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Discarded news

  • When important news fail to reach their recipients, namely, the politically interested, socially open-minded public, we sometimes refer to this process as agenda cutting. This article presents the key theoretical positions on this under-researched phenomenon, presenting important study results as well as our own empirical findings on internal editorial decision-making processes whereby topics are removed from the agenda. Last, we will critically examine the role of the audience as an actor in agenda cutting, which could be described as »news ignorance«.[1] The top story showcased by Initiative Nachrichtenaufklärung (INA) e.V. in 2022 was the creeping abolition of free textbooks in German schools. In a public radio broadcast, the head of TV news magazine Tagesthemen and deputy editor-in-chief of ARD-Aktuell, Helge Fuhst, conceded that he considered this topic highly relevant, yet it had indeed not been covered in his TV news program. »Leaving out topics is, in fact, the most difficult challenge,« Fuhst said. »Having to drop topics hurts every day. There are only a few days a year when we have absolutely no idea what to put on the air.« (WDR 2022) The process of news selection is editorial routine, which includes omitting, discarding, or abandoning topics. When this negative process is intentional, it can also be referred to as agenda cutting. This term from the field of communications science describes a distinct form of editorial routine that has been little studied to date and whose mechanisms, with their considerable influence on the formation of public opinion, are in urgent need of media research scrutiny.

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Document Type:Article
Author:Hektor Haarkötter
Subtitle (English):On news enlightenment, agenda cutting, and news ignorance
Parent Title (English):Journalistik. Zeitschrift für Journalismusforschung
Number of pages:20
First Page:114
Last Page:133
Publisher:Herbert von Halem Verlag
Place of publication:Köln
Publishing Institution:Hochschule Bonn-Rhein-Sieg
Date of first publication:2022/07/15
Copyright:This article is distributed under Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International (CC BY 4.0).
Departments, institutes and facilities:Fachbereich Sozialpolitik und Soziale Sicherung
Dewey Decimal Classification (DDC):0 Informatik, Informationswissenschaft, allgemeine Werke / 07 Publizistische Medien, Journalismus, Verlagswesen / 070 Publizistische Medien, Journalismus, Verlagswesen
Entry in this database:2022/08/23
Licence (German):License LogoCreative Commons - CC BY - Namensnennung 4.0 International