Concretisation of the Question
The planned study seeks to answer the following questions:
- What services do citizens expect from journalism?
- How do they prioritise these different services? Or in other words, what should journalists focus more on and what should they focus less on in their work from the population’s point of view?
- What are the differences between different groups of the population?
- What is the relationship between classic journalistic tasks such as "neutral information" and newer ones such as "entering into a dialogue with the audience"?
- And what (in)congruencies are shown in what individual journalistic achievements between what the audience expects and what journalists themselves regard as their professional task?
For the planned study, we can draw on numerous relevant preliminary works that were developed in the DFG-funded project “(Re-)Discovering the Audience: Journalism under the Conditions of Social Media.” Different audiences such as Tagesschau, ARD-Polittalk, Süddeutsche Zeitung and Freitag showed consistently higher demands in terms of editorial transparency, participation and dialogue than the respective editorial offices expected.
Approach to the Examination
According to the aim of the study, the audience's expectations of journalism will be assessed in a survey representative of adults living in Germany. In order to prevent an over-representation of citizens who are particularly interested in technology and participation, the survey is not conducted online, but as computer-assisted telephone interviews (CATI). The problem of the declining distribution of fixed-network lines will be taken into account by a dual-frame procedure, according to which 60 percent of the random sample is recruited via landline numbers and 40 percent via mobile phone numbers. A sample of n = 1,000 respondents ensures the representativeness of the results and allowed basic comparisons between different population groups (e.g. by age group, gender, formal education, new/old federal states, political orientation, the media they use).
The core of the questionnaire is an internationally accepted battery of items, adapted for the audience's perspective, which represent different facets of the perception of the role by journalists. This was also used by Steindl et al. (2017) to ensure direct comparability with their representative journalist survey.
Steindl, N., Lauerer, C., & Hanitzsch, T. (2017). Journalismus in Deutschland. Aktuelle Befunde zu Kontinuität und Wandel im deutschen Journalismus [Journalism in Germany. Current Findings on Continuity and Change in German Journalism]. Publizistik, 62(4), pp. 401–423. https://doi.org/10.1007/s11616-017-0378-9