journalism & theory

Cover: Ist was? Label: Medien und Neue Rechte Zeichnung Label: Diagnose: Unsichtbar Logo: Diagnose: Unsichtbar Screenshot: Feinstaubprojekt Feinstaub-Messungsdaten Feinstaubkit Label: Feinstaubprojekt Screenshot: Field Trip Digital Talks: Gruppe lauscht Masarah Paquet-Clouston Label: Digital Talks


The Multimedia and Authorship degree program sees itself as a laboratory for science and digital journalism. In different formats and projects, we bring together a variety of scientific disciplines as well as media and cultural organizations in order to explore relevant questions of the present in a scientific and praxis-oriented way. As a university master’s program, we enjoy the freedom to take risks.

Our course content lives from the students’ commitment and desired topics as well as the questions and ideas of our partners from the fields of science, journalism, culture and the creative industries. We are open to cooperation and also individuals and media projects looking for a professional experimental field or collaboration.

We actively and self-critically explore our own diversity and questions of representation and discrimination in scientific and journalistic production. We also intend to subject unpleasant or previously ignored topics to both scientific and journalistic examination. A selection of our projects in recent years can be found here.

Digital Talks

The Digital Talks conversational and workshop format brings journalists and scientists together in an academic environment and thus stimulates interdisciplinary exchange between the fields of research and journalism. Thus, we inspire scientific and practical media work at our Department of Media and Communication Studies.

For example, when ethnology met journalism: the author and producer Frédéric Dubois showed students of ethnology and Multimedia and Authorship excerpts from his interactive documentary film Field Trip about Tempelhof Airport in Berlin. Subsequently, students discussed journalistic and ethnological field work with him. As a result, students and the participating researchers had new ideas for their own projects.

This discussion about ethnological and journalistic work was particularly reflected in the format developments of our MMA students, resulting in the seminar Dis-Harmonies: Anthropological Views and Medial Constructions of the Other. Media formats were developed from anthropological and ethnological perspectives that deal with differentiating perspectives on the political others, social outcasts and personally repulsive individuals.

The Digital Talks format, initiated by Patrick Vonderau and Maren Schuster, produced exchange on cross-cutting issues such as digital methods and representation. Further information can be found on the website of the Department of Media and Communication Studies.

Diagnosis: Invisible, medicine and media-transfer project

Diagnosis: Invisible (“Diagnose: Unsichtbar”) is a journalistic project that examines the impact of social inequality on health. The 2019-2021 master’s class worked with medical students to develop formats that deal with themes involving social medicine.

The physicians shared their expertise with our students, and together they converted scientific jargon into language more accessible to the target groups. Thus, it could be guaranteed that the symptoms, preventative measures and problems are easier to understand while still described correctly.

For the doctors, this offered the opportunity to consider medicine in terms of society as a whole and develop new ways and ideas of how to deal with social medicine and communicate their knowledge to a general public. Their work can benefit from experiences from this project. In addition, a network of physicians and journalists formed, which may be used for other projects.

As a result, the podcast Unbehandelt, the social-medicine newsletter Upstream, the multimedia long-form essay Von ungleichen (T)Räumen and the journalistic Instagram project @bittere.pille were all created.

Maren Schuster was responsible for the project’s concept and journalism. Amand Führer, researcher at the MLU’s Institute of Epidemiology, Biometry and Computer Science, supported the project professionally as a physician and with his network. Inputs of scientists and journalists to podcasting, journalism at Instagram and data journalism accompanied the project Diagnosis: Invisible in the implementation phase.

The transfer project was also supported by the Transfer- und Gründerservice of the MLU. Among other things, they financed the development phase of a design-thinking workshop by Jonas Kirel, Franziska Gerlow and Paul Schweidler from Gerlow+Kühl. In addition, Diagnosis: Invisible was supported by the international media network Are We Europe, so that a part of the project was implemented in English with a European and cross-border journalist perspective.

Particulate Matter: Sensor journalism, bots and citizens science

The theme of particulate matter convinced us because it is scientifically and journalistically challenging. For the Multimedia and Authorship master’s program, it was an entry into science journalism, and at the same time, we wanted to test with MDR Saxony-Anhalt Online to what extent sensor data can be used in journalism and is interesting for the audience.

Professionally, TROPOS of the Leibniz Institute for Tropospheric Research provided support. The Fraunhofer Institute for Microstructure of Materials and Systems made sensor technology available for the citizens-science project Surveying the World 2.0, which was then explained by their employees and Eigenbaukombinat.

Inputs on data and sensor journalism, AI and bot technology, and a workshop on science journalism were the starting point to find out through design thinking with all involved researchers and students which journalistic approaches and formats are sustainable.

The result is a Scrollytelling format about fine-dust measurement with bees at Leipzig/Halle Airport, a self-experiment using a fine-dust kit and interactive card, as well as the Twitter bot Dustin Air. Dustin Air responds to keywords such as barbecue or printer and provides entertaining facts about air-pollution potential. Twitter has turned off Dustin, but his answers and all projects are published at MDR Saxony-Anhalt Online.

Media and new rights

At the request of the students, we have been intensively dealing with the new right-wing for years. As an institute that researches media effects and the media producers of tomorrow, we believe we have a special responsibility to analyze how right-wing radicals and extremists exploit the media and media attention.

What’s up? The new right-wing in the focus of journalism, science and civil society

In September 2018, lecturers and students in our department, journalists, scientists of various disciplines and civil-society and cultural actors from Central Germany, Berlin and Vienna accepted our invitation to exchange views concerning media representation of the new right-wing.

Together with our lecturers Maren Schuster and Claudia Böttcher, a historian and media scientist, students in the seminar Media and the New Right-wing designed and realized the workshop meeting of the same name. At the same time, we interviewed for our seminars on media praxis people who deal with the topic scientifically, artistically or politically and worked on visual strategies for dealing with the new right-wing in journalism.

What is it? Scientific investigations of the new rights

All students of the Multimedia and Authorship master’s program received the chance to participate in a winter school on communication patterns of radicalization. A Viennese research group explained its methodology for research of radicalization processes in social media and at the same time conducted a media-usage experiment with students on the audiovisual representation of link-wing and right-wing violence.

This gave our students ideas for their own research practice. The research work from Vienna led to several master’s theses, one of which examined deplatforming of the identitarian movement and their migration from social media to Telegram groups.

It is something! Journalistic reflections about the new right-wing

How do journalists deal with representatives of the new right-wing? Where is the border between necessary reporting, and where does the podium begin for inhuman ideologies? This and other questions are dedicated to the booklet IST WAS? Medien und Journalismus in Zeiten der Neuen Rechten. This is an interdisciplinary study project that Gitte Kießling and Maren Schuster as senior lecturers of Multimedia and Authorship have realized together with students and in cooperation with the graphic designer Andine Müller of the University of Media, Communication and Business Berlin.

The booklet’s media activities also reflect the issues mentioned above and explore the boundaries between scientific, journalistic and artistic approaches. It was published by Vistas Verlag with the support of the Network Research e. V..