Die Konferenz “Future of Journalism” an der Cardiff University hat sich alle zwei Jahre als der internationale Treffpunkt der Journalismusforscher bewährt. In diesem Jahr steht die Tagung vom 14. bis zum 15. September unter dem Titel “Journalism in a post-truth age?”. Zusammen mit Daniela Kraus und Edith Michaeler (fjum Wien) werde ich zum Thema “Audience Engagement in a Post-Truth Age. What it means and how to learn the activities connected with it” vortragen. Unser Beitrag wurde aus über 300 Einreichungen ausgewählt. Wir verstehen “Audience Engagement” ganzheitlich: hier eine Kurzform unseres Abstracts.
In any discussion about a “post-truth age”, the audience is both part of the problem and part of the solution. The authority of journalism is called into question if everyone can participate in generating and spreading verified and unverified, relevant and irrelevant “news”. At the same time journalism can integrate the audience into the editorial process and dialogue in an unprecedented variety of ways, thereby disclosing the way journalism works and raising awareness for the difference between journalism and propaganda as well as other forms of mis- and disinformation. Thus “Audience Engagement” is becoming a key factor for journalism in a post-truth era. By providing a theoretical framework, this paper analyses all the dimensions of audience engagement in a holistic sense and explores the opportunities and risks in regard to fake news and journalistic credibility. The empirical study evaluated an innovative “Learning Lab Audience Engagement”, for which 20 journalists and engagement professionals and three coaches met repeatedly in Vienna during a period of eight months. The results show factors for a successful audience engagement. Above all a paradigm shift away from a “lecturing” towards a “dialogue” approach changes not only journalism, media and newsroom cultures: Educational institutions and programmes have to change their attitude accordingly. The experience of the participants suggest that a broad understanding of media and training organisations alike as “engaging organisations” brings with it several challenges and limitations, but can help to raise trust and credibility.