Provision of information Thoughts on an overdue reform of public service broadcasting in Germany

By Horst Pöttker | Public service broadcasting in Germany has entered a crisis of legitimation that puts its very future in jeopardy. Taking an external view, this paper reminds the reader of public service broadcasting’s statutory purpose: as a source of reliable information and of relevant advice, education and entertainment. It is a crisis born of the ossification of its structures and the difficulty of recognizing its public service profile. This forms the background for this discussion of a potential reform comprising four measures: composing the supervisory committees based on competence and independence; a means-based scale for the license fee; keeping programming free from advertising; and reducing the number of channels. To finish, the paper considers how such reforms could be implemented and the opportunities and risks this would present for society.

The »climate crisis« in public service broadcasting Communication processes, management culture, and what they mean for output – On the latest discussion of broadcasting policy triggered by the NDR »Climate Report«

By Hans Peter Bull | A survey of staff at Norddeutscher Rundfunk, which gathered the opinions of more than one thousand employees at all levels, revealed a poor working climate and painted a predominantly negative picture of the broadcaster’s management bodies. In particular, the respondents expect a better »management culture« at all levels, claiming that many managers are overwhelmed by the major processes of change currently underway in public service broadcasting and therefore unable to develop clear guidelines for the change needed in the organization. This article analyzes this criticism in more detail. In particular, it asks what »management« can realistically achieve at a broadcaster, given the external constraints involved.

Really?! Sophie Scholl on Instagram An analysis of the journalistic discourse

By Martina Thiele and Tanja Thomas | This paper examines the journalistic discourse on the Instagram project @ichbinsophiescholl. The project is based on a fictional premise in which the resistance fighter Sophie Scholl uses the social media platform Instagram during the last few months before her arrest and murder in 1943. This thought experiment and its implementation in 2021 attracted a great deal of media attention. The PR departments of SWR and BR communicated the number of followers and the extensive reporting as a major success and vindication of their approach to reaching young people. This analysis reconstructs discursive patterns, discourse strands, and discourse positions in the reporting on the project, and discusses the extent to which »the« journalism has fulfilled its public role and the various functions assigned to it.