Beatrice Dernbach, Beate Illg (eds.): Journalism and Journalism Education in Developing Countries

Reviewed by Guido Keel / Journalism, which plays a key role in the political, economic, and social development of countries, is facing two challenges at once: First, it must find its role in social transformation. It must determine whether it should help strengthen political and economic structures as a government-loyal actor, or whether it should question the changes as a critical observer. Secondly, it must – at least in part – first build the necessary (infra-)structures, or reform them to create a new self-image.

Michael Haller (2020): Die Reportage: Theorie und Praxis des Erzähljournalismus. [Reportage: Theory and practice of storytelling journalism. 7th edition, completely revised]

Reviewed by Steven Thomsen / It is more than 30 years since the spirit of this book began its long journey through the institutions. Men and women in print journalism, who were given a copy of Michael Haller’s Die Reportage during their own degree or apprenticeship, are themselves now teaching and researching, leading departments and editorial offices, guiding trainees, or giving advanced training to deskmen and reporters.

Claudia Mast, Georg Spachmann, Katharina Georg (2019): »Den Mächtigen auf die Finger schauen«. Zur Zukunft gedruckter Tageszeitungen in der Region. [»Keeping a close eye on the powerful.« On the future of printed daily newspapers in the region.]

Reviewed by Silke Fürst / Having paid little attention to local journalism in the past, journalism research is now taking much more of an interest in the field. This is linked both to the vital role local journalism plays and to the challenges presented by digitalization and the competition for attention and advertising revenue. Even today, local journalism, and the local press in particular, is extremely important not just to many users, but also to community life in villages and towns, as well as ensuring a diversity of information within the media system as a whole.

Mandy Tröger (2019): Pressefrühling und Profit. Wie westdeutsche Verlage 1989/1990 den Osten eroberten. [Press spring and profit. How West German publishing houses conquered the East in 1989/1990]

Reviewed by Hans-Dieter Kübler / The fact that the political reunification of the two German states on October 3, 1990 was preceded by economic annexation or infiltration in the form of fusions, joint ventures, pricing policy, and confidential agreements with the financially strong West is sufficiently known and has been the subject of a great deal of research. The author of this book argues that one particularly symptomatic and momentous example – as a paradigmatic conflict between the market interests of large-scale journalism and small publishing houses on the one hand and alternative reform concepts and noble democratic ideals of press freedom on the other – is the aggressive annexation and restructuring of the GDR press market using West Germany as a template.

Florian Wintterlin: Quelle: Internet. Journalistisches Vertrauen bei der Recherche in sozialen Medien. [Source: Internet. Journalistic trust when researching on social media.]

Reviewed by Guido Keel / The internet has become a core research instrument for journalists over the last fifteen years. To start with, many questions were asked about how this new information medium should be handled in journalism. But online research is now so ubiquitous and online communication has become so institutionalized in connection with public organizations and actors, that such questions are of little interest.

Alexandra Borchardt: Mehr Wahrheit wagen. Warum die Demokratie einen starken Journalismus braucht [Daring to speak more truth. Why democracy needs strong journalism] and Birk Meinhardt: Wie ich meine Zeitung verlor. Ein Jahrebuch. [How I lost my newspaper. A yearbook]

»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.

Tanja Köhler (ed.): Fake News, Framing, Fact-Checking. Nachrichten im digitalen Zeitalter. Ein Handbuch. [Fake news, framing, fact-checking. News in the digital age. A manual]

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.

Jens Radü: New Digital Storytelling. Anspruch, Nutzung und Qualität von Multimedia-Geschichten. [New digital storytelling. Aim, usage, and quality of multimedia stories]

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?

Bernd-Peter Arnold (2018): Die Medien sind an allem Schuld?! Behauptungen – Vermutungen – Erklärungen. [It’s all the media’s fault?! Claims – assumptions – explanations]

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.«