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. It is also noticeable that one aspect receives next to no attention: »internal press freedom.«

How much scope does an editorial office have to report independently of its owners? This was once a key topic for journalism studies as a discipline – and for the trade unions. A team led by Uwe Krüger has picked up on this tradition and presents interesting results from its survey. Some of the media journalists they questioned apparently no longer consider the issue particularly relevant, as the struggle against the tech giants appears more important today than the struggle against a conventional publishing house. That may be true, but the case of »Ippen Investigativ« has recently shown once again how valuable editorial autonomy is. A reminder: Publisher Dirk Ippen reigned in his own people by putting a stop to critical reporting on the Chief Editor of Bild, Julian Reichelt.

In an international context, there are many places where »external press freedom« is threatened or totally non-existent. It is hard to remain optimistic when the organization »Reporters Without Borders« publishes its annual world map, with the color of each country denoting the level of press freedom it enjoys. There is so much red (not good) and so much dark red (not good at all)! Why was the Arab Spring, for example, over so quickly? In their piece, Sahar Khamis and Khalid Al-Jaber show the fallacy of hoping that social media would be able to democratize the region permanently.

Our journal loves to hear voices from all over the world. Authors can submit their texts in English; the editorial office will not only publish them, but also have them translated into German. We did this with the piece by our Ukrainian colleague Olha Harmatiy, a journalism researcher from Lviv who investigated reporting on environmental topics in Ukraine. People there are currently fighting for survival in the war – yet it is also continuing to destroy the natural world. Olha Harmatiy argues that it is important to improve environmental reporting. Only once the war is over will we be able to see clearly not only the full extent of human suffering, but also the destruction of cities, landscapes and biotopes.

Another age, another location: Stine Eckert, one of the editors of Journalism Research, has turned fascinating finds from the archives into a piece on the world of radio in the USA in the 1930s. What role did women play, or what role were they assigned? Stine Eckert examined articles from the industry journal Broadcasting. Unfortunately, some of her findings are all too familiar. Women’s voices were literally suppressed, considered »affected,« »stiff,« or »monotonous.« Despite all the progress that has been made since then, women commentators on soccer games today are still confronted by this kind of narrow-mindedness.

In the essay, Roger Blum reflects on his experience as a member, and indeed President, of key media regulation committees like the Swiss Press Council. His piece can be seen as a call to colleagues to become involved in this kind of orga­ni­zation. In Germany, the debate on reforms of supervisory bodies has been bolstered by scandals at various ARD broadcasters. Constructive criticism, or even collaboration from journalism research, could be welcome here. Anyone with suggestions or experience is welcome to share them with us. Send us a message or submit manuscripts at: redaktion@journalistik.online

Further stimulus for debate comes from an interview conducted by media journalist Wolfgang Scheidt with Henning Eichler to mark Eichler’s study for the Otto-Brenner-Stiftung on the power of algorithms and the social media services offered by

Don’t forget to browse our reviews and the »Top 10 of book journalism!«

I hope you find this issue an inspiring read.

Tanjev Schultz, October 2022

Translation: Sophie Costella