Information and findings from past conferences convened at the chair are presented here.
Digital Journalism: Disruptive Practice of a new Paradigm
Journalism, its actors, and its products are experiencing deep structural transformation — digitalization has affected journalistic skills, editorial communication and production practices, and journalistic ways of presenting information. What began with the invention of the world wide web in 1991 and the launch of the first German-language website (Spiegel Online) in 1994 has seen rapid development characterized by dynamization and diversity since then. As a result, we can speak of full-fledged “digital journalism” more than 20 years after the launch of the first journalistic presence on the German-language web.
The impacts of the convergence of the media and the digitalization of journalists’ everyday work go beyond what is traditionally called online journalism because they affect practically everything journalists do, all areas of journalistic organizations, and all fields of journalism overall. Yet the many and diverse opportunities opened up by this development — new forms of storytelling and multimedia presentation, networking of various offerings — are also countered by challenges. New solutions are required to implement sustainable digital business models and to take account of mobile usage patterns and the fragmentation of attention in social networks.
Roughly 150 guests, including scholars, journalists, and numerous students, discussed the “disruptive practice of a new paradigm” against the background of these developments at Universität Hamburg on 5/6 November 2015. The topics included innovations in journalistic training, problems when dealing with audiences, and the advantages of digital storytelling.
The academic contributions and controversial discussions of the two-day conference are available online. First-semester master’s students of the Institute of Journalism and Communication Studies prepared the conference reports published in Message Online. “Not only did we gain knowledge through our conference,” said Prof. Volker Lilienthal, “it was also an ideal practical exercise for our students. Their reports show that they are seriously addressing the digital transformation of the journalism profession and are learning to adapt to it.”
All the reports are available at http://www.message-online.com/category/digijour2015/ (German only). Videos of the keynote delivered by blogger Christian Jakubetz (German only) and the subsequent panel discussion (German only) moderated by Volker Lilienthal are also available.
PR and Journalism
Partners or Adversaries?
They provide eye-catching images for television newsrooms, free broadcast-ready pieces for radio stations, stories for the breakneck news cycle: we are talking about Germany’s public relations pros. They advocate for dialogue — but stonewall in the face of unpleasant questions, and often enough impede journalists’ research and cloud the facts. Far from the public eye, PR consultants spin topics as desired by corporations or politicians, design plans for campaigns and communication operations, and time and again work covertly to influence public opinion.
Nonetheless, journalism often welcomes what they have to offer: newsrooms cooperate with communications strategists to obtain questionable exclusive reports and short-lived headlines; freelance journalists take on lucrative PR work from companies; PR consultants and lobbyists change sides to become editors-in-chief; universities include press officers in training for young journalists.
Are these developments shifting the power relations between journalism and PR? What are the consequences of the professionalization of PR and the creeping deprofessionalization of journalism? What needs to happen for quality journalism to prevail despite the interlinkages of journalism and PR? The Rudolf Augstein Endowed Professorship at Universität Hamburg and the journalists’ organization netzwerk recherche e.V. sought to find answers to these questions at the conference “Journalismus und PR — zwischen Kooperation und Konfrontation” (“Journalism and PR — Between Cooperation and Confrontation”). The conference took place in Hamburg on Friday, 11 February and Saturday, 12 February 2011.
The findings were documented comprehensively, including in a workshop hosted by Netzwerk Recherche and conference proceedings prepared by the Rudolf Augstein Endowed Professorship.