Digital Journalism: From Innovation to Optimism


A re:publica event

In this session, two digital-journalism studies carried out by re:publica itself will be presented. The first study considers the degree to which “digital journalism” has today become professionalised, as well as the role played by public participation and the technical automation of editorial processes. In order to adequately reflect the dynamics of digital journalism as practiced, six empirical research components were employed, including a quantitative content analysis of participatory forms and formats in digital journalism, a qualitative description of participatory offerings on selected journalistic websites, guided interviews with key editorial figures, and an observation of work processes and automation trends in online editorial environments. The study shows why audience participation and digital journalism can ideally create a relationship of mutual stimulation. Both sides benefit in a way that tends to improve society’s general communications ecology.
The second study, “The Newspaper Publishers”, provides information about print journalists’ job satisfaction, willingness to change, and innovation needs. The newspaper industry in particular is under immense pressure, and press diversity is declining. The ongoing dislocations in the international press marketplace have led to the perception of a long-lasting “newspaper crisis”. However, there has to date been little empirical data on the mood and general atmosphere during this period of transition. The second of the two studies was implemented with the aim of investigating actual conditions in German newspaper newsrooms. Among other issues, job satisfaction, structural conditions for innovation, and willingness to change within editorial circles were surveyed. The objective was to produce a thorough analysis of the impact of digitally driven structural change on the journalistic work environment and the prospects for editorial work as a craft. The study’s approach was to explore the conflict between business challenges and the increased demands on actors’ editorial capacities. The study is based on a representative survey of daily-newspaper editorial employees in Germany.


Dr. Leif Kramp, Research Coordinator, ZeMKI, University of Bremen

Annika Sehl, Akademische Rätin auf Zeit, Technische Universität Dortmund

Prof. Dr. Stephan Weichert, Digital Thinker, Professor für Journalismus und Kommunikationswissenschaft