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Brueggemann, M., Esser, F., & Humprecht, E. (2012). The Strategic Repertoire of Publishers in the Media Crisis. Journalism Studies, 13, 742-752.

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Germany could be considered a deviant case in the comparative study of the current transformations in media markets as publishers continue to be profitable despite painting a gloomy picture of the possibility of there being a “media crisis.” What is specific about the German case is the strong economic position and political lobbying of the publisher associations. Combining different sources of primary and secondary data, this article investigates five strategies of crisis management (“the five Cs”): media companies may react to the current changes by cutting down costs and creating new products. They may further try to influence the general framework conditions by complaining about their plight in public (discursive strategy), taking competitors to court (legal strategy) and wooing politicians through lobbying and campaigning (political strategy). The article concludes that the sustainable provision of journalistic value benefits the most from creative, productive strategies.
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THE STRATEGIC REPERTOIRE OF
PUBLISHERS IN THE MEDIA CRISIS
Michael Brüggemann, Frank Esser & Edda Humprecht
Version of record first published: 22 Mar 2012.
To cite this article: Michael Brüggemann, Frank Esser & Edda Humprecht (2012): THE STRATEGIC
REPERTOIRE OF PUBLISHERS IN THE MEDIA CRISIS, Journalism Studies, 13:5-6, 742-752
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THE STRATEGIC REPERTOIRE OF
PUBLISHERS IN THE MEDIA CRISIS
The ‘‘Five C’’ scheme in Germany
Michael Bru
¨ggemann, Frank Esser, and Edda Humprecht
Germany could be considered a deviant case in the comparative study of the current
transformations in media markets as publishers continue to be profitable despite painting a
gloomy picture of the possibility of there being a ‘‘media crisis.’’ What is specific about the German
case is the strong economic position and political lobbying of the publisher associations.
Combining different sources of primary and secondary data, this article investigates five strategies
of crisis management (‘‘the five Cs’’): media companies may react to the current changes by
cutting down costs and creating new products. They may further try to influence the general
framework conditions by complaining about their plight in public (discursive strategy), taking
competitors to court (legal strategy) and wooing politicians through lobbying and campaigning
(political strategy). The article concludes that the sustainable provision of journalistic value
benefits the most from creative, productive strategies.
KEYWORDS crisis management; ‘‘Five C’’ scheme; Germany; ‘‘media crisis’’; media markets
Introduction
Public and academic discourse on the transformation of the media landscape
follows transnationally similar patterns although the underlying empirical realities differ
substantially. The German case is particular because a number of important contextual
factors have kept the market position of newspaper publishers comparatively stable (see
Esser and Bru
¨ggemann, 2010). Another specific factor concerning German publishers is
their highly professionalized approach to advocacy and lobbying at national and European
levels. Relying on expert interviews, original case studies and secondary data analysis, this
article investigates the crisis-management strategies of individual publishing groups and
their industry associations.
Conceptual Framework
The strategies of German publishers can be analytically divided into five types that
may be referred to as the ‘‘5 Cs’’: cutting,creating,complaining,campaigning and going to
court (see Figure 1). The first two strategies concern the internal reactions of media
organizations, the other three their external relations with the public, politicians and
competitors. Faced with dwindling revenue streams from their traditional business, a
publisher’s reaction may be to ‘‘cut’’ costs, resources and editorial operations. A second
strategy (employed instead or in tandem) may be to ‘‘create’’ new offers, for instance by
launching new editorial products, modernizing existing ones or by expanding into new
Journalism Studies, Vol. 13, Nos 56, 2012, 742752
ISSN 1461-670X print/1469-9699 online
#2012 Taylor & Francis http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/1461670X.2012.664336
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business areas. Furthermore, media companies may employ discursive strategies*usually
by ‘‘complaining’’ about the plight of the industry in the wake of the ongoing crisis. This
strategy is designed to frame public discourse about the crisis in self-interested terms, on
occasion to legitimize simultaneous cutting measures, at others to support political
lobbying strategies. Lobbying is part of the fourth strategy which is called ‘‘campaigning.’’
It is designed to influence the drafting of regulation or formulation of policy through
relationship management, policy advice and expert opinion. Finally, the legal strategy
(taking matters to ‘‘court’’) usually manifests itself in the form of publishers pressing
charges against new competitors to prevent them from entering their market.
These strategies impact on journalistic production within media organizations. We
conceive of media organizations as self-interested actors that have historically been trusted
with the provision of journalistic value. We thus distinguish between media organizations as
the exterior structure, and the journalistic value created by trained professionals within them.
We understand journalistic value as the product of a set of practices that are cherished by
society for providing reliable information about relevant public matters, for providing a
pluralistic forum receptive of diverse viewpoints, and for holding the powerful accountable
(Schudson, 2008). Journalistic value is a public good that has never been able to find
customers willing to pay for the true costs necessary for providing this good persistently and
at a reliable quality (Baker, 2002; Hamilton, 2004). Historically, the provision of journalistic
value had to be always cross-financed by selling advertisements or by public subsidies or both
(Picard, 2010). In the past, media organizations had developed business models that paid for
the infrastructure needed to produce this journalistic value at relatively high profit margins.
Analytically it is important to distinguish between this historically contingent
organizational framework (with specific ownership and funding structures) and the
institution of journalism that might survive in other forms too. Some form of stable
organization will, however, be indispensable for securing the permanent provision of
journalistic value. The activities of lay crowds and citizen reporters may produce
journalistic value in certain situations. But in the long run such amateur journalism
without a professional and organizational base is not in a position to meet societys
legitimate expectations and will raise uncertainties about long-term news capacity,
editorial quality control and internal accountability structures.
Existing media organizations are affected by shifts in readership and advertising
revenues to different degrees. The perception of these shifts as ‘‘crisis-driven’’ depends a
good deal on the size of profit margins media managers have come to expect. Different
ownership structures and corporate cultures lead to different degrees of profit-orientation.
Crisis management strategies of media organizations
Intra-organizational reactions Extra-organizational reactions
Cutting Creating Complaining Campaigning
Going to Court
Reducing
costs and
services
Adding and
modernizing
products and
services
Instrumentalizing
public(ized) crisis
discourse
Interest-
representation
through
political
lobbying and
mobilization
Fighting
controversial
rival offerings
in court
Impact on the sustainable provision of journalistic value
FIGURE 1
Five crisis management strategies
‘‘FIVE C’’ SCHEME IN GERMANY 743
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Media organizations driven by the stock market are less likely to tolerate low profits and to
invest in long-term plans than media organizations with other forms of ownership (Picard
and van Weezel, 2008). Private ownership, it must be pointed out, comes in different
shapes depending on the corporate culture and business principles set by the respective
owners. Whether media organizations saved capital in good times to survive bad ones or
whether they react to falling advertising revenues by slashing journalistic resources is
determined by corporate culture. These differences at the organizational level are crucial
to understanding why newspapers respond differently to the current changes.
Research Questions and Data
Within our conceptual framework that distinguishes five types of strategy and
differentiates between journalistic value and organizational context, we will explore how
German publishers react to the current changes in the media sphere. We will address two
research questions: (1) How do publishers make use of the intra-organizational strategies
described in Figure 1 to remain profitable and relevant? (2) How do publishers make use of
the extra-organizational strategies to influence the public, politicians and competitors? In
the concluding section, we will evaluate these strategies with respect to the sustained
provision of journalistic value.
In addition to a secondary analysis of relevant documents, the primary data for this
article were gathered via eight semi-structured interviews with policy-makers from
government, industry, and trade associations so as to capture the policy debates, and
with corporate actors and media experts to gain insights in four news organizations
selected for case study analyses.
1
The Changing Business Model of the Press in Germany
In contrast to the United States (Downie and Schudson, 2009), newspapers in
Germany have not closed down as part of recent transformations. Nonetheless, the
Federation of German Newspaper Publishers (BDZV) never tires of pointing out that the
press faces an increasingly difficult situation. For a long time the print editions of
newspapers have been gradually losing readers (see Figure 2). Since the all-time high in
the year 2000, advertising revenues have been falling, albeit with ups and downs following
the economic cycle. In 2010 the German economy was picking up again but the
newspaper industry continued to lose advertising revenues until, for the first time,
television collected more advertising expenses than print (BDZV, 2011a).
However, it should also be noted that newspapers remain by far the most important
news source after television. In authoritative surveys (Allensbacher Markt- und Werbe-
tra¨geranalyse, AWA) half of all Germans report having read a newspaper the previous day
to be informed about current affairs. Only every fifth German used the Internet for this
purpose (Sommer, 2011). Furthermore, daily newspapers (together with public television)
enjoy far higher levels of trust than online media, commercial radio or commercial
television (van Eimeren and Ridder, 2011). Credibility is probably the most important asset
in the emerging multimedia environment. High levels of trust are combined with a
willingness among German media users to pay higher rates for newspaper subscriptions.
As Figure 3 shows, the overall revenues from sales are increasing while circulation is falling.
744 MICHAEL BRU
¨GGEMANN ET AL.
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Fewer newspapers are sold at a higher price. At the same time, the overall audience reach
including for online products is much higher than in the pre-Internet age. Despite all the
difficulties, German newspapers remain attractive to advertisers and still generate profits.
The national quality press is doing fairly well with relatively stable numbers of
subscribers. Weekly and Sunday newspapers are doing even better and are expanding
their circulation. At the same time the tabloid press is losing street sales and the regional
press is losing subscriptions. For some regional papers, it has been a rude awakening from
a long over-comfortable monopoly situation in which they had grown complacent. The
national news market has always been more competitive with a large number of daily and
weekly broadsheet papers and generously-financed public broadcasters all offering high-
quality journalism. Nevertheless, projections show that if the current trends in the
advertising market, reader market and newspaperscost structure continue unchanged,
the German newspaper industry will accumulate a deficit of more than two billion euros
FIGURE 2
Newspaper circulation in Germany (number of copies). Source: IVW (2011, II quarter/year)
FIGURE 3
Sales and advertising revenues (euro in millions). Sources: BDZV (2011a) and Media
Perspektiven (2010)
‘‘FIVE C’’ SCHEME IN GERMANY 745
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by the year 2018 (Kolo, 2011). Doing nothing and enjoying the relative profits while they
last is therefore not a sustainable strategy for publishers.
There are only two basic options for staying profitable: cut costs or open up new
revenue streams. For many publishers, it seems fair to say that the default option has been
to lower costs. Already the first press ‘‘crisis’’ of 2001 served as an incentive to rationalize
production and distribution so that administrative and printing costs are considerably
lower today than 10 years ago (BDZV, 2011a). Unfortunately, for the sake of providing
journalistic value, many publishers also reduced the journalistic workforce. The number of
full-time journalists fell between 1993 and 2005 from 54,000 to 48,000 (Weischenberg
et al., 2006). More up-to-date figures are available for the subgroup of daily newspaper
journalists, showing a decrease from 15,000 in 2000 to 13,000 in 2010 (BDZV, 2011a). This
fall of 13 per cent is modest compared to the 30 per cent in the United States (Pew, 2011)
but is nevertheless worrying in the face of a growing public relations workforce. A measure
by German publishers that was abandoned after months of protests and strikes was the
attempt to cut the starting salary by about one-quarter, which would have made the
profession even less attractive.
Case Studies: Intra-organizational Responses to Market Transformations
The aggregate figures and general statements about ‘‘the publishers’’ in this article
should not blur the differences in the approaches of different publishing houses. We
examined four large German media companies*Axel Springer, Westdeutsche Allgemeine
Zeitung Group (WAZ), Spiegel Group and Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung (FAZ)*that
represent different types of strategy in dealing with the current challenges. Figure 4
illustrates the variation in size of the four companies. It shows that some of them are
growing despite all the gloomy talk while others are indeed shrinking.
Axel Springer is Germanys largest publishing house and owns more than 240
newspapers and journals in 36 countries. It spent the last six years investing in news
FIGURE 4
Revenue of selected German media companies (euro in millions). Sources: Elektronischer
Bundesanzeiger (2011) and Institut fu
¨r Medien- und Kommunikationspolitik (2011)
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¨GGEMANN ET AL.
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content online and offline as well as in online portals for classified ads and online
marketing (e.g., by acquiring Zanox). It now generates 30 per cent of its turnover with
digital businesses. Springer remained profitable even in the crisis year of 2009 and is back
to a profit margin of about 10 per cent in 2010 (Elektronischer Bundesanzeiger, 2011;
Institut fu
¨r Medien- und Kommunikationspolitik, 2011).
Whereas Springers proactive strategy has won it a reputation as a successful
Internet-savvy powerhouse, the image of the WAZ has become more tainted. It is one of
Europes largest regional newspaper chains with 27 dailies, 175 magazines and 99 free
sheets. When profits of the German-based papers fell, 260 journalists were laid off and
regional offices closed down to save 30 million euros*at the cost of diversity and in-
depth coverage. While the circulation continues to shrink, new weblogs are thriving in its
market eager to fill the gap left by the thinner local coverage of the WAZ papers. The
strategy seems much more reactive, primarily targeted at securing profits (the profit
margin in 2009 was still at 3 per cent in 2009; see Elektronischer Bundesanzeiger, 2011) at
the expense of providing journalistic value.
Germanys leading weekly news magazine, Der Spiegel, gained importance through
investigative reporting, and lately by becoming the nations online news leader. Spiegel is
owned 50 per cent by its employees, 25 per cent by the founders family foundation and
25 per cent by the publisher Gruner & Jahr. When most newspapers in the 1990s remained
hesitant about investing in a strong Web presence for fear of self-cannibalization, Spiegel
set up a fully-fledged, independently organized online newsroom in 1995 and quickly
became market leader by winning new audiences beyond the readership of the printed
magazine. The success of Spiegel Online was a combination of early market entry, sharp
and fast reporting, and a clear business model based on advertising and weak competition
(Meyer-Lucht, 2005).
The FAZ, Germanys leading elite daily paper, has been much slower to invest online.
The paper is well respected for its serious political, international, economic and cultural
coverage but only just breaks even. It is owned by the FAZIT foundation which is also
active in other business areas (like higher education programmes) and secures the papers
independence from immediate profit expectations. Thanks to the financially healthy FAZIT
foundation, the introduction of a very profitable Sunday paper and an extremely strong
brand reputation, the paper is getting through cyclical downturns by focusing on its core
business (printed papers) and limiting itself to an elegant but restrained website.
With respect to intra-organizational strategies (see RQ1), we find in all four
publishing houses a mix of cutting and creating. The WAZ has focused most clearly on
cost cutting. Spiegel and FAZ have been creative, with Spiegel more so online and FAZ
offline. Springer has expanded strongly into non-journalistic fields from where profits can
partly be used to cross-finance news operations.
Extra-organizational Strategies to Represent the PublishersInterests
The above case studies illustrate different intra-organizational strategies, and we
now turn to the extra-organizational strategies targeted at influencing public opinion,
politics and the competition.
The discursive strategies serve the publishers in ‘‘going public’’ with their motives
and concerns. They wish to emphasize to politicians that the press is a democratic
‘‘FIVE C’’ SCHEME IN GERMANY 747
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institution worth preserving and to advertisers that the press is still an ideal medium for
publicity and promotional purposes. The news coverage of the media crisis in their papers
calls attention to the troubles of the newspaper industry and accentuates, and at times
dramatizes, the need for policy changes. In other instances this crisis reporting may help
explain increases in cover prices or subscription rates, or help legitimize cuts in editorial
staff or content. Publisher associations are in a privileged position for framing the public
discourse about the media crisis as its members have ample editorial space at their
disposal. We therefore refer to the strategic framing of the crisis discourse as calculated
‘‘complaining’’*knowing full well that only a portion of the published crisis discourse falls
clearly into this category.
One of the duties of the BDZV and the Association of German Magazine Publishers
(VDZ) is to arrange opportunities for their members to discuss their situation in public and
socialize with influential policy-makers, such as German chancellor Angela Merkel.
Interest representation in the field of media policy also includes legal action (going to
court). Currently, eight leading publishing houses are suing the first public broadcasting
channel ARD for providing too much press-style text on its ‘‘Tagesschau App’’, a smart
phone application named after ARDs flagship television news bulletin. The publishers argue
that it is effectively a digital newspaper with only loose relation to the broadcasts whereas
ARD claims that the app does not offer any genuine content besides what is already
published elsewhere on its websites. During the first hearing the judge suggested that both
parties should seek an agreement out of court rather than pulling the proceedings through
the courts. In another recent dispute several newspapers took the small Web portal
Perlentaucher to court for offering summaries of book reviews published by newspapers.
These court cases show that publishers are fighting two types of perceived
competitors online. First, public broadcasting has become a direct competitor as a
growing number of regional and national public TV and radio stations offer news free-of-
charge on a myriad of websites. Second, Internet enterprises like Google, Apple and a
number of much smaller players have become competitors because they entice
advertising (Google) and sales revenue (iTunes/Apple) from traditional outlets.
In the case of Apple, the publishers entertain a ‘‘lovehate relationship’’ (as Mathias
Do¨pfner, CEO of Axel Springer Group, put it; Boldt, 2011). On the one hand, they are
excited about the opportunity to sell digital newspaper subscriptions to iPad and iPhone
users but, on the other, they are angry with Apple for cutting out a commission of 30 per
cent and having control over the customer data and the content distributed.
The bigger battle, though, is with Google. German publishers are demanding that it
shares the revenues derived from using editorial content produced by the traditional
media companies (‘‘fair share’’). They are also asking for ‘‘fair search’’ as Google
presumably favours its own websites in search results at the expense of sites from other
sources. The publishers have complained about this to the European Commission and to
the German Antitrust Office (BDZV, 2011b).
German publishersmove to reinforce their rights goes beyond the national level. An
example of the transnationalisation of their political lobbying tactics is the ‘‘Hamburg
declaration’’, which strongly advocates ‘‘urgent improvements in the protection of
intellectual property on the Internet’’ (Axel Springer, 2009). Initiated by the Germans, it
meanwhile carries 166 signatures from publishers from all across Europe.
The background to this move is the publishersdemand to introduce a neighbour-
ing right as an extension of existing copyright that would require Web aggregators like
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¨GGEMANN ET AL.
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Google News to compensate content providers for any commercial use of published
material online. This could be done against payment of a licence fee to a special collecting
agency. Private, non-commercial use of news articles would remain unrestricted. The idea
has been criticised by free-Internet advocates and many questions about how it could
work in practice are still unresolved but the German government has promised that it will
include a neighbouring right into the current overhaul of the German copyright law.
The second strand of lobbying is aimed at containing the expansion of public
broadcasting activities online. In conjunction with the German Association of Private
Broadcasters (VPRT), the print publishers filed a complaint with the European Commission
which asked the German policy-makers to clarify the role of broadcasting online.
This resulted in the introduction of a three-step public value test for digital media
incorporated into the 2008 revision of the German Interstate Broadcasting Treaty
(Rundfunkstaatsvertrag). Policy-makers drew up a list of activities no longer to be pursued
online by public service broadcasters (for instance, carrying event guides). Most
importantly, the treaty requires all online content to be related to actually-broadcasted
programmes and not to be ‘‘press-like’’ in nature. All websites were evaluated with respect
to the public value generated and to the potentially negative effects on competitors
taking into account external expertise. The result was a time- and cost-consuming process
that was completed in 2010*and left every party unsatisfied: the BDZV complained about
a biased ‘‘test’’ procedure that waved through absolutely every offering, and the public
broadcasters were disappointed about eliminating 80 per cent of their content online,
mostly archived material and thematic dossiers, once they had passed a new one-week
default time after the related programme had been aired (BDZV, 2011a; Staatskanzlei
Rheinland-Pfalz, 2011). The external opinions commissioned in the process had
predominately argued that the online services of the public broadcasters did not have
the effect of disturbing the respective market (Woldt, 2011, p. 74).
Public broadcaster ARD prefers a more co-operative approach in the current climate.
In 2008 it offered ‘‘partnerships for journalistic value’’ (Qualita¨tspartnerschaften) which
would allow publishers to use public broadcasting materials on their websites. In 2011
ARD set up, together with commercial broadcasters, a so-called ‘‘Content Alliance’’,
which*much like the Hamburg Declaration initiated by the publishers*urged policy-
makers to improve legal protection for those producing cultural content in the digital
market. It appears that the decisive battle line now runs between content-producers, on
the one hand, and mere distributors and platform providers, on the other. The newspaper
publishers have so far refused to join this Content Alliance and decided to maintain their
combative line against the public broadcasters.
The Way Ahead: The Sustainable Preservation of Journalistic Value
So far, the overall majority of publishing houses still enjoy a comparatively
comfortable situation but have nonetheless established well-organized lobby initiatives
that have found a political environment receptive to many of their demands.
Our analysis of the publishersreactions to the changing media landscape identified
different approaches to defend their market position. While Spiegel Group has invested in
journalistic quality and won new audiences and revenues online, the WAZ as a regional
newspaper chain has focused on centralizing production and reducing costs. Springer
‘‘FIVE C’’ SCHEME IN GERMANY 749
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expands into all possible directions in the digital market so that revenues from other
sources compensate losses in the news field. And the FAZ focuses on its core business of
providing high-quality journalism that is mainly distributed and sold offline. We thus
encounter publishers who focus reactively on cost-cutting (WAZ), whereas others invest
proactively in innovations online (Springer, Spiegel) or offline (FAZ). This shows that there
are different ways to survive in the new media environment, but some are more short-
sighted like that of the WAZ which reduces regional diversity despite localism being the
main asset of the brand. Spiegel displays the only strategy that is focused on creating new
journalistic value online with the website offering fast, sharp and rich news reporting while
the printed weekly magazine continues to focus on investigation and critical analysis. Both
Spiegel and Springer have demonstrated how a bold, diversified approach with early
investments in the online world can pay off eventually. The FAZ has meanwhile
demonstrated how its successfully launched Sunday paper has filled a widely overlooked
gap in the traditional market and that real money is still be earned outside the Internet.
Our analysis also provides evidence for our theoretical assumption that the type of
corporate culture and media ownership strongly influences media crisis perceptions and
reactions. Two of the companies that focus their investments on creating journalistic value
(Spiegel and FAZ) have alternative forms of media ownership (employee ownership and a
foundation). The strategy of Springer to cross-finance journalism through profits in other
areas is typical for a company that has a legacy of not only being interested in maximizing
profits but also of pursuing a journalistic ‘‘mission’’. Investors who are exclusively
interested in maximizing profits will likely withdraw from journalistic media organizations
in times of shrinking revenues (Picard, 2008). Ironically, for journalism this may actually be
good news if (if) there are enough new owners interested in financing journalistic value.
Should this not be the case media policy may need to step in though thus far there is no
indication that the German media market needs immediate policy interventions.
The main goals of the lobbying strategies of the publishers are to enforce stricter
limits to the online activities of public broadcasters and to extend the copyright law vis-a
`-
vis the news aggregation services of Internet firms. Of the three extra-organizational
strategies employed by publishers, the discursive approach is used to frame public
discourse on the media ‘‘crisis’’ in ways that are more reflective of their particular interests
than of the still relatively comfortable facts. Legal measures are used to squeeze out new
competitors, and political lobbying to influence potential changes to the regulatory
framework conditions at the national and international level.
It is interesting to note that German publishersextra-organizational strategies
of crisis management seem to be more orchestrated and unified than their intra-
organizational strategies. The latter is illustrated not only by our case studies but also by
the fact that a common approach toward introducing a universal micro-payment system for
paying online or purchasing newspapers at a shared digital news stand are still lacking.
To evaluate these strategies we return to the distinction of media organizations and
journalistic value. All intra- and extra-organizational strategies discussed so far are
legitimate attempts to prevail in the market and make ones interests heard but must
not necessarily contribute to providing journalistic value. Cutting journalistsjobs or
reducing journalistsentry salaries seems rather detrimental to it. Other strategies like the
lobbying-induced change of the interstate broadcast treaty have had questionable side-
effects. Erasing millions of public affairs documents doubtlessly curtails the ideal of a rich
environment for political information. It is hard to see how blocking free access to the
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¨GGEMANN ET AL.
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news archives of public broadcasters should help the newspaper publishers economically.
The US example shows that in media systems without strong public broadcasting the
press may still not be better off. In our view, a more co-operative way of meeting the
challenges of the new digital media age would be desirable but this would require a
change in the publisherslegal strategies. Perhaps, if the publishers were able to agree on
more unified strategies in matters such as the introduction of micro-payment models or a
digital news stand they could afford to pursue their political and legal strategies less
doggedly.
ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS
We would like to thank all those we interviewed for of fering their time and expertise. We
are also grateful for the valuable input from our colleagues in Zurich: Otfried Jarren,
Manuel Puppis, Matthias Ku
¨nzler, Pascal Zwicky and Florian Saurwein.
NOTE
1. Experts interviewed were Jan Marc Eumann (State Secretary in the Ministry of Federal
Affairs, European Affairs and Media), Kajo Do¨hring (General Secretary of the German
Association of Journalists, DJV), Anja Pasquay (Spokesperson of the Federation of
German Newspaper Publishers, BDZV), Sabine Nehls (Media Policy Advisor of the German
Trade Union Confederation, DGB), Katharina Borchert (CEO of Spiegel Online), Christoph
Keese (Managing Director Public Affairs of Axel Springer), Stefan Laurin (journalist and
blogger at the news website Ruhrbarone), Andreas Tazl (Head of Communications at
Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, FAZ).
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752 MICHAEL BRU
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... Aber auch für die Organisation und die Gesellschaft als Ganzes ergeben sich aus dieser Kommunikationspraxis eine ganze Reihe von Konflikten, die allesamt entlang der Bruchlinie zwischen Partikularinteresse und Gemeinwohl strukturiert sind. Diese Interessenkonflikte können mithilfe der organisationalen Rollentheorie (Katz und Kahn 1978) abgebildet und erfasst werden und anhand von Steinmann et al. (1993) (Brüggemann et al. 2012), welche sich im Bedeutungsverlust zentraler Gatekeeper für die Arenen der Öffentlichkeit ausdrückt. Diese Krisen haben zwei Ursachen: Einerseits begann mit Entwicklung und Aufstieg von user generated content eine neue Ära der öffentlichen Kommunikation, in welcher das Publikum zunehmend selbst die Inhalte produziert, über welche es kommuniziert (Daugherty et al. 2008). ...
Chapter
Bei der Anwendung von Big Data in der Public Relations (PR) werden Kommunikator*innen mit zahlreichen ethischen Herausforderungen konfrontiert. Werte aus unterschiedlichen Bereichen können bei Entscheidungen zur genauen Ausgestaltung der datenbasierten Kommunikation in Konflikt geraten und erschweren eine ethische Entscheidungsfindung. Gerade bei Nichtregierungsorganisationen (NGOs), die besonderen gesellschaftlichen Erwartungen ausgesetzt sind, spielt die Wahrnehmung von unterschiedlichen Wertvorstellungen eine bedeutende Rolle. Die bisherige PR-Forschung bietet dazu jedoch nur wenige Anknüpfungspunkte. Der folgende Beitrag stellt ein Identifikationsschema für Wertkonflikte in der PR in Anlehnung an Bommer et al. (1987) vor und verdeutlicht dieses am Beispiel von Wertkonflikten im Rahmen der Anwendung von Big Data in der PR von NGOs. Die Identifizierungen von Werten aus diversen Umfeldern sowie die Systematisierung von Wertkonflikten im Rahmen der individuellen ethischen Entscheidungsfindung stellt einen entscheidenden Schritt zur Erforschung und Bewältigung von ethischen Herausforderungen in der PR dar.
... This required ZDF and ARD to delete (de-publish) specific online content after this period. Furthermore, following complaints from publisher associations (Brüggemann, Esser, & Humprecht, 2012) the ZDFheute and Tagesschau apps had to contain overwhelmingly audiovisual content at the expense of textual content. The 19 th amendment to the RÄStV, which came into force on 1 October 2016, allows for exemptions from these rules for funk, ZDF and ARD's innovative youth offer, whose implementation has been conceived as a milestone in positioning German PSMs in the digital environment. ...
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Public service media organisations manage the challenges they face as they transition to a converged environment by innovating in the areas of distribution, programming, and engagement. Many commercial media companies critique public service innovation and argue that it is ‘crowding out’ the private market. Focusing on public service media organisations in Germany and Australia, this article examines the relationship between innovation, regulation and resilience. We argue that while the Australian model of innovation performs a vital role for the domestic media industry, it does not always contribute to the long-term resilience of individual innovations brought out by the Australian Broadcasting Corporation. Conversely, while innovation is hamstrung by layers of bureaucracy in Germany, once innovations developed by Second German Television are legally approved, they operate in a relatively uncontested manner. To explain the findings, we propose a comparative framework consisting of four factors: size, public/private divide, regulatory frameworks and legal traditions.
... The newspaper industry has been, mostly due to fierce competition from the rapidly growing Internet advertising industry, without doubt in a constant state of change since the year 2000, even to the extent that its very existence has been jeopardized, and is therefore believed to be an appropriate choice for this case study in terms of contextual dynamics (Brüggemann et al., 2012;Pasquay, 2010). Further, a newspaper publishing house was believed to harbor a rich set of MW constructs, due to its constitutional mandate, which adds an institutional aspect to the context in which its employees have to engage in, which is often not present in other private industries (Graber & Dunaway, 2017). ...
Thesis
Full-text available
Extant research shows that the meaningfulness of work (MW), as experienced by organizational members, contributes to productivity and other organizational goals in significant ways. However, extant MW research relies on one-dimensional (i.e., functionalist) psychological and sociological perspectives, understanding MW as inherent in mental states that are experienced when work satisfies the needs of employees, or as inherent in the structure of social systems. But meaning is not inherent in phenomena, it is socially constructed. Accordingly, extant MW literature is ontologically and epistemologically incomplete because a one-dimensional functionalist, and therewith reductionist perspective, disregards the social interaction (intersubjective) dimension of MW, and it does not take into account what can be known about MW. This qualitative case study investigates empirically the social construction of Meaningful Work (MW) in organizations, applying an inductive approach. Using a constructionist perspective, a mid-size publishing house in Germany was examined. Data was collected with the help of open-ended and semi-structured interview questions and organizational texts. The insights from the study allow to explain how the participants reconstructed meaningful work by drawing from the social order of their society. In their interaction with the researcher the participants reflected in the logics of the institutions to which they had been socialized, derived teleologies from institutional cognitions, associated functions for the implementation of such teleologies, and acted accordingly. As a result, meaningful work can be understood as a social construction, which emerges in multi-faceted contexts through institutional cognitions in social interaction. The contribution of the study consists in a comprehensive understanding of the nature of MW, and it provides an innovative methodology for the investigation of the social construction of MW.
... Costs can be cut by centralising departments and, in the case of news itself, publishing fewer regional newspaper editions (Franklin 2014), thereby also requiring fewer working journalists, and cutting coverage of certain beats all together. As demonstrated by scholars before, a regional newspaper which has a national newspaper operating in literally the same room for instance will see its own developed foreign news beat eventually cut, as commercial pressures may result in a homogenisation of content, offering a limited scope of "more of the same" (Picard 2010;Brüggemann, Esser, and Humprecht 2012) and the commercialisation of media markets, combined with competition for audience attention and advertising revenue, has negatively affected news content (McManus 2009). Cutting the foreign news beat of one newspaper immediately makes it fully dependent on another newspaper to fill its void. ...
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Full-text available
In this paper, I present the results of an in-depth content analysis of over 12,000 print and online articles of four Flemish newspapers belonging to the same media corporation, Mediahuis, carried out between February 2018 and May 2019. I assess the degree in which articles are being recycled across the four different titles and find that news diversity is significantly lower online than in print. These results are contextualised through findings from an ethnographical observation study within the newsroom of the leading Mediahuis newspaper, which took place simultaneously with the quantitative analysis. I pinpoint five key drivers which facilitate the recycling of news content across titles on a daily basis and find that the attempts of the Mediahuis newspapers to adopt the “digital first”-approach are hampered by the lack of a sustainable business model for online news. I conclude that while there are viable economic arguments to justify the recycling of news content, it is not defendable from a journalistic perspective, as it erodes news diversity with possible negative effects for society and democracy, particularly in small and highly concentrated media markets.
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News diversity is an important concern of journalism scholars, as its presence or absence can have a profound effect on democratic debate and the information available to citizens. Many have speculated that news diversity decreases over time, due to changing economic circumstances. This expectation especially applies to newspapers. Using nearly two decades of newspaper data from four European countries (Denmark, The Netherlands, Norway, UK), we do not find this expected decrease in news diversity. When conducting pairwise, automated comparisons between articles published on the same day in the same country, we rather find a modest over time increase in diversity between newspapers. This result suggests that newspapers differentiate rather than converge in the content they offer, shedding a more positive light on the evolution of the press in our current high-choice media environments.
Chapter
Die Digitalisierung verändert den Werbemarkt strukturell und damit die wichtigste Einnahmequelle der privaten Medien. Obwohl der gesamte Werbemarkt in der Schweiz über die Jahre stabil blieb, haben sich die Werbemarktanteile zwischen den einzelnen Mediengattungen massiv verschoben. Insbesondere hat die Tagespresse ein Grossteil ihrer Werbeeinnahmen verloren, während verschiedene Onlinewerbeformen hohe Wachstumsraten vorweisen konnten. In Anbetracht dieser Situation erwarten u. a. medienpolitische Akteure von den Medienunternehmen eine verstärkte Innovationsfähigkeit zur Transformation der Erlösmodelle. Eine solche Substitution von Pressewerbung durch Onlinewerbung ohne Auswirkungen auf den Journalismus ist jedoch nicht möglich – was der Beitrag auf der Grundlage der Analyse des Werbemarkts und strategischer Massnahmen von schweizerischen Medienunternehmen aufzeigt.
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The digital transformation of traditional broadcasting is of particular interest to media scholars worldwide. In Russia, terrestrial broadcasting that has in recent decades dominated the national media system with large audiences and attracting the major advertisers has been affected by digitalization of the national media industry, the rapid growth of the internet and the shift of young audiences to social media. This has resulted in new tensions and growing uncertainties in the Russian broadcast market forcing broadcasters to reshape traditional strategies under pressures of digitalization. The study analyses visions of online strategies for Russian broadcasting companies in the context of ongoing industrial changes. Based on the data from semi-structured interviews with senior managers of the leading Russian broadcasting companies, who discussed the digital practices of their companies. The authors argue that Russia’s audiovisual media companies are currently going through the initial stage of digital transformation. The transformation process has slowed, because media managers have to make decisions under extremely high market uncertainty resulting from changes in the advertising market and in media regulation. Also, broadcasters continue to view the state as an important source of financial support, especially during the digital switchover in 2009–2019. The high level of the state control in the Russian media business has resulted in the high market concentration rate and deceleration of the technological development thus threatening traditional business model, especially in the television market. Yet, digital products created and disseminated by Russian broadcasters on the digital platforms are still perceived by television managers as supplements to traditional broadcasting. The same is true of the internal working processes in broadcasting companies in which digital departments often remain small and are not fully integrated in the corporate managerial system. Moreover direct financial effects of the digitalization are estimated as low. But many broadcast managers consider digitalization and creation of new business models are inevitable, though companies have still not elaborated holistic online strategies and continue to develop online activities under their own momentum.
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An analysis of newspaper industries in their national contexts exhibits strategic clusters of similar challenges, imposed by digital transformation and socio-economic change. While growth of media in general, newspaper reach, and Internet penetration are dominant factors framing the prosperity of newspaper publishing, dynamics of digital revenues from advertising and circulation still vary substantially also within such clusters. Only in very few countries, publishers achieve to collectively combine (still) growing overall revenues with advanced digital transformation.
Article
Full-text available
Am 1. Mai 2019 ist der 22. Rundfunkänderungsstaatsvertrag in Kraft getreten. Eine wesentliche Neuerung bildet die Neufassung von § 11d RÄStV. Dieser verbietet es öffentlich-rechtlichen Telemedienangebote künftig grundsätzlich, „presseähnlich“ zu sein, also nach Gestaltung und Inhalt Zeitungen oder Zeitschriften zu entsprechen. Bei den Verhandlungen zwischen Öffentlich-Rechtlichen und Verlagen spielte die Perspektive der Nutzer*innen, deren Akzeptanz die Basis für die Legitimität des öffentlich-rechtlichen (Online)-Angebots bildet, gegenüber ökonomischen Motiven offenbar eine untergeordnete Rolle. Dieser Beitrag nimmt die jüngste Einigung daher zum Anlass, 1.) Nutzer*innenpräferenzen, Nutzer*innenverhalten und Informationsverarbeitung im Kontext von Online-Nachrichtenangeboten gegenüberzustellen, um anschließend 2.) medienrechtliche Spielräume des Rundfunkstaatsvertrags zu analysieren und 3.) das hinter dem Verbot der Presseähnlichkeit stehende Kalkül der Etablierung von Zahlungsbereitschaften zu erörtern. Daraufhin werden 4.) darauf basierend konkrete Handlungsempfehlungen für eine stabile Koexistenz von Verlagen und Öffentlich-Rechtlichen abgeleitet. Zuletzt werden Schwierigkeiten und Alternativen medienrechtlicher Grenzziehungen (auch vor dem Hintergrund des geplanten Medienstaatsvertrags) diskutiert.
Article
Debates over the effects and efficacy of different forms of newspaper ownership are rising. This article elucidates the debates by exploring private, public, not-for-profit, and employee ownership using economic and managerial theory about ownership and control of enterprises. It shows the managerial and economic conditions that emerge under the different forms of ownership, their implications, and the advantages and disadvantages of each. The article concludes that there is no perfect form of newspaper ownership.
Article
For much of the 20th century newspaper advertising expenditures experienced strong and regular growth and a close link between that advertising spending and gross domestic product (GDP) was observable. Using a US dataset from 1950 to 2005, this paper explores advertising growth trends, the extent to which the relationship between GDP and newspaper advertising expenditures is being maintained, and changes in expenditures in different categories (retail, classified, and national) to determine whether and how the long-term trends are shifting. The author finds that the relationship between GDP and expenditures is weakening, that growth is not keeping pace with inflation, and that there is greater volatility in advertising than seen in the past. The author concludes that trends indicate the advertising expenditures will plateau and decline in the future, denying newspapers revenue growth that is critically needed for sustainability.
Book
That market forces drive the news is not news. Whether a story appears in print, on television, or on the Internet depends on who is interested, its value to advertisers, the costs of assembling the details, and competitors' products. But in All the News That's Fit to Sell, economist James Hamilton shows just how this happens. Furthermore, many complaints about journalism--media bias, soft news, and pundits as celebrities--arise from the impact of this economic logic on news judgments. This is the first book to develop an economic theory of news, analyze evidence across a wide range of media markets on how incentives affect news content, and offer policy conclusions. Media bias, for instance, was long a staple of the news. Hamilton's analysis of newspapers from 1870 to 1900 reveals how nonpartisan reporting became the norm. A hundred years later, some partisan elements reemerged as, for example, evening news broadcasts tried to retain young female viewers with stories aimed at their (Democratic) political interests. Examination of story selection on the network evening news programs from 1969 to 1998 shows how cable competition, deregulation, and ownership changes encouraged a shift from hard news about politics toward more soft news about entertainers. Hamilton concludes by calling for lower costs of access to government information, a greater role for nonprofits in funding journalism, the development of norms that stress hard news reporting, and the defining of digital and Internet property rights to encourage the flow of news. Ultimately, this book shows that by more fully understanding the economics behind the news, we will be better positioned to ensure that the news serves the public good.
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Why Democracies Need an Unlovable Press
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SCHUDSON, MICHAEL (2008) Why Democracies Need an Unlovable Press, Cambridge: Polity.
Unser Verhältnis ist eine Hassliebe
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