2007

AR – Media


Medienlandschaft Deutschland [The Media Landscape of Germany]. Wolfram Schrag. Konstanz: UVK-Verlagsgesellschaft, 2007. 381 p. ill. 24 cm. ISBN 978-3-89669-597-0: EUR 19.90 [07-1-038]

Medienlandschaft Deutschland. Wolfram Schrag. München: ZpB, 2006. 381 p. ill. 24 cm. Available free from the Bayerische Landeszentrale für Politische Bildungsarbeit: http://www.km.bayern.de/blz/publikationen/katalog/details.aspx?100121

Wolfram Schrag has been chosen as the author of a successor to the longtime standard, Hermann Meyn’s Massenmedien in der Bundesrepublik Deutschland [Mass Media in the Federal Republic of Germany], first published in 1966; the last edition was published in 2004 under the title Massenmedien in Deutschland. Schrag, like Meyn, is a radio journalist. Since the subject and intent of the two publications are identical, the content and organization of the new book do not differ much from those of its predecessor, but there are three more general chapters at the beginning. They cover global economic challenges, especially for the press; the great influence of the Internet; and the financial basis and programming of public radio. These are followed by three chapters on the development of media in Germany since 1945. The seventh chapter deals with political information in the media, and the last chapter discusses the profession of journalism in Germany. Perhaps the influence of advertising on the media, as well as their globalization and commercialization, should have been emphasized more strongly. That hardly anything is said about media in Germany before 1945 seems more than unhistorical.

The author is objective and well informed, and numerous footnotes extend and connect the information, but there are occasional colloquial expressions and imprecise language. The photographs, supplied by the Bayerische Landeszentrale für Neue Medien, are noticeably sterile. There does not seem to be a system to the occasional texts highlighted in yellow, but the marginal notes are more useful. There are no graphics or tables, although data about the media would have offered concise information. (Daten zur Mediensituation in Deutschland [Data on the Media Situation in Germany] was last compiled in 2006 in print and online at http://www.ard.de/intern/basisdaten.) There is an adequate subject index listing persons, titles, and topics. A list of abbreviations and a list of 169 important Web sites (p. 372-376) close the volume. Unfortunately, the footnotes and the list of Web sites do not make up for the lack of a bibliography. Therefore, there is room for improvement, but the general impression is positive: this is a successful, objective, and solid book for use by [German] schools and in adult education. [wub/gh]

Medienhandbuch Deutschland: Fernsehen, Radio, Presse, Multimedia, Film [Media Handbook for Germany: Television, Radio, Press, Multimedia, Film]. Gerd Kopper. Reinbek bei Hamburg: Rowohlt-Taschenbuch-Verlag, 2006. 490 p. 19 cm. (rororo, 61938; Sachbuch). ISBN 978-3-499-61938-0: EUR 14.90 [07-1-039]

The wide selection of new reference books on the media scene has been supplemented by Medienhandbuch Deutschland, which is popularly organized and oriented toward practice. It is based on an up-to-date database at the Erich Brost Institute for European Journalism, reworked by an editorial team. Kopper is head of the institute and professor of journalism in Dortmund; his wide experience in the education of journalists and public supervision of media are reflected in the selection and commentary of the entries. The nearly 400 articles offer a wide palette of organizational, legal, and journalistic facts on all media in Germany. The dictionary begins with a summary of mass media in Germany, which gives a context to the entries. The entries range from references and short descriptions (five to ten lines) to longer articles of two or three pages. The style is plain and generally understandable; statistics, examples, and a bibliography are missing, as well as a summary that would make clear what topics are included and in how much detail. Indexes of topics, titles, and persons help locate all entries but do not provide connections. Exemplary in this respect is Medien von A bis Z (see RREA 12:39), which is aimed at the same general audience. Compared to the (also recommended) Das Fernsehlexikon (see RREA 12:43), Medienhandbuch Deutschland offers more detailed information and is more comprehensive and definitive, while Medien von A bis Z has more general articles oriented toward research. Objections to this handbook are more about the organization of the work and the inconsistent use of abbreviations, which could be improved in new editions. In particular, citations and a list of recommended books should be added. These improvements are particularly desirable because this is the most concrete and factually rich reference work on media in Germany. [wub/gh]

Das grosse Lexikon Medien und Kommunikation: Kompendium interdisziplinärer Konzepte [Comprehensive Encyclopedia of Media and Communication: A Compendium of Interdisciplinary Concepts]. Ed. Leon R. Tsvasman. Würzburg: Ergon-Verlag, 2006. 425 p. ill. 25 cm. ISBN 978-3-89913-515-2: EUR 38 [07-2-315]

The subtitle Compendium of Interdisciplinary Concepts gives a much better explaination of the purpose of this work than does its otherwise misleading title. The encyclopedia is concerned with information on central concepts from the interdisciplinary field of general and mediated human communication, from classical journalism to systems theory, and beyond that to vocabulary from education, psychology, sociology, philosophy, anthropology, cybernetics, and some aspects of marketing, politics, law, culture, and art. This work is less about facts and reference information than it is about concept formation, problem posing, and fundamental concepts from the areas of study addressed.

The choice of concepts described comes across as arbitrary, random, and lacking contributions from entire fields, such as history, politics or economics. Even more troubling is the lack of evident editorial effort or any unifying perspective to compare or connect the concepts to one another in a way that would constitute a real contribution to the theory of media and mass communication.

One hundred thirty concepts are introduced, discussed and connected to one another by a strangely elaborate organizational scheme. The basic structure of the articles consists of a short definition, a longer explanation containing further definitions, examples and sometimes diagrams, and a bibliography. Only occasionally is there discussion of competing concepts or of the state of research on the topic. Bibliographies vary wildly in length and format. The editors found it important to provide English translations or equivalent terms to the lemmas, but these are nowhere summarized or analyzed.

The 30 authors represent not only diverse fields of study, but also occupy niches from the general to the very specialized and from prominent representatives of their disciplines (e.g., Ernst von Glaserfeld, philosopher and cybernetician) to several authors who are young students. [wub/rb]

Literatur zur deutschsprachigen Presse: eine Bibliographie: von den Anfängen bis 1870 [Bibliography of Literature on the German-Language Press from Its Origins to 1870]. Gert Hagelweide. München: Saur. 31 cm. (Dortmunder Beiträge zur Zeitungsforschung, 35). ISBN 978-3-21284-0 [07-2-319]

Vol. 15. Die Presse in Recht und Rechtsprechung; Werbung [The Press in Law and Court Decisions; Advertising]. 2005. 406 p. ISBN 3-598-23484-8: EUR 228

Vol. 16. Personenregister (Verfasser und Biographien): A-F [Index of Persons (Authors and Biographies: A-F]. 2007. 436 p. ISBN 978-3-598-23487-3: EUR 228

Vol. 17. Personenregister (Verfasser und Biographien): G-K. 2007. 450 p. ISBN 978-3-598-23488-0: EUR 228

Vol. 18. Personenregister (Verfasser und Biographien): L-R. 2007. 415 p. ISBN 978-3-598-23489-7: EUR 228

Vol. 19. Personenregister (Verfasser und Biographien): S-Z. 2007. 436 p. ISBN 978-3-598-23477-4: EUR 228

Vol. 20. Zeitungs- und Zeitschriftentitel-Register, Register der Drucker und Verleger, Verzeichnis der Druck-, Verlags- und Vertriebsorte, Gesamtinhaltsverzeichnis [Index of Newspapers and Magazines; Index of Printers and Publishers; Index of Printers’ Locations, Publishers, and Distributors; General Index]. 2007. 536 p. ISBN 978-3-598-23478-1: EUR 228

The most frequently reviewed reference work in the history of IFB and its predecessors has finally published its last volume. Volume 1 appeared in 1985, and the project’s growth quickly outran the original publishing plans. (Volumes 4-11 are included in Reference Reviews Europe: RREO 94-1-049, RREO 95-2-210, RREO 95-3-316, RREA 2:71, RREA 3:114, RREA 4:84, RREA 6:60, and RREA 11:51). While not reviewed in either IFB or RREA, Volume 15 is cited here for the sake of completeness.

The five-volume index section (volumes 16-20) was originally planned as a single tome. Its first four volumes (16-19) contain over 60,000 entries, but the number includes separate entries for biography and authorship, so the actual number of persons covered is not nearly as large. The style of print used helps to indicate the type of entry.

The concluding volume contains several indexes of varying usefulness. The index of newspaper and magazine titles (covering volumes 5-9) lists titles as given, i.e., initial articles, quotation marks, etc. are not ignored, making such titles as Der Spiegel unexpectedly difficult to find. Publications sharing the same name are distinguished by place (e.g., Der Spiegel, Hamburg). Similarly organized is the index of printers and publishers, which incidentally provides access to much of the book trade, namely where periodical publishers also published books. The index of place names, on the other hand, is a simple alphabetical list without references, while the general index suffers from overorganization, offering rigid general-to-specific categories where keyword access is needed.

Even these concerns, however, do not significantly diminish the value of Literatur zur deutschsprachigen Presse as a scholarly resource. What it has to offer scholarship cannot readily be found anywhere else. [sh/gw]

Die Habsburgermonarchie 1848-1918 [The Habsburg Monarchy, 1848-1918]. Ed. Helmut Rumpler und Peter Urbanitsch. Wien: Verlag der Österreichischen Akademie der Wissenschaften. [07-2-326]

Vol. 8. Politische Öffentlichkeit und Zivilgesellschaft [Public Politics and Civil Society]:

Vol. 8/1. Vereine, Parteien und Interessenverbände als Träger der politischen Partizipation [Societies, Parties and Interest Groups as Vehicles for Political Participation]. 2006. xxi, 1491 p. 25 cm. ISBN 978-3-7001-3540-1: EUR 159

Vol. 8/2. Die Presse als Faktor der politischen Mobilisierung [The Press as a Factor in Political Mobilization]. 2006. xvi, p. 1493-2832. ill. 25 cm. ISBN 978-3-7001-3568-5: EUR 134

History comes alive when we realize that some questions remain unanswered and that newly certified historical facts serve as lessons for the present day. Each generation must write history afresh within its own social context and understanding. For the 21st century, we are fortunate to have the extensive work of the Austrian Academy of Sciences, which has taken on the task (in eight large volumes to date) of reexamining the Habsburg monarchy. The volume under review handles its two topics not as the history of a nation but as that of a disintegrating multiethnic state (in essence the reverse process of the European Union, in which multiple peoples are attempting to come together). Thus, in these two half-volumes all lands and regions of the former monarchy are united in a sort of patchwork quilt supervised by the two main editors but stitched together by over 40 contributors. The growth of societies, parties and interest groups–described in the volume’s first part–was one result of the 1848 Revolution, often described as “failed” but in fact providing impetus for new societal freedoms. The volume’s second part offers a history of the Habsburg press in a comprehensive manner never seen before. Of particular interest is an article of almost 200 pages on “Presse und Moderisierung in der Habsburger Monarchie” (p. 1535-1714) that investigates journalism in various languages and regions, including the Yiddish press found throughout the monarchy. This article is the result of many years of work in tracing press developments from the March Revolution of 1848 to the end of the First World War based on precise data, which the authors compiled in a newspaper database. Since not all the Habsburg regions could offer the same degree of source material, certain of the articles are less concise. Still, the authors do list the conditions under which they labored, so future researchers may be able to take up the investigations where the former left off.

The scholarly apparatus is full and exacting. The index to print sources used in the individual articles alone lists over 4,300 titles. Alphabetical indexes for persons, places and subjects seem accurate and exhaustive, as do those for the societies, parties, and interest groups, for the first part, and newspapers and journals, numbering some 3,250 titles, for the second part. The target audience ranges from professors in higher education to the layman interested in history (for whom the scholarly footnotes may prove superfluous). The format is encyclopedic, setting a new standard for reference works, not least because much of the content has been newly researched from primary sources. [hab/rdh]

Der Zeitungsausschnitt: ein Papierobjekt der Moderne [The Newspaper Clipping: A Modern Paper Object]. Anke te Heesen. Frankfurt am Main: FischerTaschenbuch-Verlag, 2006. 384 p. ill. 19 cm. (Fischer-Taschenbücher, 16584). ISBN 978-3-596-16584-1: EUR 16.95 [07-1-042]

The author, director of the Museum of the University of Tübingen, has devoted herself to this cultural and scholarly specialty for several years since she came upon the clipping collection about Albert Einstein at the library of the Max Planck Institute for the History of Science. Not only does she describe facts, uses, and techniques connected with clipping collections, she also situates them in a cultural context. The author presents her topic in eight chapters organized into three larger sections. In the section “Paper Objects,” two chapters give the historical background: the transition from scholarly excerpt to albums of clippings, especially from newspapers, which became established as the first mass medium after 1870. Newspaper clipping marks the transition from mass produced object to individualization and mastery of modern reality. In the section “Newspapers,” the author becomes more concrete; the third chapter describes the industrial conditions of newspaper production and the emergence and methods of professional clipping agencies, starting around 1879. In the following chapter she goes into the connection between the flood of newspaper production and the economic, political, and scholarly interest in following and using them. Newspapers relieved historians of the task of chronicling events, but newspaper reports had to be collected as clippings and then arranged for use. In the section “Clippings,” the author presents three collections of clippings: the physicist Ernst Gehrcke’s collection on Einstein, which served as the basis for Gehrcke’s critical articles in the 1920s; the Dada artist Kurt Schwitters’ portfolio Schwarzes Notizbuch IV [Black Notebook IV], which transformed clippings into collages and other art works; and the newspaper clipping archive of the World Economic Archive in Hamburg after 1919.

The book is not free of redundancy. The account becomes most impressive when concrete examples are used and when pictures and historic photographs illustrate processes and methods. Long quotations, extensive citations, and the bibliography of more than 500 titles show the author’s familiarity with the material. [wub/gh]

Die jüdische Presse im europäischen Kontext 1686–1990 [The Jewish Press in the European Context, 1686-1990]. Ed. Susanne Marten-Finnis and Markus Winkler. Bremen: Edition Lumière, 2006. 290 p. ill. 24 cm. (Die jüdische Presse, 1; Presse und Geschichte, 21). ISBN 3-934686-36-2: EUR 34 [07-1-044]

Die jüdische Presse: Forschungsmethoden, Erfahrungen, Ergebnisse [The Jewish Press: Research Methods, Experiences, Results]. Ed. Susanne Marten-Finnis and Markus Bauer, with Markus Winkler. Bremen: Edition Lumière, 2007. 188 p. ill. 23 cm. (Die jüdische Presse, 2; Presse und Geschichte, 28). ISBN 978-3-934686-45-8: EUR 34 [07-1-045]

The history of the Jewish press in Europe, especially in Germany, is a specialized topic that has become known neither through comprehensive scholarly publications nor through sustained research projects. An excellent summary of research up to now is “Der Gegenstand böte genügend Attraktion”: ein Forschungsüberblick zur Geschichte der jüdischen Presse des 18. bis 20. Jahrhunderts im deutschen Sprach- und Kulturraum [“The Topic would be Attraction Enough “: An Overview of Research on the History of the Jewish Press from the 18th to 20th Century in the German-Speaking Areas], by Johannes Valentin Schwarz, p. 3-76 in the Jahrbuch für Kommunikationsgeschichte 9 (2007). Very recently, scholars in various academic disciplines have come together in a European network, and an early result of this effort is the publication of selected revised papers from a conference held at Queen’s University in Belfast in May 2003 under the title “The Jewish Press in the European Context.” “Jewish press” is understood as “press by Jews for Jews” and reflects in all its manifestations the fate of the Jewish diaspora in the European countries. This Jewish press only seldom included newspapers or magazines that became known beyond their local audiences and is understood not to be the great newspapers published by persons of Jewish extraction for non-Jews and Jews alike (the “Jewish press” reviled by anti-Semites). Under what simple conditions these local publishers worked (like many other local publications at the time) is shown and illustrated with statistics in Schwarz’s article. The volume opens with a paper on the oldest Yiddish newspaper in Amsterdam at the end of the 17th century; after that come three papers on the Jewish press in Germany in the 18th and 19th centuries, and four others on the Jewish press in Eastern and Southeastern Europe in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. Three papers deal with problems of Jewish identity, five more treat political and cultural debates of the interwar period, and the final one is concerned with the Jewish newspaper in the GDR. The writers of this newest research span the continent from Belfast to Tel-Aviv and Jerusalem.

The publication from the subsequent conference held two years later, in 2005, again in Belfast, does not match the initial volume and its breadth of content. There are nine papers, three on methods and conceptual questions and six on Jewish identity in the press in the 19th and 20th centuries. This volume has an index of personal names and an index of newspapers and magazines (which would have been even more useful for the first volume). It is to be hoped that, following this initial enthusiasm, more researchers will present the varied topics this field deserves for its historical significance. [wub/gh].

Gelehrte Journale und Zeitungen der Aufklärung: zur Entstehung, Entwicklung und Erschließung deutschsprachiger Rezensionszeitschriften des 18. Jahrhunderts [Scholarly Journals and Periodicals of the Enlightenment: On the Origin, Development and Indexing of German-Language Review Periodicals in the 18th Century]. Thomas Habel. Bremen: Edition Lumière, 2007. 534 p. ill. 23 cm. (Presse und Geschichte, 17). ISBN 978-3-934686-28-1: EUR 39.80 [07-1-046]

Thomas Habel, director since 2002 of the Systematischer Index zu deutschsprachigen Rezensions-Zeitschriften des 18. Jahrhunderts [Systematic Index of 18th-Century German-Language Review Periodicals], a project sponsored by the Akademie der Wissenschaften [Academy of Sciences] in Göttingen, describes in this impressive publication the material basis of the project.

The book contains 12 chapters and four extensive appendices. Subjects covered in the main chapter include the bibliographic situation of journals both in the 18th century and today, journal titles, frequency of publication, currency, length of publication, economic situation, circulation, distribution, readership, publisher, and the anonymity (or otherwise) of review authors. Also covered is the scope of materials reviewed–whether a journal reviewed all new German publications, important publications from both Germany and abroad, subject-specific publications, publications limited by geography or confession, and/or included reviews of review journals. Other chapters deal with the question of whether the reviews followed general norms of objectivity, truthfulness, avoidance of ad hominem, etc.; the “shadow side” of reviewing (self-interest, conceit, jealousy, etc.); and a presentation of the indexing project at Göttingen (http://idrz18.adw-goettingen.gwdg.de).

The appendices comprise a third of the volume and include one- to two-page descriptions of 64 review journals, as well as bibliographies of both periodicals and other works from the 18th century and modern secondary literature.

Although the volume displays a high degree of scholarly competency, the exclusion of other than German-language periodicals seems arbitrary in view of the supranational and multilingual character of the Enlightenment. [wub/rc]

Signal: eine deutsche Auslandsillustrierte als Propagandainstrument im Zweiten Weltkrieg [Signal: A German International Illustrated Magazine as a Propaganda Tool in the Second World War]. Rainer Rutz. Essen: Klartext-Verlag, 2007. 446 p. ill. 22 cm. ISBN 978-3-89861-720-8: EUR 34 [07-1-047]

This dissertation from Berlin’s Humboldt University examines the forces behind the remarkable international success of Signal, an illustrated magazine published biweekly from April 1940 to March 1945 by Deutscher Verlag Berlin (Ullstein, before the War). More than 2.5 million copies were printed in 1943 alone, the magazine appeared in more than 20 languages, and its circulation penetrated the neutral European countries Switzerland, Spain, Portugal, and Sweden, as well as Japan, North Africa, North and South America, and Iran. The idea for the magazine was conceived by psychologists and public relations specialists working for the German Army, and was pushed through over the opposition of the propaganda ministry led by Joseph Goebbels.

The author’s research highlights the professionalism that not only made the magazine popular and influential, but also propelled many of its staffers into high-profile careers in the postwar Federal Republic, and while the unsettling implications of this connection are duly noted, further investigation will be welcome. A name index is strangely absent. This well-written, competently researched, and strikingly illustrated study might have addressed other topics, as well, such as the workings of the wide-ranging translation service and the relative importance of inspiration and established theory in the genesis of Signal. [frh/gw]


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