, and especially analog daily newspapers, are largely a thing of the past where this audience is concerned. continue to article
This book is the first of its kind. Journalism in Germany, Austria, and Switzerland have been examined many times, but never before together and using identical questions. Despite this, the first feeling one has upon reading this work is one of tedium – the results do not teach us anything new about the 41,000 German, 4,000 Austrian and 10,000 Swiss journalists. But then comes something truly striking and controversial: Although more than 90 percent of the media people surveyed see themselves as neutral communicators of information, they see their role of providing critique and monitoring as almost negligible. Only 20 percent in Germany and Austria, and 22 percent in Switzerland, view themselves as a counterweight to the government. That figure for the USA is 86 percent. Just 29 percent of the German, 13 percent of the Austrian, and 47 percent of the Swiss journalists trust the government, and clear majorities believe that it is acceptable to use confidential government documents without permission occasionally – yet they do not want to scrutinize the government. The study shows that there is a need for action here, and that the journalistic community in the three countries needs to hold a debate about how it sees its role! continue to article
Trust is the buzz word of the modern age. Who trusts whom and why? Or rather: Why are some people not (or no longer) trusted? Is mistrust in political and economic actors growing? PR agency Edelman has been researching trust in governments, non-governmental organizations, business, and the media for 20 years (https://www.edelman.de/research/edelman-trust-barometer-2020). Unfortunately, this link is not included in the otherwise very comprehensive bibliography of the dissertation by Katherine M. Engelke. Although this is not a problem, its inclusion would have enabled a broader view of empirical findings on the object of the research. However, this comment is of little importance given the author’s overall achievement. continue to article