Moving Beyond the Mediated Discourse - How the Austrian Public and Journalists Understand the "War on Terror" and How This Relates Newspaper Depictions.

Thursday, 14 July 2016: 11:57
Location: Hörsaal 10 (Juridicum)
Oral Presentation
Dimitri PRANDNER, University of Salzburg / University of Linz, Austria
Discourse analysis of journalistic text is currently one of the most relevant concepts in the social sciences, when it comes to analysing the emergence of meaning and knowledge about certain events that are tied to the transnational and global processes that shape the still early 21st century.

Because of this my paper aims to critically ask how information gained in a media based discourse analysis relates to the interpretation about certain events in the public sphere and how journalists reflect on their output and the decision making processes that influenced this.

Grounding this discussion in an Austrian case study I start with a qualitative content analysis of material published by national quality-press Der Standard (n=687) and Die Presse (n=689) from 2001 to 2011, that discusses the war on terror (WoT) - used as an example for a global conflict that shapes the current geopolitical situation. The strains of discourse found in this material is used confront journalists (n=25, guided interviews done in 2012) with the output they provided, how it came to be and how they understand the discourse now.

It is illustrated that the published material does not necessary match the journalists understanding of the discourse nor their knowledge about the WoT. This is furthered via an in-deep discussion about journalistic practices as well as a contextualization of power balances within and outside the journalistic enterprises emerge as intervening variables. Additionally, it can be noted that the depictions of the discourse provided by the journalists during the interviews relate more closely to a stratified non-full-probability-online-survey (n=846) on Austrians, than the content found in their media.

Furthermore, there are only a limited number of core issues in the mediate discourse that endure the ten years observed, they are not necessary present in the public discourse.

These results are used to discuss wider implications regarding (miss-)alignments of discourses and illustrate methodological possibilities to combine media-content based data with interview-based material, while limiting possible negative effects on result validity.