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Authors: Thielmann, Hannah
Schäfer, Markus
Title: Die Darstellung der katholischen und evangelischen Kirche in der Tagesschau
Online publication date: 3-Aug-2022
Year of first publication: 2021
Language: german
Abstract: Der persönliche Bezug zur Institution Kirche hat in den vergangenen Jahren in der deutschen Bevölkerung und auch bei Journalisten kontinuierlich abgenommen. Gleichzeit bleiben die gesellschaftliche Bedeutung der katholischen und evangelischen Kirche sowie ihr gesetzlich geregeltes Verhältnis zum Rundfunk bestehen. Der vorliegende Beitrag untersucht mithilfe einer quantitativen Inhaltsanalyse von 514 Tagesschau-Beiträgen zu drei Messzeitpunkten (1998/99, 2008/09 und 2018/19) die Berichterstattung über die beiden großen christlichen Kirchen. Im Zentrum stehen dabei die Fragen, in welchen Kontexten bzw. bei welchen Ereignissen über Kirche im Zeitverlauf berichtet und wie positiv oder negativ sie in diesem Zusammenhang dargestellt wird. Es zeigt sich, dass sich die Relevanz der beiden Kirchen in der Tagesschau in den letzten 20 Jahren nicht verändert hat, dass allerdings die katholische Kirche gegenüber der evangelischen Kirche überrepräsentiert ist und signifikant negativer dargestellt wird. Über Ereignisse wird häufiger berichtet als über Stellungnahmen, und die Tendenz der Kirchen-Beiträge ist im Laufe der Jahre signifikant negativer geworden.
Although the church is still accepted as an institution within the framework of diaconia and caritas in Germany and is largely recognized as a fixed social factor, the personal relationship to the church as an institution has steadily decreased in recent years among the German population in general and also among journalists in particular. There are tendencies towards secularisation in Germany. Hence, it can be assumed that this increasing secularisation in society and journalism has an impact on the setting of content and topics and the evaluation of the Catholic and Protestant churches. Furthermore, it can be assumed that media coverage is the primary (perhaps even only) source of information about the churches for a considerable part of the population. The fewer Germans are active church members, the more likely it becomes that the only information about church comes from the media. Consequently, the image of the church in the media can have a decisive impact on the ideas of the German population about the church. At the same time, the relationship between the Catholic and Protestant Church on one hand and broadcasting (radio and television) on the other is regulated by law, so that, for example, the churches are represented in the supervisory authorities of public broadcasting corporations. With this knowledge, the question arises whether and to what extent the coverage of the Catholic and Protestant churches has changed in recent years. Due to complex realities, journalists are bound to select information and place emphasis on particular aspects, which means that the perspective on certain topics can be largely determined by journalistic information. Topics are framed this way and portrayed through the lenses of the journalist’s image of church. In addition to the journalistic frames, many other factors such as culture, political orientation and the journalistic self-image determine the creation of these media frames directly and in turn indirectly via the journalist’s frames. However, how the churches are framed in the media coverage has so far hardly been researched. Based on former research, it can only be stated that compared to the Protestant church, the Catholic church is overrepresented in the German media. Furthermore, religion only appears worth reporting if it is polarizing or linked to other topics, e.g. politics. Moreover, the church is being reported on in a personalised manner, and the evaluations of the church as an institution are ambivalent. In order to narrow this research gap and to examine the reporting on the Catholic and Protestant church over time, a quantitative content analysis of 514 Tagesschau segments was carried out at three points of time (1998/99, 2008/09 and 2018/19). The coverage of the Tagesschau was examined because it is still the news programme with the widest reach in Germany and simultaneously offers an orientation function to other journalists. This approach had been chosen to answer the question, in which contexts or at which events church was reported on over time and how positively or negatively it was presented in the respective contexts. It turns out that firstly the relevance of the Catholic and Protestant churches in the coverage of the Tagesschau has neither increased nor decreased over the years. This is supported by the fact that neither the number, nor the length or the position of the segments about church has changed significantly. Secondly, it can be stated that the Catholic church is overrepresented in the coverage in comparison to the Protestant church, which is in line with previous research results, but runs contrary to the current social distribution in Germany. Thirdly, it is noticeable that the churches are often only reported on in connection with church-specific topics and less with church-independent topics, which has not changed over the years. Besides it is worth mentioning that the number of articles reporting on church events has increased significantly over the years, while church statements have become increasingly rare. Thematically, the image of the churches in the Tagesschau is specifically framed in such a way that most of the segments are about church events, political discussions, and church politics. The image of the large institutions is thus being strengthened and at the same time reduced to internal issues and conflicts. This topic setting has not changed significantly in the last 20 years. However, journalists seem to differentiate between the two denominations, since the Protestant church is significantly more often associated with non-church matters than the Catholic church. Fourth, contrary to other research findings on tabloidisation, no personalisation tendencies in church reporting can be found in the last 20 years. Finally, reporting on the church can be classified as negative and critical. On one hand, this has increased significantly over the years, on the other hand, the reporting on the Catholic church has a significantly more negative tendency than the Protestant church. Moreover, it is worth mentioning that at every point of time the journalists make use of “opportune witnesses”, so that negative statements about the church are more frequently quoted than the positive ones. All in all it can be said that the coverage of the Tagesschau about the churches is becoming more and more critical and distanced.
DDC: 070 Nachrichtenmedien
070 News media
Institution: Johannes Gutenberg-Universität Mainz
Department: FB 02 Sozialwiss., Medien u. Sport
Place: Mainz
Version: Published version
Publication type: Zeitschriftenaufsatz
License: CC BY
Information on rights of use:
Journal: Publizistik
Pages or article number: 513
Publisher: VS Verl. für Sozialwissenschaften
Publisher place: Wiesbaden
Issue date: 2021
ISSN: 1862-2569
Publisher DOI: 10.1007/s11616-021-00687-8
Appears in collections:JGU-Publikationen

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