Archive for ‘backstage’

Mai 14th, 2014

Two jpub-presentations accepted for the European Communication Conference 2014 in Lisbon! (And two others rejected.)

We are very happy to announce that we will hold two presentations at the European Communication Conference (ECC) 2014. This year, the biennial international conference which is hosted by the European Communication and Research Association (ECREA); will take place from November 12th to November 15th in Lisbon, Portugal.
You surely know that our jpub-project – roughly speaking – deals with how audiences participate at four different German news media and why they do so. But this time in, we will try to answer the question why a large part of the audiences we surveyed does not participate. If you want to know more, just take a look at the abstract we submitted titled „‚It’s just not my thing‘ – Why audience members don’t use participatory features of (online) news media. Insights from four German case studies“.
Furthermore, Julius will present some theoretical and analytical work from his dissertation project on personal branding in journalism (read the submitted abstract here).
Unfortunately, two other abstracts we had submitted were rejected. However, just like before;, we want to tell you about those, too – especially since we won’t present them in Lisbon. Thus, we have uploaded them so you can also read about whether we think political TV talks are the ideal journalistic genre for audience participation and what we found when we compared a TV talk and a daily newscast with regard to what their journalists and users think about traditional as well as rather new journalistic tasks.

April 8th, 2014

Three more months!

Thorough readers of this blog might remember that our project was initially scheduled to run from October 2011 to March 2014 (2.5 years in total), and thus might assume that we have wrapped up everything by now.

However (and to our great delight) we were able to secure HBI-internal funding for additional three months in order to finalize the two remaining case study reports and work on the book manuscript which will summarize our findings. So while you better not expect very much blogging activity (since we are busy finalizing the project) over the coming weeks, you can look forward to more output

November 29th, 2013

FAQ: the jpub-questionnaires on audience inclusion in journalism

Here at jpub, we believe that transparency is a key attribute of good scientific research. That’s one reason why we write this blog. And that’s also the reason why we decided to publish in detail the questionnaires we used in our standardized surveys among journalists and audience members. You find the original German versions as well as English translations of the questionnaires underneath this post for download. But if you want to know a little more about the context in which they were used, read on to learn about our methodological approach:

As you might have read in one of our publications (e.g., Heise/Loosen/Reimer/Schmidt 2013) or heard about in one of our presentations, the jpub-project (Re-)Discovering the audience consists of four case studies of different news outlets and their audiences (s. fig. 1):


Fig. 1: The four case studies

In each of the case studies, we investigate the journalists’ as well as the audience members’ performances and expectations with regard to audience inclusion as described in the following heuristic model (see fig. 2) developed by Wiebke Loosen & Jan-Hinrik Schmidt (2012; you can download a pre-print version of the paper here):


Fig. 2: Heuristic model developed by Loosen/Schmidt (2012)

By comparing performances on both sides, we can determine the inclusion level which can be high or low on either side as well as even or uneven. By comparing inclusion expectations on both sides, we find out about the inclusion distance between journalists and their audience: It is small if expectations are rather congruent; it is large, if expectations differ to a greater extent.

Researching both manifest performances and expectations among journalists as well as audience members  requires a multi-method approach with a fixed set of methods applied in every case study (see fig. 3 for the example of the newscast case study):


Fig. 3: Methods applied in every case study (example case study: newscast Tagesschau)

For instance, we conduct in-depth interviews with members of the newsroom in different positions (from leading editors to community managers) as well as with audience members who participate to varying degrees (from those who only read or watch the parent medium to those who comment heavily on the medium’s website or run their own user blog there).

Two very important components of our approach are the standardized surveys which we conduct in every case study: one among the respective news outlet’s news staff and one among the users of its online presence.

In addition to some general questions on their position and work in the newsroom as well as on socio-demographic characteristics, the journalists are asked

  • which sources their image of the audience relies on,
  • how often they are in contact with their audience for different purposes (e.g., for research, to moderate online discussions, to promote new content, to make editorial decisions transparent, …),
  • how often they use social media features for journalistic activities (e.g., to find sources or eye witnesses of an event, to receive notifications of errors, to obtain an impression of the public opinion towards a particular topic, …),
  • which roles they ascribe to their audience (e.g., passive viewers/readers, commentators, experts, providers of topics, producers of content, …).

The audience members are asked

  • which journalistic products and offers of the respective outlet they use and how often,
  • which participatory features they use and how often (e.g., sending audience mail, “liking” posts on the outlet’s Facebook page, commenting in the outlet’s discussion forum, sharing website content, …),
  • if they use their real name or a pseudonym when they participate,
  • whom they address when they comment publicly,
  • whom they speak for when they comment publicly,
  • to what extent they want journalists to moderate and engage in online discussions,
  • how they evaluate audience members’ contributions in the respective outlet’s different offers,
  • and – if they do not or only rarely participate – what keeps them from participating.

A special feature of the surveys is that four more item batteries which deal with important dimensions of inclusion expectations are included in both the questionnaire for journalists and the questionnaire for audience members. This allows us to compare directly both sides’ ratings of these items and calculate inclusion distance in the four dimensions (see fig. 4):


Fig. 4: Operationalisation of inclusion distance in the standardised online surveys

In detail, we ask an outlet’s audience members what motivates them to participate; and we ask the outlet’s journalists what they think their audience’s motivations for participation are. Furthermore, we ask journalists which goals they pursue in their journalistic work; and we ask their audience which goals the respective outlet’s journalists in their view should pursue. Moreover, we ask audience members how much importance they ascribe to certain participatory functions; and we ask journalists how important they assume these functions are to their audience. Finally, we ask both sides to rate some general statements on audience inclusion at the respective news outlet, e.g. with regard to strategic rationales and the impact of participation on the journalistic process and products.

If you are interested in how a comparison of journalists’ and audience members’ (expected) inclusion expectations looks like in detail, you might want to read Including the audience. Comparing the attitudes and expectations of journalists and users towards participation in German TV news journalism., the article we recently published in Journalism Studies.






Juni 4th, 2013

News from the #jpub20 project & our presentations at ICA 2013

Hi everyone,

we have good news about the progress of the JPub20-project. For one, the field phase of our fourth case study, the weekly newspaper magazine „der Freitag“, has begun last week. Three members of the team – Wiebke, Nele and Julius – went to Berlin to interview the chief editor Philip Grassmann, one reporter from the politics ressort, as well as two community-editors. As expected, the case study is very interesting because of its „community“ concept, which is quite unique in the German news landscape. Here, users can become bloggers on the newspaper’s website and write and discuss about many different topics. In some cases, excellent user-generated content is presented on the homepage of, and/or even printed in the weekly issue of the self-declared „opinion medium“. We are very happy with this cooperation and we will keep you informed about the empirical stages of this case study (our last one – how exciting!).

Talking of excitement: Nele went to Berlin one day earlier to take part in a plenary discussion on „Journalism & Technology“. The discussion was part of the so-called „Digitaler Salon“, a monthly event by the Humboldt Institute for Internet and Society and the public radio broadcaster „DRadio Wissen“. The whole thing was live streamed on May 29 and is also available for downloading (in German).

Besides these Berlin-related events, we are also preparing a trip to London in two weeks: From June 17 to 21 2013 the Annual Conference of the ICA is held in England’s capital. Our project is represented with two presentations. For one, Nele will talk about a pre-study of her dissertation project at the pre-conference „The Objects of Journalism“. And secondly Julius is going to present selected results of our first case study, the „Tagesschau“, on June 21, 12:00pm to 1:15pm (session title „Participatory Journalism: Reimagining the Role of Audiences and Journalists“). The presentation deals with the comparison of attitudes and expectations towards audience inclusion and participatory features between journalists and users of the daily TV newscast. In case you’re interested in the findings and conclusions, we will gladly provide the full paper (ca. 30 pages) with figures, tables etc. via e-mail. And, of course, we hope to meet you in London!


März 12th, 2013

Notes on our „Corporate Eidentity“*

When our project started in October 2011, we decided to do it „Cyberscience 2.0″[1] style and we came up with the idea to create an account on Twitter (which can be found here, by the way). For one, we wanted to use Twitter as a tool of networking (with other researchers, journalists and media companies) as well as information and communication (e.g. tweeting information about new blog content, retweeting interesting „stuff“ about developments on the field of our project topics or conference tweeting). Moreover, our Twitter account functions as a digital business card (e.g. on presentation slides or in research-reports), which is easy to find and which helps people to follow our activities online. And yes, it also helps us to gain attention for our project and its outcomes.[2]

But we all know that Social Media activities do not work very well on a anonymous, impersonal basis. Hence, we had to find a striking (or at least „creative“) icon or avatar to represent our project in the Twittersphere. After months and months, a colleague of ours, Florian Hohmann, created our very own jPub20 egg – our „eIcon“ – a playful version of the Twitter default avatar, which became a very important piece of our „scientific corporate Eidentity“.

eIcon jPub20team eIcon jPub20team Easter Version

As you can see above: the „eIcon“ not only symbolizes the vast amount of intelligence of our project team members (note the glasses!). It is also flexible with regard to festivities and holidays (Easter in this case) and it can be used in a variety of contexts, e.g. as a „group portrait“ (as it has been used for a preview of our presentation at the annual conference of the DGPuK this year in Mainz). We are very proud of our „Eidentity“ and suggest that every publicly funded research project should have one.

However: Although some weeks are still ahead, we wish happy easter holidays to all our readers! Have a pleasant time and: may the eggs be with you.



* Warning: This posting might contain traces of (self) irony (and nuts).


[1] Nentwich, M. & König, R. (2012): Cyberscience 2.0. Research in the Age of Digital Social Networks. Frankfurt/M.: Campus Verlag.
[2] Besides these practices of identity, information and relationship management (see: Schmidt, J (2007). Blogging Practices. An Analytical Framework. Journal of Computer-Mediated Communication, 12(4), article 13), we use the Twitter account also for scientific purposes, e.g. the observation of our case studies or for the feature analyses.
Januar 16th, 2013

2013: year of the JPub

Great project news at the start of the new year:

Start of the first print case study

Nearly having completed our first two case studies at TV-/online-media (Germany’s most popular daily newscast „Tagesschau“ as well as a weekly political talk show), we are very happy to announce that in February we will start our first case study in the print sector at a famous daily national newspaper and its online newsroom. Comparing audience expectations and participation in print and TV journalism will be an interesting task for 2013.

jpub 2.0 to present at the ICA 2013 in London

Yesterday we were informed that our submission for the ICA 2013 conference „Challenging Communication Research“ has been accepted. We hope you will be in London to hear our talk entitled „‚What is it good for? Absolutely nothing!?‘ Comparing attitudes and expectations of journalists and users towards audience participation in news journalism“.

Happy new year to you all, as well!



UPDATE: Our presentation slot at the #ica13 is scheduled for June 21, 12:00pm to 1:15pm, the session is entitled „Participatory Journalism: Reimagining the Role of Audiences and Journalists“. See y’all in London!

Juli 20th, 2012

Aus dem jpub20-Maschinenraum

Warum es hier zwischendurch immer so still ist? Weil wir mittendrin in zwei Fallstudien mit vielen einzelnen empirischen Modulen stecken. Mal ein kleiner Blick hinter die Kulissen, was gerade von uns bearbeitet wird:

Die Fallstudie zur Tagesschau biegt auf die Zielgerade der Feldphase ein. Die Leitfadeninterviews mit insgesamt zehn Mitarbeiter/innen, von der Leitungsebene bis zu den Multimedia-Assistenten, sind durchgeführt, genauso wie standardisierte Befragung unter den Redaktionsmitgliedern beendet ist. Für beide Module liegen erste Auswertungen schon vor, die wir nun in einen gemeinsamen Text integrieren. Auf Publikumsseite sind die Leitfadeninterviews fast abgeschlossen, und die standardisierte Befragung geht kommende Woche in den Pretest, sodass wir auch hier im Lauf des August (toi toi toi!) Daten vorliegen haben.

Die zweite Fallstudie, in der wir eine politische Talkshow der ARD untersuchen (aber vereinbart haben, den konkreten Namen nicht zu nennen), läuft ebenfalls bereits. Auch hier sind die Leitfadeninterviews mit den Mitarbeiter/innen der Redaktion geführt; für die Publikumsseite suchen wir noch Zuschauer/innen, die zu einem Interview bereit wären. Nach der Sommerpause werden wir dann die beiden standardisierten Befragungen abschließen und in die Auswertung einsteigen.

Parallel zu diesen Arbeiten haben wir Codepläne für eine kombinierte Inhalts-/Kommentaranalyse erstellt, mit der wir den Niederschlag von Publikumsbeteiligung im journalistischen Angebot erfassen werden. Für die Tagesschau befinden wir uns hierbei derzeit mitten in der Erhebung & Codierung; den Polittalk nehmen wir uns im Herbst vor.

Und bei all dem denken wir natürlich auch schon an mögliche Veröffentlichungen – den Auftakt wird ein Vortrag + paper über die Tagesschau-Fallstudie machen, den wir Anfang Oktober bei der Neo-Journalism-Konferenz in Brüssel vorstellen.

Das machen wir alles gerade… :-)

Juli 2nd, 2012

jpub20 part of international research network

Great news: The Netherlands Organisation for Research Funding NWO has approved an application for an international research network on „Understanding public participation: Journalism and democracy in a digital age“. Led by Tamara Witschge (Groningen University), the project will bring together various researchers from Groningen (Tamara Witschge, Chris Peters), Amsterdam (Irene Costera Meijer), Cardiff (Karin Wahl-Jorgensen, Andy Williams) and Hamburg (Wiebke Loosen, Jan-Hinrik Schmidt). Over the next two years, the network will develop a research agenda on the changes in mediatized participation and  its impact on journalism and democracy – we will keep you posted. [js]


April 16th, 2012

Artikel im Journalistik Journal erschienen & Teil 1 der Feldphase beendet

Erfreuliche Nachrichten und ein Lebenszeichen aus dem #jpub20-Projekt:

Ende März ist ein Artikel von Nele & Julius in der aktuellen Ausgabe des Journalistik Journals erschienen, nachzulesen auf der Webseite des Journals der TU Dortmund. Auch Wiebke hat, gemeinsam mit Thomas Birkner, einen historischen Aufriss zur Entwicklung von Beteiligungsformen sowie dem Wandel der Publikumsrolle vor und mit dem Aufkommen des Social Web zu dieser Ausgabe beigetragen.

Zum Hintergrund: das aktuelle Heft widmet sich dem thematischen Feld „Partizipativer Journalismus – Zwischen Wunsch und Wirklichkeit“ und wird folgendermaßen angeteasert:

Anspruch und Wirklichkeit des partizipativen Journalismus klaffen in Deutschland nach wie vor weit auseinander. Einerseits werden die Chancen, die die Einbindung von Rezipienten in die Medienarbeit mit sich bringt, kaum mehr bestritten. Andererseits lässt die tatsächliche Umsetzung partizipativer Elemente im redaktionellen Alltag noch viele Wünsche offen. Die neue Ausgabe des Journalistik Journals will den Status quo des Mitmach-Journalismus in all seinen Facetten beleuchten.

Zu den Autoren der allesamt lesenswerten Artikel gehören u.a. Sven Engesser, Wiebke Möhring und Thorsten Quandt.

Eine weitere gute Nachricht aus dem Projekt-Dschungel betrifft den ersten Teil unserer Feldphase bei der tagesschau. In der Woche vor Ostern fand nämlich das letzte Interview in der Redaktion der tagesschau statt. Insgesamt führten wir zehn interessante und spannende Gespräche, mit den Leitern der Off- und Online-Redaktion, CvDs aus dem TV- und Online-Bereich sowie Vertretern zweier neuer Rollengattungen: Social Media-Redakteure und so genannte Multi-Media-Assisten. Was genau diese machen, welche Erkenntnisse wir getroffen haben und was uns das alles über Publikumsinklusion bei der tagesschau sagt – dazu später mehr, hier im Projektblog.


Februar 25th, 2012

jpub 2.0 geht ins Feld – und zwar bei der Tagesschau

Endlich ist es soweit. Letzte Woche sind wir bei unserer ersten von sechs Fallstudien in die Feldphase eingetreten – und das gleich beim Flaggschiff des deutschen TV-Journalismus: der tagesschau!

Nun werden wir sehen, ob wir im Vorhinein genug gelesen, gegrübelt und unsere Erhebungsinstrumente getestet haben. Die ersten Leitfaden-Interviews jedenfalls liegen bereits hinter uns und sind sehr gut gelaufen. Am Ende werden wir mit den unterschiedlichsten Posten in der Redaktion der Nachrichtenendung und ihres Online-Pendants gesprochen haben: Chefredakteuren und strategischen Leitern, CvDs, Social-Media-Redakteuren und Community Managern. Anschließend folgt eine standardisierte Online-Befragung der gesamten TV- und Online-Redaktion, nebenbei laufen Inhaltsanalysen von TV-Sendung und Web-Angebot.

Und natürlich schauen wir ebenso genau auf die Publikumsseite, interviewen unterschiedlich aktive zu ihren Aktivitäten, Erwartungen und Motiven, starten eine Online-Umfrage unter ihnen und nehmen ihre Beiträge auf der Website und Facebook inhaltsanalytisch unter die Lupe. So hoffen wir, das Verhältnis von professionellem Journalismus und (sich beteiligendem) Publikum – zunächst für die Tagesschau – näher zu ergründen. [jr]