Research in Journalism and Mass Communication
There are 3 focuses of research in the subject group Journalism and Mass Communication: firstly, empirical research into the profession of journalism itself, its rules, and the conditions that influence it, especially the field of quality journalism. Secondly, we study the communicative functions and practices of journalism in diverse situations of public interest: crises, risks, ecology, science, or health. Thirdly, we research transnational and transcultural communication, for example how it manifests itself in the European public domain.
The research project “Journalismus unter digitalen Vorzeichen” (“Journalism in the Digital Age”) used a multiple-method approach to study how digitalization has affected professional journalism. It focused on new audience forms and the opportunities afforded by technical automation. This project, which was headed by Prof. Dr. Volker Lilienthal, the holder of the Rudolf Augstein endowed professorship, was funded by the Landesanstalt für Medien NRW (the Media Authority of North Rhine-Westphalia).
The international collaborative project “Media, Conflict and Democratisation” (MeCoDEM), funded by the European Union, studies the role of the media and communication in democratization conflicts. Prof. Dr. Irene Neverla and her research team focus on the journalists who report on these conflicts. By means of qualitative interviews, they study work practices, role images, and ethical orientations that influence the journalists’ reporting, based on research conducted in Egypt, Kenya, Serbia, and South Africa. The fact that democratization conflicts also exist in established democracies make this project relevant for other countries as well.
The German Research Foundation (DFG) project “Klimawandel aus Sicht der Medienrezipienten” (“Climate Change from the Audience Perspective”) is part of the DFG Priority Programme Science and the General Public. It is an empirical study of how the media influences knowledge and perceptions about climate change. The study investigates not only the traditional mass media like newspapers and television, but also Internet communication. The multifactorial impact model of media experiences of complex domains of knowledge that was developed in the project serves as a theoretical basis. The model uses the dynamic-transactional paradigm and the mass communication concepts of media acquisition, media repertoire, and involvement.
There is currently controversial discussion about the benefit of future IPCC climate assessments and of the panel itself, not only in the media and politics, but also in the scientific community. Climate researchers’ attitudes to the future of the IPCC have, however, never been systematically analyzed. This is the goal of the project “Reassessing an Assessment: A Study of the IPCC Process.” The project also highlights the role of the IPCC in public discourse. It combines perspectives from the fields of mass communication, sociology, and the natural sciences. The project is sponsored and conducted by the Hamburg cluster of excellence CliSAP (Integrated Climate System Analysis and Prediction, funded by the DFG), and led by Dr. Imke Hoppe.
Prof. Dr. Michael Brüggemann, professor for climate and science communication, studies similar topics in various projects:
The research project “Framing Climate Change (FCC),” in cooperation with Sven Engesser (University of Zurich), focuses on the contribution of journalism to the climate change debate. A combination of a survey among international journalists and the analysis of content allows the researchers to identify patterns in transnational climate journalism and to explain how journalistic norms and interpretive patterns influence the debate.
The project “Down to Earth” looks at the 2015 Climate Summit using a combination of quantitative and qualitative surveys to study how news about the summit reaches the German public, what Germans know about climate policies, and how they assess the ways in which policy makers, scientists, and the media communicate the topic.
The Online Media Monitor (OMM), sponsored by the 2015 CliSAP ideas competition, is an instrument that automatically collects and evaluates the online coverage of climate change in the leading media of 40 countries. It helps to compare the intensity of coverage and to make the data accessible for further analysis.
Prof. Dr. Katharina Kleinen-von Königslöw, professor for digitized communication and sustainability, studies the trans-nationalization of public spheres with regard to climate policy. In a project funded by the Swiss National Science Foundation, she and Prof. Dr. Mike S. Schäfer (University of Zurich) analyze the public debate on climate policy in offline and online media from 16 countries on 6 continents.
In another project, also sponsored by the Swiss National Science Foundation and a part of the National Center of Competence in Research (NCCR) Challenges to Democracy research program, Prof. Dr. Kleinen-von Königslöw studies the relationship between civic norms and the repertoire of news sources. In this context she is especially interested in the individualization of the use of news media through social media, and the resulting changes in the reception and effect of public communication.
- CGG: Center for Globalisation and Governance (Hamburg)
- CEN: Center for Earth System Research and Sustainability (Hamburg)
- RCMC: Research Center for Media and Communication (Hamburg)
- Research Center for Media and Politics (Hamburg)