In conversation with the authors
We are delighted to present an exciting and topical book to you today: “Krisendeutungen. Die aktuelle Mediendebatte um den öffentlich-rechtlichen Rundfunk” by Prof Dr Bertram Scheufele, Arietta Jost and Dr Klaus Spachmann.
In times of increasing discussions and controversial debates about public service broadcasting, this book is an important contribution to clarification and a differentiated discussion of this highly relevant topic. With the help of our author interview, immerse yourself in the analysis of typical crisis interpretations and find out which different perspectives are present in the current media debate.
In May, your book “Krisendeutungen. Die aktuelle Mediendebatte um den öffentlich-rechtlichen Rundfunk” was published in May. Is public service broadcasting in crisis?
“Media reports and user comments last summer may have given this impression. However, we approached the topic scientifically and first of all took a very sober view of public service broadcasting as an object of investigation. We were not interested in the crisis management of public service broadcasting or its internal crisis communication. We wanted to know which typical crisis assumptions are present in the current media debate about public service broadcasting. In other words, we did not answer the question of whether public service broadcasting is in crisis ourselves. Instead, we have analysed which answers to this question are typically present in the current media debate about public service broadcasting. And there are very different answers.”
You talk about crisis conjectures, what do you mean by that?
“The easiest way to explain this is with examples: One of the crisis interpretations is based on a legitimisation crisis of public service broadcasting, another crisis interpretation is based on a reform crisis. We were also able to identify different interpretations. For example, those who support the interpretation of a crisis of legitimacy emphasise that public service broadcasting is losing acceptance and credibility. Those who follow the first path of this crisis interpretation see the reason for this in the ‘left-green’ messages of public service broadcasting. Those who follow the second path of interpretation, on the other hand, believe that public broadcasting is losing legitimacy because its programmes focus too little on information and too much on entertainment. Crisis interpretations in the media debate can raise awareness of relevant discussion points, but can also be accompanied by shortcuts – for example, a very narrow interpretation of the actual basic service mandate.”
Who will benefit from the book? Who should definitely take a look?
“It’s not up to us who will benefit from the book. But anyone who is interested in public service broadcasting is welcome to take a look – regardless of whether they work in academia or journalism, are active in media policy or are an interested layperson. The book also systematises the approaches to public service broadcasting in communication and media studies. There are very different perspectives, in which we embed the typical crisis interpretations that we have identified in the media debate about public service broadcasting. Those who work in discourse analysis might be interested in our methodological approach.”