Wartime Media Consumption: ‘You’ve Got to Take a Long Time’ | NDR.de

Status: 04/19/2022 4:50 PM

Have reporting and media consumption changed since the start of the Ukraine war? A conversation with Christian Chicha, Professor of Media Ethics in Erlangen.

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Christian Sheesha: Basically, coverage – at least from what I see – is relatively consistent. It is regularly reported with words and pictures. What develops is who speaks politically. There are also disagreements at the political level, such as what aid should be provided in military terms. In that respect, this is a relatively consistent report, which in my view has not changed significantly in recent weeks.

What is it like for consumers of the media when you are in such a tunnel of bad news every day? What is your reaction to this?

hookah: People react completely differently. Some are trying to suppress it completely, not to confront and expand on this news. The opposite effect happens with people like me trying to capture as much as possible. I think there is a healthy middle ground somewhere in the middle, because the emotional bleeding that horror images and horror news can leave us with is so exciting that you have to take the time to process it.

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These timeouts have been deliberately chosen by the motto: Now am I dealing with this?

hookah: Yes, I think I hope it reflects on one’s life in general, but also one’s media reception. In my view, it is quite legitimate – at least I chose the strategy myself – that after a certain period you no longer want to deal with it in order to get a restful sleep. If you are aware of these endless episodes and these horror reports and deal with them day and night, it is not good for your mental health. I don’t think you have to blame yourself for taking these breaks.

I can imagine a lot of people feeling like they’re doing this with a guilty conscience, but they still feel the need to do it.

hookah: I agree. I think this is totally legitimate as well. There are other topics that are not relevant and do not pose a threat, but people have to work to a certain point and try to stay stable. In this regard, it is justified to do other things and also turn to positive things in order to regain strength, which can also have a constructive effect on willingness to donate or commit.

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This is a conflict so richly illustrated that we have never seen it before. This also leads to the fact that horror appears more and more implicitly. What is the punishment?

hookah: Here too, I cannot commit myself to a clear statement, because people react differently here too. There are those who are defensive as well as those who perceive it as an attraction. There are people who have strong sympathy, pity, but sometimes anger too – so it is very difficult to connect this to a common denominator. This also changes over time, because the central point in the context of reporting is that topics eventually become less important. This war, which will probably last for many weeks, will not lessen in horror either, but it is feared that at some point the attention will recede, because these images and reports of horror always lead to a certain reaction, i.e. defensive, develop and you do not want to deal with it anymore.

How should the media deal with such interaction?

hookah: making it a problem. I think all the reports make sense as the journalists think for themselves and say frankly how they handle situations. So it’s not the classic box where the reporter reports what’s going on, but I always find it very useful when the reporters themselves say how they see it on the site. So it’s not just what happens now, but also what he does to them in the end. Personally, I find it very helpful to think about such an exceptional situation as well as make it public.

You have also said that you are also very selective in your personal media consumption. Does this also have anything to do with the media you’re consuming?

hookah: Yes, of course. I try to deal primarily with high-quality media and focus primarily on TV and radio reporting by the public service media, because this is where I have the most confidence and I know that there are mechanisms that ensure, for example, that images are not permanently displayed where faces can be seen the victims. I know this will reflect on that and that people will think about how to report it.

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When you see these people suffering, what happens inside of us?

hookah: The normal response is empathy, compassion, and perhaps a willingness to help and donate. Willingness to donate is very high, and refugees are strongly supported. These are definitely positive signs. But there is also anger, disgust, disgust and hatred. There was a whole series of attacks on Russians in Germany over the weekend, and these are very problematic developments.

How do you currently monitor the possibility of scandals in other processes in politics or in business? You might actually think it’s all about this war now – but I don’t have that feeling.

hookah: Yes, of course this is also a problem when you have such a focus. We’ve had Corona almost exclusively in our reporting two years ago, and now we’re mainly focused on the war. This is of course important and meaningful and must be reported with words and images, but life has a whole host of other aspects that also play an important role. Of course, the Ukraine war is a disaster, but the situation in Syria, Afghanistan or in Africa, where there are always wars, must also be reported. The threat and perceived convergence are not that great, but there should be reports that are comprehensive and substantive in kind with an emphasis on the broadest possible scope.

led the interview Misha Criscott.

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Culture NDR | The magazine | 04/19/2022 | 6:00 pm

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