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Gefördert durch das DFG-Programm „Infrastruktur für elektronische Publikationen und digitale Wissenschaftskommunikation“

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A New Definition of Journalism Functions in the Framework of Hybrid Media Systems: German and Russian Academic Perspectives

Anna Litvinenko | PDF-Fulltext

Abstract: The communication patterns of our society have undergone crucial changes due to the development of the digital public sphere and the formation of ‘hybrid media systems’ (Chadwick 2011). This transformation challenges professional journalism in its role as the fourth estate. It is obviously essential to re-think the role and functions of mass media in the modern ‘network society’ (Castells, 2010). Some experts even talk about the end of the “century of journalism” (Weischenberg, 2010), and others argue that it is just the end of the 20th century’s news-journalism and the beginning of the new kind of professional journalism that will still be able to fulfill its core functions of building the public sphere, in accordance with the conditions of the transformed society (Pöttker, 2012). For conventional mass media that means a major switch from ‘news’-journalism to ‘orientation’ journalism (Bruns, 2005). This transformation has been intensified in Russia by the protest movement that fueled a discussion among journalists about new standards of journalism: should they just be observers or are they allowed and even supposed be activists of social movements? This paper examines what this paradigmatic shift means to the profession and to the self-identification of journalists as it is being viewed in Russia and in Germany. The author presents arguments of journalism scholars and journalists from both countries and argues that this development brings along a number of serious challenges for the society, connected with an enormous rise of opinion writing that leads journalists back to the era of pre-professional and pre-commercial journalism. In order to preserve journalism as a profession with socially important functions, a revision of the concept and of the standards of journalism is needed, both in Germany and in Russia.

Fragmentation and Polarization of the Public Sphere in the 2000s: Evidence from Italy and Russia

Svetlana S. Bodrunova | PDF-Fulltext

Abstract: After the Arab spring, direct linkage between growth of technological hybridization of media systems and political online-to-offline protest spill-overs seemed evident, at least in several aspects, as ‘twitter revolutions’ showed organizational potential of the mediated communication of today. But in de-facto politically transitional countries hybridization of media systems is capable of performing not just organizational but also ‘cultivational’ roles in terms of creating communicative milieus where protest consensus is formed, provoking spill-overs from expressing political opinions online to street protest.The two cases of Italy and Russia are discussed in terms of their non-finished process of transition to democracy and the media’s role within the recent political process. In the two cases, media-political conditions have called into being major cleavages in national deliberative space that may be conceptualized like formation of nation-wide public counter-spheres based upon alternative agenda and new means of communication. The structure and features of these counter-spheres are reconstructed; to check whether regional specifics are involved into the formation of this growing social gap, quantitative analysis of regional online news media (website menus) is conducted. Several indicators for spotting the formation of counter-spheres and criteria for further estimation of democratic quality of such counter-spheres are suggested.

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