What would our world be without journalism? Much poorer! We would know less. Our curiosity would have to do without “unheard-of events” (Goethe). And democracy would lack the important instance of self-correction provided by journalistic research and revelation.
Journalism is currently subject to a creeping devaluation. Many want all media content to be free of charge and believe that bloggers and social media are sufficient for our society’s conversation with itself. In contrast, we the team of the Rudolf Augstein endowed professorship embrace professional journalism, whose communication output is irreplaceable— as long as it is better than anything else in circulation and misleadingly passing itself off as information, media, or the like. But often it is not. Media criticism is therefore an integral part of our work: recognizing and correcting journalistic errors and malpractice is an important prerequisite for quality journalism.
Rudolf Augstein, the founder of the news magazine Der Spiegel, is the namesake of the Universität Hamburg professorship endowed by the Rudolf Augstein Foundation in 2006. From him comes the phrase “Say what is.” In the spirit of Rudolf Augstein (1923–2002), we dedicate ourselves to the practice of quality journalism. We are focused on the practical and scientific foundation of a journalism that strives to inform and guide its audience. The media’s critique and control function in a democracy is also of special concern to us. We want to enable and encourage our students to perform this function capably.
Our lectures concentrate on research techniques, journalistic forms of presentation, and project workshops, in which we work in a team with the students to develop independent journalistic product. We consider media ethics and media criticism to be a unit that serves responsible professional practice and continual self-optimization. Another important field for us is the development of survival strategies in the journalistic job market. We are continuously working on all these topics in research projects.
We thank you for your interest in the work of the Rudolf Augstein endowed professorship and are happy to answer your questions!