17 June 2019

Workshop III: Standing firm in times of populism – Journalism between attitude and independence

Beginning 16  Ending 18.30

On 17 June, Dahrendorf Forum and ZDF organized a third workshop at the Hertie School of Governance entitled “Standing firm in times of populism – Journalism between attitude and independence”. 26 journalists, academics and civil society actors discussed challenges they face in their work given the increased presence of populist political actors.

The event was chaired by Peter Frey (editor-in-chief of ZDF) and Andrea Römmele (Co-Chair of the Dahrendorf Working Group 2) and was followed by a joint dinner. Prof. Stephan Russ-Mohl (Former Professor of Journalism and Media Management, Università della Svizzera Italiana) held a keynote speech providing insights from academia on the topic discussed in the previous two sessions.

The critical discussion was focused on several main issues:

  • How should journalists deal with the «mainstream”- and «elite”-criticism?
  • How do new media change the work and working conditions of journalists? How does, in particularly the rise of populism affect journalism?
  • How does media research evaluate the present crisis of journalism?

The main outcomes of the discussion related to the following problems:

  • The role of PR in setting the (journalistic) agenda, becoming too dominant and endangering the credibility of journalism
  • Advertising, which is shifting to the internet and puts pressure on the budgets of media outlets. Targeted advertising mainly benefits large companies such as Facebook and Google. This leads to a chronic lack of resources in media
  • The public, which increasingly expects news for free


The final results of the workshop series were presented at a fourth event in Leipzig on July 2.