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Theory and practice of journalism

subject properties Theory and practice of journalism in major Master Medien- und Kommunikationswissenschaft 2013
subject number101784
examination number2500397
departmentFakultät für Wirtschaftswissenschaften und Medien
ID of department2552
subject leaderProf. Dr. Martin Löffelholz
term Sommersemester
credit points6
on-campus program (h)68
self-study (h)112
Obligationobligatory elective
examalternative examination performance
details of the certificate

(1) frequent and active participation
(2) two abstracts of journal articles or book chapters,
(3) preparing and conducting group discussions,
(4) term presentation,
(5) individual term paper on selected theories

maximum number of participants30
previous knowledge and experience

Interest in theories on communication, media and journalism.

learning outcome

(1) Providing an in-depth overview on theoretical concepts describing communication and particularly journalism

(2) Improving your ability to critically assess the quality and relevance of theoretical approaches in communication and journalism studies

(3) Developing an understanding to what extent theoretical approaches on communication and journalism may be considered "universal"


The seminar aims at deepening your understanding of theories on communication and journalism. Based on participants’ previous knowledge, we will analyze, compare and assess various theoretical concepts, namely normative approaches (i.e. "citizen journalism" or "peace journalism"), theories of a middle range (e.g. "gatekeeping" or "agenda setting"), systems theories (i.e. Luhmann´s approach), social-integrative theories ("hierarchy of influence" or Giddens’ structuration theory) as well as critical approaches (i.e. political economy) and cultural theories (i.e. Hall´s "encoding/decoding-model"). The seminar is particularly recommended to those wishing to improve and or refresh their understanding of communication and journalism theories.

media of instruction

Powerpoint presentations

literature / references

Bainbridge, J., Goc, N., Tynan, E., & Tynan, L. (2015). Media and Journalism: New Approaches to Theory and Practice. Oxford University Press

Couldry, N. (2012): Media, Society, World: Social Theory and Digital Media Practice: Polity

Fengler, S., & Russ-Mohl, S. (2008): The Crumbling Hidden Wall: towards an Economic Theory of Journalism. Kyklos, 61(4), 520–542. DOI:10.1111/j.1467-6435.2008.00416

Fisher, C. (2016): The advocacy continuum. Towards a theory of advocacy in journalism. In: Journalism 17 (6), 711–726. DOI: 10.1177/1464884915582311

Franklin, B. (2014): The Future of Journalism. In: Journalism Studies 15 (5), 481–499. DOI: 10.1080/1461670X.2014.930254

Jeffres, L. W. (2015): Mass Communication Theories in a Time of Changing Technologies. In: Mass Communication and Society 18 (5), S. 523–530. DOI: 10.1080/15205436.2015.1065652

Johnson, M. W., & Leydesdorff, L. (2015). Beer's Viable System Model and Luhmann's Communication Theory: 'Organizations' from the Perspective of Meta-Games. Systems Research & Behavioral Science, 32(3), 266-282. doi:10.1002/sres.2222

Josephi, B. (2005). Journalism in the Global Age Between Normative and Empirical. International Communication Gazette, 67(6). doi:10.1177/0016549205057564

Kalyango, Y., & Mould, D., JR. (2014). Global Journalism Practice and New Media Performance: Springer.

Kent, Michael L. (2015): Social Media Circa 2035. Directions in Social Media Theory. In: Atlantic Journal of Communication 23 (1), 1-4. DOI: 10.1080/15456870.2015.972407

Kincaid, D. L. (2013): Communication Theory: Eastern and Western Perspectives: Elsevier Science.

Kristensen, Nete Nørgaard; From, Unni (2015): Cultural Journalism and Cultural Critique in a changing Media Landscape. In: Journalism Practice 9 (6), 760-772. DOI: 10.1080/17512786.2015.1051357.

Lippmann, W. (2016): A Critical Introduction to Media & Communication Theory. In: Rhetoric & Public Affairs. 19 (2), 346-349

Löffelholz, M. (2008): Heterogeneous – Multi-dimensional – Competing. Theoretical approaches to journalism – an overview. In: Löffelholz, M.; Weaver, D. (eds.): Global Journalism Research. Theories, Methods, Findings, Future. Malden, Oxford, Victoria: Blackwell, 15-27

Löffelholz, M.; Rothenberger, L. (2011): Eclectic continuum, distinct discipline or sub-domain of communication studies? Theoretical considerations and empirical findings on the disciplinarity, multidisciplinarity and transdisciplinarity of journalism studies. In: Brazilian Journalism Research 1/2011, 7-29

Löffelholz, Martin & David Weaver (2008) (eds.): Global journalism research. Theories, methods, findings, future. Malden, Oxford, Victoria: Blackwell-Wiley

Mast, J.; Coesemans, R.; Temmerman, M. (2016): Hybridity and the news. Blending genres and interaction patterns in new forms of journalism. In: Journalism. DOI: 10.1177/1464884916657520

Mawindi Mabweazara, Hayes (2014): Charting Theoretical Directions for Examining African Journalism in the “Digital Era”. In: Journalism Practice 9 (1), 106–122. DOI: 10.1080/17512786.2014.928469

McPhail, T. L. (2013): Global Communication: Theories, Stakeholders and Trends: Wiley

Mellado, Claudia; Hellmueller, Lea (2015): Professional roles and news construction. A media sociology conceptualization of journalists’ role conception and performance. In: CommSoc 28 (3), 1–11. DOI: 10.15581/

Erjavec, K.; Jožica Zajc (2011): A Historical Overview of Approaches to Journalism Studies. Medij. istraž. (god. 17, br. 1-2) 2011. (9-29), IZVORNI ZNANSTVENI RAD, UDK: 070.1, Primljeno: 15. lipnja 2011.

Niven, D. (2005): An Economic Theory of Political Journalism. Journalism & Mass Communication Quarterly, 82(2), 247–263

Park, David W. (2014): Pierre Bourdieu. A critical introduction to media and communication theory. New York: Lang

Reese, S. D. (2007): Journalism Research and The Hierarchy of Influences Model: A Global Perspective. Brazilian Journalism Research, 3(2)

Shoemaker, P. J., & Reese, S. D. (2013). Mediating the Message in the 21st Century: A Media Sociology Perspective: Routledge

Stacks, Don W., & Salwen, M. B. (2014): An Integrated Approach to Communication Theory and Research: Routledge

Vonbun, R., Konigslow, K. K.-v., & Schoenbach, K. (2015): Intermedia agenda-setting in a multimedia news environment. Journalism: theory, practice & criticism.

Wahl-Jorgensen, K., & Hanitzsch, T. (2009): The Handbook of Journalism Studies: Routledge

Weaver, D.; Löffelholz, M. (2008): Questioning National, Cultural and Disciplinary Boundaries: A call for global journalism research. In: Löffelholz, M. & Weaver, D. (eds.): Global Journalism Research. Theories, Methods, Findings, Future. Malden, Oxford, Victoria: Blackwell, 3-12

Weaver, D. H., & Willnat, L. (2012): The Global Journalist in the 21st Century: Routledge

Witschge, T., Anderson, C. W., Domingo, D., & Hermida, A. (2016). The SAGE Handbook of Digital Journalism: Sage

evaluation of teaching