The Institut



The conference is organised by the European Institute for Journalism and Communication Research (EIJC) in Leipzig.


Strengthening media freedom and independence in journalism in Europe

The EIJC sees itself in the tradition of the Peaceful Revolution of 1989. At that time, freedom of the press and freedom of expression as well as independent journalism were key demands of hundreds of thousands of protesters in Leipzig. Today these freedoms are some of the non-negotiable, fundamental values of democratic European societies. In this regard, the members of the institute are united in their conviction that researching social information structures and communication processes has a highly important role to play. The work of the institute is intended to focus in particular on the research field “Media and Journalism in Europe”, and as such contribute to strengthening media freedom and independence in journalism. With theory-oriented and empirical studies as well as practical projects, the institute contributes to throwing light on problem areas, the development of solutions to problems as well as to international discourse.



The range of research has expanded in the years since its founding in 2003. Several books have been published. Today the institute colaborates in an Ph.D. research programm with partners like the University of Ghent/Belgium, the University of Westminster/United Kingdom, the Leipzig Graduate School of Management and University of Leipzig. The Media Foundation of Sparkasse Leipzig provides the EIJC infrastructure at its current location and also financial support through Ph.D. stipends. Their Research




The Institute was developed by the Chair for Journalism Studies at the University of Leipzig, Prof. Dr. Michael Haller. It was founded in early 2003 as a cooperative project of the University Leipzig and the Media Foundation, financially supported by Sparkasse Insurance of Saxony.


The Institute’s Board

| Dr. Lutz Mükke, Academic Director

| Prof. em. Dr. Michael Haller, Deputy of the Academic Director

| Stephan Seeger, Executive Director





Will newspaper exist in the future? Yes, but they will look different.

Michael Haller´s new book on the future of newspaper presents perspectives and best practice examples for newspaper publisher.


Everybody is talking about it: Daily newspapers are in a crisis. Next to the fall of sale figures and the drop of advertising revenue, ownship changes and the strong cutbacks in journalistic resources are leaving their marks. Many media producers declare the newspaper dead, others have handy solution strategies. But both sides neglect thorough trend analyses of the media change.

Internet and the changing lifestyles of young people contribute to the dreadful state. Overlooked is, that newspaper producers themselves contribute to intensify the crisis. Many refuse the effort to understand their audience and its expectations on newspapers, and refuse to accept the changed behaviour of young adults. They don’t see, that the biggest share – that are the working adults from 35 years up – is still open for a stimulating daily newspaper with high information content. This readership expects their daily newspaper to be an orientation in the daily flood of information – and reacts disappointed, because their papers often reduce content and become step by step storytellers.

On the foundation of long-term surveys and empirical studies, the author shows when and why newspapers have lost their readers. Therefore their loss of range, which is traceable back to a chasm between media reality and reader expectations, is not a law of nature. Following the results of Michael Haller, there are ways to close the gap between the young onliners and the older offliners. The author frames suggestions, how papers can find back their voice in the cross- and multimedia concert and exploit new readerships. In Do we need Newspapers, he discusses the potential that is still hiding in the category ”Regional Newspaper” and its distribution area.


So far, the interactions between journalists and elites have mostly been explored within a system-theoretical frame and by interviewing stakeholders, and the results were anonymised. This study follows a different approach, both theoretically and methodically, to locate the influence of elites on journalistic content.

The author develops a theoretical model that explains the behaviour of media by pressure groups and social networks and that predicts that key media more or less reflect the current discourse of the elites but neither exceed its limits nor critically question its assumptions.

In the empirical part a network analysis first focuses on the social environment of 219 senior editors of German leading media. One in three journalists entertained informal contacts with political and economic elites; for four foreign policy journalists of FAZ, Süddeutsche Zeitung, Die Welt and Die Zeit close-knit networks in the U.S.- and NATO-affine elite milieu are detected.

A subsequent frame analysis asks to what extent the output of these four journalists is in line with the established reference groups concerning the disputed questions of the definition of security (“extended concept of security”) and of the deployment of the Bundeswehr in Afghanistan. Finally, a content analysis examines the reports on the Munich Security Conference and on their opponents in five daily newspapers. It concludes that the elite-related leading newspapers Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, Die Welt and Süddeutsche Zeitung reflect the on-going elite discourse during the security conference in detail, but that they marginalize and delegitimize protests and the counter-event “Munich Peace Conference”.



Michael Haller and Lutz Mükke are the editors of the research volume „Change of East German Media since the decline of the GDR“.

It was not a leap into freedom: There were hints for the transition of state-led to state-free press well before the wall came down. Many East German journalists wanted free speech – and then had to learn the hard way how to combine freedom of press, audience preferences, and media economics.

Since 1993, media scholars of the Chair of Journalism at the University of Leipzig monitor whether and how the professional role of journalists has changed under the guiding principle of media freedom and market constraints, how a new type of conformism emerged and how the regional press monopoly generated publicistic mainstream. Yet, the authors also detected many attempts and approaches to a bluntly-open journalism.

Each of the 13 articles examines important issues of the journalistic professional role change: How did the new editors-in-chief from Western Germany act? What do those heads of departments think that occupied that position already in the GDR? How did East German Journalists cover the attraction of groups of the extreme right? How could the case Sebnitz happen? What explains the success of „Super-Illu“? And: What picture did the West German media draw of people living in East Germany?

This book provides scientifically validated answers to the question of attitudes, norms and rules that shape the public discourse of Eastern Germany.


E-paper, website, blog and of course newspapers – publishers nowadays provide journalistic information services through many channels. But how do readers and users keep themselves informed? Little is known about whether readers consider different topics relevant in the web than in the newspaper, or if an appealing online service can attract new readers and eventually introduce them to the newspaper.

Manuel Thomä describes how journalistic information services are used in print and online media. He shows the change of the news system between newspaper and the internet and its effects on the media reception of readers. Several approaches of communication and media research exploring these tendencies are presented. The empirical basis is a long-standing research project of the Institute of Practical Journalism and Communication Research. For an analysis of the specific use of individual channels 30 problem-centered interviews were conducted, 1,239 regular readers were interviewed by telephone and for the first time around 350 readers and users were repeatedly questioned through an online-panel study. The results show how frequently and why the readers surveyed access individual media services, how they evaluate them and why they renounce others.



© EIJK | 2015