Medienwandel und Nachhaltigkeit: Die Perspektive der Kommunikationswissenschaft auf die Rolle der Medien in gesellschaftlichen Transformationsprozessen (2016)


Dieses Arbeitspapier exploriert in drei Schritten die Perspektive der Kommunikationswissenschaft auf die Rolle der Medien im Rahmen gesellschaftlicher Transformationsprozesse. Ein besonderes Augenmerk liegt dabei auf der Rolle, die das Prinzip Nachhaltigkeit und das Thema Klimawandel spielen.

Birkner, Thomas; Brüggemann, Michael; Just, Leonard (2016): Medienwandel und Nachhaltigkeit: Die Perspektive der Kommunikationswissenschaft auf die Rolle der Medien in gesellschaftlichen Transformationsprozessen. In Anita Engels, Angela Pohlmann (Eds.): Klimawandel und nachhaltige Entwicklung: Theoretische Grundlagen zum Verständnis von gesellschaftlichem Wandel und gesellschaftlichen Transformationsprozessen. Hamburg: Universität Hamburg (Global Transformations Towards a Low Carbon Society (Working Paper Series), 12). Available online at

Falsche Ausgewogenheit? Eine journalistische Berufsnorm auf dem Prüfstand (2016)


Ausgewogenheit (engl. Balance) ist eine etablierte journalistische Berufsnorm in den westlichen Demokratien (Donsbach/Klett 1993: 65; Hallin/Mancini 2004: 216; McQuail 1992: 201). Meist wird sie dahingehend interpretiert und umgesetzt, dass in einer Debatte oder einem Konflikt die beiden dominantesten Akteure oder Positionen gleichgewichtet gegenübergestellt werden (Entman 1989: 30; Gans 1979: 175; Hagen 1995: 120; Tuchman 1972: 665). Allerdings gerät diese Form der Anwendung zunehmend in Kritik, vor allem in den Bereichen der Wahlkampfberichterstattung (Hopmann et al. 2012) und Wissenschaftskommunikation (Boykoff/Boykoff 2004; Clarke 2008). Oreskes and Conway (2010: 214) bringen die Einwände in zugespitzter Form zum Ausdruck: “We’ve noted how the notion of balance was enshrined in the Fairness Doctrine, and it may make sense for political news in a two-party system (although not in a multiparty system). But it does not reflect the way science works. In an active scientific debate there can be many sides but once a scientific issue is closed there is only one “side”. Imagine providing balance to the issue of whether the Earth orbits the Sun, whether continents move or whether DNA carries genetic information.” Im vorliegenden Beitrag nehmen wir diese Kritik zum Anlass, die Ausgewogenheitsnorm auf den Prüfstand zu stellen. Zunächst widmen wir uns den theoretischen Grundlagen und beschreiben die gängige Interpretation der Berufsnorm als Gleichgewichtung. Anschließend illustrieren wir die Defizite der Berufsnorm exemplarisch anhand der drei Problembereiche Politik, Klimawandel sowie Impfungen und Autismus. Schließlich präsentieren wir mit proportionaler Gewichtung, Evidenzbasierung und transparenter Begründung drei mögliche Alternativen zur Gleichgewichtung.

Engesser, Sven; Brüggemann, Michael (2016): Falsche Ausgewogenheit? Eine journalistische Berufsnorm auf dem Prüfstand. In Petra Werner, Lars Rinsdorf, Thomas Pleil, Klaus-Dieter Altmeppen (Eds.): Verantwortung – Gerechtigkeit – Öffentlichkeit. Normative Perspektiven auf Kommunikation. 1. Auflage. Konstanz: UVK (Schriftenreihe der Deutschen Gesellschaft für Publizistik- und Kommunikationswissenschaft), pp. 51–64.

Framing the Newspaper Crisis (2016)


This article argues that discourses of a newspaper “crisis” should not be regarded simply as descriptions of the actual state of the press but also as a means by which strategic actors frame the situation. The emerging frames can have substantial consequences for media policy making. The study identifies four key frames used to portray the newspaper “crisis” and discusses their relevance for public debates in Finland, France, Germany, Italy, the United Kingdom and the United States. Similarities and differences are examined through 59 in-depth interviews with policymakers and industry executives as well as a qualitative analysis of policy documents and relevant media coverage. The study demonstrates that debates on the newspaper “crisis” are only partly influenced by (1) economic realities and (2) media policy traditions in the six countries but also reflect (3) the strategic motives of powerful actors and (4) the diffusion of frames across borders, particularly those coming from the United States. A transnationally uniform paradigm emerges according to which the state is expected to play the role of a benevolent but mostly passive bystander, while media companies are expected to tackle the problem mainly by developing innovative content and business strategies. This liberal market paradigm displays one blind spot however: it does not seriously consider a scenario where the market is failing to provide sustainable journalistic quality.

Brüggemann, Michael; Humprecht, Edda; Kleis Nielsen, Rasmus; Karppinen, Kari; Cornia, Alessio; Esser, Frank (2015): Framing the Newspaper Crisis. In Journalism Studies 17 (5), pp. 533–551. Available online at

International Organizations (2016)


International organizations (IOs) face a number of communicative challenges that are related to their two defining features: They are public organizations bound to norms and restrictions that do not apply to private organizations and they communicate at the supranational as well as at culturally diverse local levels. This limits the capacity of IOs to effectively reach out to their publics. Yet IOs do not only act as comparatively weak strategic communicators. They also serve as arenas of communication and exert influence by providing the set‐up of political communication processes at the transnational level.

Brüggemann, Michael (2016): International Organizations. In Gianpietro Mazzoleni, Kevin G. Barnhurst, Ken’ichi Ikeda, Rousiley Maia, Hartmut Wessler (Eds.): The International Encyclopedia of Political Communication: Wiley-Blackwell. Available online at

Building Empirical Typologies with QCA: Toward a Classification of Media Systems (2016)


Typologies are omnipresent both in everyday life as well as in the sciences. Epistemologically, there are several systematic ways to build typologies, such as qualitative, theory-based descriptions on one end and quantitative, exploratory statistical means on the other end of the spectrum. Both have their specific advantages and disadvantages, which can be bridged by applying set-theoretic methods, such as Qualitative Comparative Analysis (QCA). The contribution of this paper is substantial and methodological: First, we show how QCA can enhance our understanding of media systems by building a typology that draws on Hallin and Mancini’s framework. The main improvement of QCA is the ability to identify ideal types as well as border cases. In our analysis, we move beyond the widely discussed case of Great Britain and take a closer look at further border cases such as Austria, Belgium, France, the Netherlands, and Portugal. Second, QCA has been scarcely applied to build typologies and if so, only in neighboring disciplines. Thus, we aim at familiarizing comparative political communication scholars with this method.

Büchel, Florin; Humprecht, Edda; Castro-Herrero, Laia; Engesser, Sven; Brüggemann, Michael (2016): Building Empirical Typologies with QCA: Toward a Classification of Media Systems. In The International Journal of Press/Politics 21 (2), pp. 209–232. Available online at

Mapping the minds of the mediators: The cognitive frames of climate journalists from five countries (2016)


This article is based on the premise that journalists play an important role as mediators of scientific information and their interpretations of climate change influence media debates and public opinion. The study maps the minds of climate journalists from five different countries (Germany, India, Switzerland, the United Kingdom, and the United States) and different types of leading media outlets. It identifies five cognitive frames that vary between attributing the responsibility for climate change to lobbying and national interests, blaming consumerist culture and the capitalist system, and expressing technological optimism. The study provides evidence for the emergence of a sustainability frame, indicates a “blame game” between industrialized countries and emerging economies, and shows the demand for a global ecological discourse. Finally, it explores how individual factors such as specialization, professional aims, and political alignment correlate with the cognitive frames of journalists.

Engesser, Sven; Brüggemann, Michael (2015): Mapping the minds of the mediators. The cognitive frames of climate journalists from five countries. In Public Understanding of Science 25 (7), pp. 825–841. Available online at