In today’s high-choice media environment, normative functions of the public sphere are not only attributed to journalistic mass media but increasingly to non-journalistic or semi-journalistic alternative media. Satirical shows, for instance, which are distributed in TV and online, are frequently perceived as sources for political information and as opinion leaders about current issues. On social media, professional and amateur community members have launched news formats that constitute alternatives to TV newscasts. Both, satirical shows as well as online news formats combine principles of information and entertainment and they reach a rather young audience. This project analyzes in what way satirical shows and new online news formats address normative functions of the public sphere and what degree of information and orientation on politics can be taken from these programs. Therefore the role concepts of satirists and video creators as well as their role performance that becomes manifest in media content are analyzed. Role concepts are examined conducting qualitative interview studies and asking, for instance, for goals and motivations, production process and restrictions in the daily work. Regarding role performance, quantitative content analysis reveals to what extent satirical shows and online news formats address political issues, how they deepen political information, and how they provide orientation regarding political issues.


Dennis Lichtenstein (Contact)

Cooperation Partners

Dr. Martin Herbers (Zeppelin University)

Dr. Cordula Nitsch (Heinrich Heine University Düsseldorf)

Anna Wagner, M.A. (University of Augsburg)

Publications and Lectures