chapter  8
16 Pages

Civic and Citizen Journalism in Germany

ByKLAUS FORSTER

Civic journalism has never been a serious topic in academic or professional debates about ‘where journalism should be going’. Accordingly, it could not establish ‘a set of practices’ for better reporting ‘that have been tried in real life settings’ and it did defi nitely not turn into ‘a movement of people and institutions concerned about the possibilities for reform’ in journalism (Rosen 1995: v). This nearly complete disregard of an infl uential-though minority-perspective on how to improve

news coverage and build citizen engagement in politics seems a little odd for a country with a press system that was reintroduced, shaped, and largely infl uenced by the American occupation authorities after World War II, particularly during the period of compulsory press licensing from 1945 to 1949 (Humphreys 1994: 24-38). With this historical background one might have assumed that civic journalism should have become an issue in Germany in the same way as is it has in other nations with presumably less American infl uence on their press systems-like Northern European countries such as Finland, Sweden or Denmark (Haas 2007: 122, 127-135) or Latin American countries such as Mexico (Hughes 2006).