The virtual SciCon series

Tom Rosenstiel: Journalism and Democracy in the Digital Age
(1 October 2020, 3 pm CET)

Mod.: Prof. Holger Wormer
The virtual SciCon conference series began with a lecture by Tom Rosenstiel. Mr. Rosenstiel is one of the most renowned media experts in the world. According to the Wall Street Journal, his book The Elements of Journalism, published in 2001 together with Tom Kovach, is one of the five most important works ever published on journalism. Mr. Rosenstiel is the managing director of the venerable American Press Institute, founded in 1946. He worked as a journalist for the major US media.

Prof. Victor Pickard: Democracy Without Journalism? Dimensions of the Media Crisis
(7 October 2020, 5 pm CET)

Mod.: Prof. Christopher Buschow
The US-American media researcher Victor Pickard, a recognised expert on the US media system, is one of the most influential pioneers of a new media order. Pickard campaigns, in particular, for public media systems. His core thesis, first developed in his influential book Saving the News: Toward a National Journalism Strategy states: ‘The systemic market failure that’s afflicting our news industries necessitates policy interventions and public alternatives.’

Dame Frances Cairncross: What can governments learn from the media crisis in UK? Recommendations from the Cairncross-Review ‘A sustainable Future for Journalism’
(14 October 2020, 5 pm CET)

Mod.: Christina Sartori (freelance science journalist; member of the German Science Journalists’ Association WPK)
Dame Frances Cairncross is a British economist, respected journalist and academic. She is the author of the report that takes stock of the British media system and bears her name. Published in 2019, it recommends government support programmes for the media. The British government had already implemented parts of the Cairncross recommendations by the end of last year. Frances Cairncross spent 13 years as an economics correspondent at The Guardian and 20 years as a senior editor at The Economist.

Prof. Julia Cagé: Saving the Media – A new business model for media in the crisis
(26 October 2020, 5 pm CET)

Mod.: Prof. Christopher Buschow
Prof. Julia Cagé is a Paris-based media economist who has dealt intensively with the crisis of the journalistic business model and the role of the media in democracy. In her highly acclaimed book Saving the Media she develops the idea of a new business model for the media in crisis: Establishing a ‘non-profit media organization’, midway between a foundation and a joint stock company. According to Cagé, such a model would facilitate independent journalism that cannot be influenced by shareholders, advertisers and governments.
Register here

Prof. Magda Konieczna: Journalism Without Profit: Why We Need Public Journalism
(28 October 2020, 4 pm CET)

Mod.: Prof. Christopher Buschow
The US-American media scientist Prof. Magda Konieczna is a world-leading expert on nonprofit journalism.
Register here

Chris Anderson: Future-Proofing journalism – ideas for the digital age
(9 November 2020, 2 pm CET)

Mod.: Prof. Holger Wormer
Chris Anderson of Leeds University is a worldwide recognised expert on digital change in journalism. Mr. Anderson is the author of the book Remaking the News: Essays on the Future of Journalism Scholarship in the Digital Age.
Register here

The exact dates of the presentations will be published in good time on this website and on social media.

The SciCon working conference

This conference in Freiburg is designed as a working conference. The main thematic areas of the conference are:

  • Evidence in the public sphere: What role does science journalism play in societal decision-making? What (new?) alliances and structures are needed to ensure the best possible arguments are listened to and trusted, thus weakening the impact of uncertainty campaigns? Given the polyphony of voices, what mechanisms do political decision-makers develop to ally their decisions with the best possible arguments? What role is played by science journalism in this context? What role can science itself, science organisations that provide policy advice, and politics itself play? How can we increase societies’ resilience to disinformation campaigns? What role do social media play in this process of evidence orientation?
  • New media (business) models: What do we know about market-based business models for quality journalism in the digital age? What other forms of journalistic refinancing are there; what supporting actors and structures? What opportunities are open to third parties to support the media transformation process? What role should public sector media systems play in the future? What media policy concepts are there in Europe (at national/EU level)?


As such, the combination of lectures, panel discussions and intensive specialist debates on these thematic areas outlined above should deliver the groundwork for a policy paper to be drawn up after the conference. This paper will record options for action that identify the preconditions for quality science journalism in the digital age and ways of achieving it.

Around noon, the WISSENSWERTE conference will begin, the largest science journalism meeting in the German-speaking countries. SciCon visitors are most welcome to attend the WISSENSWERTE, especially as the conference program on 30.11.20 will continue to explore the issues addressed at SciCon. The WISSENSWERTE program will be translated into English on 30.11.20.