Panel discussion: The future of media, communication and information

The panel discussed

Moritz Döbler has been editor-in-chief of the Weser-Kurier since January 2015. As was already the case as managing editor at Tagesspiegel, he is responsible for the further development of the paper and the development of new business areas. Prior to this, Moritz Döbler worked for the news agencies dpa and Reuters.

Anke Domscheit-Berg, a freelance consultant, is an expert in open government and the digital society. After working for Microsoft and the IT consultancy Accenture, she founded the portal for e- and open government issues. She is a voluntary campaigner for greater transparency in public administration, among other things.

Dr Leif Kramp is a research coordinator at the Centre for Media, Communication and Information (ZeMKI) at the University of Bremen. He is the author and co-editor of numerous specialised books on the topics of media change and journalism. He moderated the panel discussion.

Nico Lumma is co-founder of the Next Media Accelerator in Hamburg and works as a media and digital entrepreneur, consultant, blogger and digital expert. He gained experience in the advertising industry at Scholz & Friends and Digital Pioneers. In 2012, Nico Lumma was named one of the most important minds on the German internet by Wirtschaftswoche magazine. According to his own statement, he has not been offline since 1995.

Jan Metzger is the director of Radio Bremen and patron of the 28th Bremen University Talks. At the beginning of his career, he was a foreign correspondent for ARD in Spain and Portugal, then went on to become a reporter and head of department at Hessian Television and most recently worked in the ZDF editorial department of heute-journal.

Kramp: Finally, we would like to take the opportunity with our guests from the media industry to compare our academic perspectives with practical experience and find out how the many theses and empirical results that have been presented to us over the course of the day are perceived. We will discuss the situation and possibilities of news media, the significance of digital communication in our everyday lives, but also how we deal with the constantly growing volume of data and the risks and potential that this entails. What are the connecting lines? From a scientific perspective, there are of course two very important connecting lines for us: One is that of communication, how we communicate in this society, which is highly mediatised at all levels, and the other is that of information, how we inform ourselves. Ms Domscheit-Berg, this whole development is of course about technologies, which are the basis for communication and information in a mediatised world. On the other hand, however, it is also always about the appropriation of these technologies and their actual use. With the rapid spread of smartphones, especially among young people, and the success that digital media services such as Facebook and many others are enjoying among users of all ages, do we have to trust digital information and communication technologies to a certain extent in order for progress to be possible, so that this development can take place at all?

Domscheit-Berg: I wouldn't confirm this assumption because I don't share it. I don't believe that people express that they trust a service just by the fact that they use it. I would like to quote my son. He's 15 and has actually wanted to use WhatsApp since he was 13. But then he stayed away from it all by himself - after all, he is my son. But one day when he was 14, he told me that he simply couldn't cope without WhatsApp any longer: The social pressure and being excluded had simply become too much for him. He knew that WhatsApp was highly problematic because the service does all sorts of crap with his data. However, he didn't feel that he really had a choice when it came to his social environment. All communication in the classroom takes place via WhatsApp: Which homework should be done and how, which tasks might be on tomorrow's class test, when a lesson will be cancelled and you can sleep longer. The social cost of not participating was too great for him. And that doesn't mean that he thinks what WhatsApp does is okay. I therefore think that responsibility cannot be unilaterally shifted to the users. Just like in road traffic, we need rules for the use of digital media that protect people from what they don't know, but also from what they think they can't do without. And when it comes to a monopolistic position, there is something like abuse of a monopoly position in the analogue world in our legal system. Why don't we apply the same thing digitally? And then we come to the oldest lie on the internet: "I've read the terms and conditions." Nobody reads these texts because they are simply too long and you need legal expertise to understand them. Regulation could make a difference here: I would like to see a requirement for simple general terms and conditions, for example on half a page with pictograms that clearly convey meaning - like traffic signs. You can understand them even without a law degree and an IQ of 120. It would also have to be forbidden - just like sweepstakes cannot be linked to the purchase of any products - to collect data that is not even necessary for the use of an app. This was the case with a torch app where you had to agree to the collection of location data, even though this was not necessary for the operation of this function.

Kramp: How does this social pressure that you describe, which arises from the actual use of certain services and technologies, affect other areas such as news production? To what extent do considerations of monetising user data play a role here, Mr Döbler?

Döbler: I'm not responsible for monetisation, but for the content that we produce on our various channels - newspapers or online. We have a dialogue with our readers, our users, but we don't collect their data in the sense you described. I think there are opt-ins on our apps and none of it is monetised in the direct immediate sense. The worst that can happen is that you get an email from us, which is also manageable. I don't think that's our area of expertise.

Metzger: I agree with every word Mrs Domscheit-Berg said, both as a citizen and as a media person. How do we behave as media people? Of course, we are not completely free from sin, that is quite clear. When we refer users at Bremen Vier to Facebook, or when we distribute things via Facebook or other social networks, we are basically enticing people to use these business and usage models. So that's part of the social pressure you just described. As far as we ourselves are concerned, we are currently still in the - you could say either unfortunate or comfortable - position of not being able to utilise user data at all. We can't. The best we can do is the one or other newsletter that you can order from us. I am involved in a project to develop a next-generation ARD media library that can be personalised, and of course we are immediately involved in this. It is very clear that such services only work via opt-ins, which means that the person who wants to personalise must expressly agree to the use of data. And behind the opt-in is data protection and the protection of minors. We have data protection officers, we have youth protection officers, they look at everything - and in the end there will be something like an ARD data user charter, where it is precisely written that data will only be used for the relevant purpose and can be deleted by the user at any time. It should be as easy to opt in as it is to opt out. We want to remain the good guys in this whole game. We will see whether we succeed in the end, but the scruples are great and the hurdles are high.
"Data protection as a competitive advantage"

Kramp: When you evoke the game between 'good' and 'evil': The bulk of the media industry seems to be less concerned about these problematic issues. Nico Lumma, companies from the digital creative industry often aim their business models directly at analysing advertising-relevant usage data. Is this more liberal approach to digital traces a factor for entrepreneurial success? And is the reticence that Mr Metzger just mentioned perhaps even a competitive disadvantage?

Lumma: Yes, that's the usual lament. I think it's the other way round. I believe that tough, proper data protection is a competitive advantage and companies from the German advertising industry that adhere to it and place their cookies and collect their data in compliance with data protection regulations do indeed have a competitive advantage because they can use transparency criteria to explain what they collect, why and for what purpose. I'm not a data protection hysteric who freaks out every time a cookie is placed. I'm relatively relaxed about it all. But in general, I think the rather stricter German data protection law is a great competitive advantage. Because the question of trust was raised at the beginning: I tend to trust the advertising industry to abide by it in this respect. But of course it is also a disadvantage if an American market player is relatively dominant.

Döbler: I don't believe, at least in my opinion as a non-scientist - perhaps it's a naive view of the subject to a certain extent - that you can really get to grips with this issue of data protection if you look at what Google or other companies are doing. Mrs Domscheit-Berg mentioned the case of the data-collecting smartphone torch: The purpose of the torch is not to provide light, but to generate data. The purpose of Google's self-driving car is also not to create mobility, but to generate data. So I don't think you can get a grip on these phenomena with a little more or less data protection. The economy has changed completely, data has become a commodity and this is fuelling billion-dollar corporations. And anyone who believes that they can do something about this with a data protection officer from the state of Bremen is misjudging the situation.
"It's still about the content of the media and its credibility."

Kramp: The news industry also seems to be on the defensive when it comes to shaping media change. They react more to exogenous developments than setting the tone themselves: The major innovations of the past ten to 15 years have been introduced by new market players: Google with its impetus for information management and knowledge organisation, Facebook with its community platform, Twitter with its short messaging service and so on: all ideas that could have come from publishing houses. We don't need to discuss here whether the change has been overslept in terms of business models. But how can we actively shape the ongoing media change better in the future?

Döbler: Change is not something that originally affects the media. There are other sectors that are much more affected. Banking, for example, is virtually dead because there is neither interest nor a business model. The branch model has become obsolete. This means that the media are not in a special situation, but are in exactly the same situation as almost all sectors, namely that the business models in the sectors are changing radically. I believe that, as media, we need to have answers in three areas: The first answer is a technological one: I have no idea how technologies will continue to develop. We saw the iPad for the first time a few years ago. Who knows how we will consume media in five or ten years' time? Maybe it will be a head-up display, maybe it will be a film on which you read something. Whatever. The second answer concerns business models: I don't believe that the business models of the future will differ significantly from the ones we have at the moment. People will pay as users or readers, and they will pay as advertisers. These are the two main business models and they still work in all media companies. The third answer concerns the fact that someone who wants to sell something must also have something to sell. I think that's the most important point. So it's still about the content of the media and its credibility. If you really want to know something, you go to the media brands. It doesn't necessarily have to be the Weser-Kurier, in Bremen it's probably Radio Bremen and the Weser-Kurier together, if it's 9/11, maybe it's the New York Times. But it's the strong media brands that have the credibility that many other media don't have. In the end, it's really about whether we deliver content that attracts readers and users. And I think we've made a lot of progress in this area in recent years. Today's journalism is very different to that of 20 or 30 years ago. Much more innovative, much more exciting, much closer to the reader, more emotional. I can no longer listen to this badmouthing of an industry, because it's not true either: Newspapers, the media, are better today than they have ever been. We reach more readers than we ever did - but on different channels.
"I am ... optimistic and, as far as our own organisations are concerned, militant."

Metzger: I believe that media change is a consequence of technological change and the resulting economic changes. I am therefore not pessimistic at all, but on the contrary optimistic and, as far as our own organisations are concerned, militant. We are in the following situation, to pick up on this again structurally: We have many people who, when they press one on the remote control, want to watch ARD's first programme, when they press two, they want to watch ZDF and so on. When they press a certain station button on the radio, they want Bremen Eins or Bremen Vier to come on. These people are licence fee payers and they will continue to use media the way they do now for a long time to come. That's one side and when we talk about media change in our circles, there are always those who say: "Yes, it's all good, people watch the Tagesschau anyway." But there is also the other side and that is exactly what we are working for in our organisations and what I am personally fighting for. A lot is changing and we need to embrace this change. I absolutely agree with what Moritz Döbler said: There's a lot happening. We're not sleeping at all. We just have to continue to serve our core audience, our linear socialised audience, well. That's part of our mission and we also have to try out new audiences, new distribution channels, new forms of journalism - if possible with the same money, because there hasn't been a cent extra for years. And that's exactly what we're doing. That's why I'm not pessimistic at all, but believe that as new audiences grow, we will also find answers as to how we can reach them. This is always a bit tough in our public service sector. We've been talking about the young ARD and ZDF programme for four or five years now, rather than two. I am relatively convinced that we will reach young people as part of our public service remit. Sometimes you have to give your colleagues a bit of a fright. Generational demolition is such a buzzword. Yes, we have to move, that's the message internally. But we are moving and so far we have come up with a lot of good things.
"My son even gets highly political news, he watches it on LeFloid on YouTube" or "We don't have too much information, we have a filter problem!"

Domscheit-Berg: I have to quote my son again - he'll probably be pleased when I tell him this later - but the only thing he watches on public television is Die Anstalt and he doesn't watch it on the internet with the remote control, but with the keyboard. I got rid of the TV two or three years before he was born and I thought that when he went to nursery school and everyone was talking about the same films and he came home one day and said that he wanted a TV, I would give in and buy another one.  I'm still waiting for that day today. In 15 years, my son has never once come home and said that he wants a television. It just doesn't matter to him. But that doesn't mean he's not interested in daily news. He gets his news, he even gets highly political news, which he watches on LeFloid on YouTube, like many, many others from his generation. It's also a news channel, even if it's not the Tagesschau. You could say that people will continue to use certain traditional channels for a very, very long time - that may be true. Life expectancy is currently around 81, I think, but at some point it will be over. You also have to look a little more closely at those who use other channels. I don't think the train has left the station, but it's still there. Mr Döbler, you said that the business models won't change that much, people will pay to read. I believe that too. But I think they will do it in a completely different way. I still have a newspaper subscription, but the pile is getting bigger and bigger in the corner of the kitchen and there's trouble with the husband over these unread piles of newspapers. What I actually need with my lifestyle - and quite a lot of people do something similar - is always on: I don't just want news or information from one medium, I want it from lots of media and I want it on my specific areas of interest, which may be completely different to what you are interested in. I want a programme to be put together for me virtually in real time. There are a number of new developments on the market. People keep talking about a flood of information, but we don't have too much information, we just have a filtering problem. That's why there are many practical start-ups that allow me to fine-tune a filter myself so that it best meets my needs. People pay money to be allowed to use these filters. At the start-up piqd, for example, you have to pay a monthly fee of three euros for the filter. For example, I help filter and explain to other users why they should read which texts. The article kiosk Blendle works differently. It's basically a micropayment system. Not only are articles available that are otherwise hidden behind paywalls, but articles that can be read for free elsewhere are also available. But people read them for money on Blendle because they are actually quite happy to be able to pay for something. It's actually more of a prejudice that everyone - especially young people - always want everything for free. What many people don't realise is that no younger generation has ever paid as much money for media, culture and information as today's generation. This is not the pirate generation, but the high-paying generation. That should be addressed honestly.

Döbler: I'm completely with you. Sure, that's the direction it's going in. It just has to be the case that journalism - which I believe is worth something - can also be paid for in the end. The Reuters news agency had 100 people on site on the evening of the terrorist attacks in Paris. They all have to be paid first. I completely agree with you that readers will pay differently for what they read in the future, but they have to be paid enough.

"I have four children and when I look at how they use the media: yes, my goodness!"

Lumma: So the exciting thing is - if the question is: "Have publishers overslept the change and are now lagging behind?" -is that innovation always comes from the margins. It's very rare for something like this to really take centre stage from the outset and then everyone says: "Wow, it worked!" And what I have noticed is that there are many exciting new developments where the question takes centre stage: How can you refinance journalism? How can you edit content so that people read it again, i.e. at different touch points? More and more are being added. What happens on the Apple Watch? What happens on the head-up display? There is a huge movement on the market, which I personally find totally exciting because the question is no longer "paywall or advertising", but we are now also finding new forms of refinancing journalistic content. When we mention our children, I have to mention that I have set up a real laboratory for media change at home with a lot of social and personal commitment: I have four children and when I look at how they use the media: yes, my goodness! YouTube is something for the older ones. They use Snapchat all day long, with content that is ephemeral. How do you deal with it if you want to be present there with an article that disappears again? It's a really crazy time right now. Media houses have long struggled with the move from print to the web. And now everyone is suddenly starting to read around on these little smartphones. The question is: "How do we monetise this? How does advertising work on them? Does it work at all? And what kind of advertising should it be?" I don't see an industry that is sitting back and thinking that everything will disappear again; instead, everyone is active in many areas and developing new formats.

Döbler: So the anecdotal stories from children and young people are great, I just don't think we reached ten and fifteen-year-olds with newspapers 20 years ago either. It's nice when children and young people look at the newspaper or read us on the iPad, but that's not the goal! The goal is adults; the goal is aspiration. Young adults may not suddenly become newspaper readers at the age of 18, but they may do so if they want to find out about Bremen or the region. Then they will come across content produced by Radio Bremen or the Weser-Kurier in some way. And perhaps when they are 30 and start a family and want to have a say somewhere, they will also use the medium, perhaps not on the channel that we know, or that we have operated since the 18th century, perhaps not on paper, but there is no way around the two brands in the region.

Kramp: Of course, we haven't even come close to addressing all the interesting aspects that we have discussed today, but now we have the opportunity to do so. I would now like to open the round. Here you go!

"All these channels also have a kind of surprise drawer."

vom Lehn (audience): I have a massive problem with someone saying that they only need the information that interests them and that's what they want to pay for and they block out everything else. You can do that, okay, but I would be very worried that at some point you would become an expert idiot. I think it's a shame not to leaf through newspapers from front to back, to be inspired and to think outside the box in other subject areas. Even if I'm not an economist, I should perhaps take an interest in it. I am much more stimulated to deal with these topics when I have this newspaper in front of me in its entirety than when I have a filtered edition online. I still see that as a huge advantage of a high-quality newspaper.

Domscheit-Berg: Of course, I have more than one channel that I use to keep myself informed and anyone who knows me knows that I use Twitter a lot, for example, and not just for sending, but also for receiving. And that's where I come across a lot of things beyond my perhaps classic and manageable areas of interest, where I get a lot of inspiration and also have surprising finds. But even channels like Blendle or piqd don't just have channels like technology or politics, feminism and whatever else you might be interested in, they all have a kind of surprise drawer where you can always find something new. I've realised that when I leaf through the taz, I don't necessarily look at the headline, but at the author. That decides for me whether I read the article or not, because I have my favourite authors. For example, I can set Blendle so that I receive all texts by author X in my drawer, regardless of what the person is currently writing about. This is very much in line with my media consumption. We simply have more options today. You can still read Die Zeit from cover to cover, which keeps you busy for a while, but that's no longer an option for me.

"We get paid for what people don't expect from us."

Döbler: I'd like to give you an example: If you had asked someone in Bremen two or three months ago, "Tell me, would you actually like to finally read a story about Greece again?" most people's answer would probably have been, "No, I've actually read enough of that, I'm not interested." We had the feeling that we were still only ever reading the same thing, so we sent two reporters, two young women, to Greece. They had a look around and brought back a report. And we did one that was eight pages long, so it was a real heavyweight. An eight-page text with a few pictures. That's what a regional newspaper does. What happens? It happens that it's our best-selling Sunday edition of all time, up 18 per cent in single copy sales. That's the challenging thing, trying to tell a story differently - and this isn't an author you know or a topic you were previously interested in - and presenting it in such a way that it actually creates an impact. I think that's what we as a media, as a newspaper, can do better than others. I often say to my editorial team: "We are not paid for what people expect from us, but exactly the opposite. We are paid for what people don't expect from us, the surprising perspective, the interesting insight, the different presentation." The expected, that's free, but the unexpected, the special, that costs money and we don't go to Blendle for that, those eight pages are only available if you buy the Weser-Kurier, otherwise not.

Domscheit-Berg: Blendle is paid for, you know that already?

Döbler: Yes, how much? 10 cents or something like that.

Domscheit-Berg: That's not true, so Der Spiegel posts articles for just under two euros. The providers can set the price themselves. The cheapest articles actually cost 10 cents, most are around 50 cents and there are many for around 99 cents. But there are also longer, good stories that you can get. I subscribe to Politics, I would have received it if the following texts had appeared in the category Our curators recommend today. Such an outstanding text would probably always appear there, it probably wouldn't pass me by. But I never saw it because I would never read the Weser-Kurier in Brandenburg and I don't know anyone who does. But it would suddenly pop up on Blendle, even though the Weser-Kurier is otherwise far away for me, simply because it has an outstanding story on an interesting topic and that gets noticed. In this respect, it would be an opportunity for you to reach readers who are outside your catchment area and even get money from them that is worth mentioning.

Döbler: Okay, then we have an additional distribution channel, that's good.

"As mass media, we have to think about how broadly or how narrowly we position ourselves."

Audience: I also think that you should use many different distribution channels. The film industry is leading the way. It has always managed to utilise many different marketing channels: Cinema, television broadcasting, DVDs, streaming. It's all very well organised in terms of how to make double, triple, quadruple the money on different platforms and also very strongly differentiated according to different target groups. A young person will never spend 1.99 euros on any Spiegel article in their entire life, because they simply spend a lot of money on other things, on streaming services or on their mobile phones, on their data flat rates. Back on topic: It's great that you've discovered Blendle for yourself. I think this is a trend that has developed here over the last ten years - via RSS feeds and Digg and Reddit - so that the interest in updated and very specialised services has increased. And of course you can also flick through the newspaper and find out such amazing things about rabbit breeding clubs and other things that you would never have read otherwise. But if you look at young people, they want extremely in-depth information about their very idiosyncratic interests and we now have the chance that there really is a medium that offers this. Of course, I also put together my own magazine and newspaper and delve extremely deeply into certain topics. Then I get bored when Süddeutsche discovers a topic after a week or Die Zeit after four weeks or sometimes after three months. It's all much more advanced in the primary web medium. In principle, I'm also in favour of journalists walking around Paris and being paid to report on it. But you also have to think about how you can pay for it differently in the end.

Metzger: That leads to the interesting underlying question of whether general mainstream media have a long-term chance in this media change or not. Let me turn it round: I believe that media like ours, which are specialised because they offer a service for a community, i.e. the Weser-Kurier or Radio Bremen for the state of Bremen, Bremen, Bremerhaven and the surrounding area, have a bright future with this specialisation.  Kaninchenzüchterverein sounds a bit patronising or disparaging, let's use it as a code for "What's going on around me? What do I need to know and understand in my community? What are relevant processes and people that concern me, that I may or may not have to vote for again in two years' time?" We are the specialists for the regional. I believe that this is a brilliant prospect for the future, just as other people have brilliant prospects if they set up a European Politico in Brussels or other specialised services. As the mass media, we have to think about how broadly or narrowly we position ourselves. And I am convinced - as far as we, the old media, so to speak, are concerned - that we will continue to do very well in the future by specialising in the region with a service for our community, which supports us and also pays us in the long run, if we fulfil this mission.

Bänsch (audience): I have the feeling that we've been doing a balancing act between pessimism and optimism all day. I have the feeling that the four of you are basically optimistic. It sounds to me as if everything is going to be OK. Please disagree with me if that's not the case. So my question is: what are you afraid of? What are the challenges? What is scary for you when we think about the future of media and digital media?

Lumma: Well, nothing is scary per se. That's the exciting thing. There are so many new things coming, there's always something to do. When we talk about local and regional, we can also talk about hyperlocal perspectives, where the philosopher's stone has still not been found. There are still so many challenges, that's wonderful, there's nothing scary about it.

"I know from back then that there is no such thing as innocent information."

Domscheit-Berg: Well, I find quite a lot of things pretty scary. A few of them have already been mentioned during the course of the day. I come from the GDR. I have a very real fear of digital totalitarianism and I don't think it's a horror vision, but rather a possible future scenario. Whether we get there or not is a completely different matter, but it will depend on whether we do something about it or not. So at the moment we are in a boat moving in a river that has a certain current. If we don't do anything about it and row backwards, then it will go in this one direction. There are many developments that make it easier for intelligence services to find a new raison d'être or that enable technological phenomena such as the Internet of Things. I find it totally fascinating that you can now equip street lamps with motion sensors and they only switch the light on when a person walks past, and a small wall of light always goes up in front of you and then it switches off again. You can save 80 per cent electricity that way - it's really great. But if someone adds facial recognition software and a camera with artificial intelligence, then this street lamp can tell someone else that Anke is walking past at 11.42 pm. That's really creepy. I'm not talking about some guy who suddenly jumps out from behind the next bush, but things like movement profiles. At some point it will be possible to link this to my blood sugar levels and preferences, my fears and passions, my relationship networks and what I spend a lot or little money on. These are more detailed profiles that give a more accurate picture of me than I have of myself. I was 21 when the Wall came down. I was very active in the opposition as a student, so I got to know the Stasi from personal experience and I know from back then that there is no such thing as innocent information. It always depends on the context of the information and it can be used against you, no matter what it is. In my case, the Stasi tried to blackmail me into becoming an IM with the simple information that they knew my father was the sole breadwinner and a municipal employee. They said: "Do you want Dad to be able to continue supporting the family? Yes or no? Then you have to work for us." That was the threat. But they also knew that I liked speaking French and had just won a French language competition for an art school in Paris, so I would have been the only GDR student to go to Paris for three months. No Westerner can imagine what that means. That's about a thousand and one nights times a thousand, so it was completely unimaginably great. Then the guy tells me how great La Tour Eiffel and Les Champs-Élysées are, but I'm only allowed to go if I work for them as an IM. So this harmless - supposedly harmless - piece of information "Anke thinks French is great, is allowed to go to Paris, it's not so easy to get there" was suddenly used against me. In other words, in a certain context, I can manipulate people with information that is very personal in nature without it being particularly private, I can blackmail them, I can control them and, for me, none of that is compatible with democracy. That's probably why I sound a bit emotional right now. I'm afraid of that and I never want to experience it again. A totalitarian system that uses totalitarian methods is somehow unsurprising. But why a democracy uses the methods of a totalitarian state is not clear to me and is no longer a real democracy at that moment. That's why we really must do something about it.

"It is excessive. It is radical. It's always angrier."

Döbler: I would agree with everything you've said. But I still have other fears. I'm not afraid of technology at all. I think it offers far more opportunities than risks in our professional environment when it comes to shaping journalism. To be honest, I'm also not very afraid economically. If you do a little maths with me: We charge about one euro per newspaper per day, we have about 150,000 readers, so from readers alone we have 150,000 euros in revenue per day, that's pretty decent. And then there's the advertising revenue. So if you can't make anything out of it, then I don't know. Of course we still have a good business model. In terms of content, I think there are great opportunities for regional media in particular because they have a USP, a unique selling point that the FAZ or Stern, for example, or whoever doesn't have. Explain to me what Stern is, we can discuss that at length. Explain to me what the Weser-Kurier is, what it stands for, that's relatively easy to say. I realise what the fears are in reactions to what we do. How readers and users react to what we do has changed completely. It is immoderate. It's radical. It's increasingly angry. People are saying things in emails and comments that they would never say to someone's face. It's a tone that has changed completely and sometimes leaves me perplexed. People always know exactly what's going on, and that's what gets on my nerves the most. I'm afraid that something will happen and it's immediately clear what's behind it, there's no nuance, there's no scepticism and there's no feeling of: "Now let's see how we can clear this up", it's always the same 150 percent opinion. Sometimes that's also hurtful. Sometimes it's really hateful. Today I answered a letter to the editor from an older gentleman - and this is also reflected in this form of dialogue, not just on the Internet - who wrote about "your stupid pictures". Something has changed and I find that unpleasant.

"I'm also occasionally afraid when it comes to changes in the public sphere."

Kramp: Are you afraid, Mr Metzger?

Metzger: Sometimes, but not usually in my job. I'm sometimes afraid that we're too slow, that our organisations are too stolid, too stuck in the now and too unwilling to change. Of course, it's also a question of type, there are those and those. Where I work, I try to encourage people to have a desire for change and to see the opportunities rather than the comfort zone we are currently in or the comfort of the status quo. To echo Moritz Döbler, I am also occasionally afraid when it comes to changing the public sphere. I would like to report this anecdotally: Das Erste has a programme advisory board. This is a relatively large circle of honourable ladies and gentlemen, all highly educated, who are tasked with monitoring Das Erste and providing regular feedback to the programme director and editor-in-chief. A wild debate about reporting on Ukraine. But there is no reporting that is error-free and the Ukraine reporting was certainly not. But the accusations levelled at Der Erste went far beyond minor factual errors. Then you ask yourself how such a mood comes about. In part, it was excessive, but in part it was also deliberate political influence via social media. We know that this is, so to speak, psychological warfare, there are manuals for this, we can read that there are people who have influenced German public opinion in this case on behalf of the Russian government via blogs and all sorts of things. It's clear that this happens. It has always happened, it happens today by other means, but the fact that it has such an impact on - in this case - the supervisory bodies of ARD, which are of course influenced by it, i.e. that the Russian secret service has indirect access to the First German Television in this way - to put it very vividly - I find that worrying, and it has to do with new mechanisms that are at work there. It's very difficult to have this debate, because anyone who says "you did this badly" will of course not say "I got that from some Russia-friendly troll", but "I read that somewhere". That's also the case. So something is changing and it's even affecting commercial structures. An Austrian marketing agency was recently reprimanded for setting up pseudo-blogs on social media to influence product information. They then employ people who think products are great and pretend to be users of these products. Something is changing in the public sphere, which of course also affects us and the media. That's not funny.

Neuberger (audience): Mr Döbler and Mr Metzger have portrayed the future of their media as very rosy, as very bright, perhaps the Weser-Kurier and Radio Bremen really are exceptions in the media landscape. The results of audience research, which speak in favour of the genre as a whole, show something different. The Allensbach advertising media analysis, for example, says that only 27 per cent of 14 to 29-year-olds still pick up a daily newspaper. The expectations you have just expressed - when they are older, they start reading newspapers - have been very clearly refuted. It's a cohort effect. If you don't start reading the daily newspaper at a young age, you won't do so later on. In the case of public broadcasters, we know that there is a clear generation gap. The average age of the ZDF audience is over 60, but the average figures for radio are also relatively high. Here too - as the long-term study on mass communication among the young age group of 14 to 29-year-olds shows - there is a very clear shift in media usage behaviour away from the old media of television, radio and newspapers and very clearly towards the Internet, which is now used for over three hours a day. These are things that I think we first have to recognise. This affects the genre as a whole. There may be exceptions here in Bremen. As far as refinancing is concerned, we know that there are considerable problems on the Internet. The AWA also says that only four per cent of German citizens have so far been prepared to pay for digital daily newspaper products. There are obviously very significant economic problems, but also problems concerning the identity of journalism, the differentiation of journalism from all the rest. It seems to me that the concepts of the old media have not really matured yet, even though this medium has been around for 20 years and there would have been enough time to come up with something.

"We're at the very beginning and nobody has the recipes."

Metzger: Well, with all due respect, I think that last one is presumptuous. The medium has been around for 20 years and we know where it's going and what impact it's having. You can't really mean that seriously. We are at the beginning of this development and if I knew where it was going, I would be a consultant and not here giving scientific presentations. I completely agree with the analysis that something is changing significantly. Our task is to deal with these changes. I would be the first to agree that we are not perfect and that everything could move faster. But it does move. I have the impression that the launch of Netflix in Germany was a shot in the arm that many people heard. Until the summer before last, we often had relatively fruitless debates among the directors, because if you started with the topics "Changing media use", "What are young people actually doing?", "How do we get them?", then you already knew who would say: "Yes, but they're still watching the Tagesschau". Since Netflix arrived the summer before last, the emphasis on this topic has shifted considerably. We're certainly not the fastest, we're sometimes a bit more thorough than fast, but I'm not pessimistic at all. Let me say it again from the other side: we have the privilege of contribution funding. We don't have to refinance ourselves immediately with every broadcasting slot, as our commercial competitors have to, for example. Who, if not us, should be in a position to react to this change? And we are doing this with radio programmes, with television programmes, we are trying to find out how we can extend these brands - there are not very many of them that are very strong - into the Internet. But of course it's all trial and error. 20 years of the Internet; we're both still young, let's talk about what will have happened in 40 years' time. We're at the very beginning and nobody has the recipes.

Döbler: I think you misunderstood me. I didn't say that anyone who has never read a newspaper will suddenly switch off their print subscription at the age of 30, I don't believe that either. But I'm not in the wood processing industry either, my point is that anyone who wants to have a say in Bremen can't get past the Weser-Kurier, regardless of which medium or route they use to reach us. And, to be honest, I really have no idea what kind of channels we will have in ten years' time. But my interest, my incentive, my goal is that we have content that is worth money, regardless of the channel. That's what we're all about. What we are increasingly realising is that the old newspaper strategy of "we put online what we have in the paper" is rubbish. We have to do things that complement this. I mentioned our Greece report. We didn't put it online, but other reports from Greece with our own films, pictures and sounds. If you click on this multimedia report, you can hear Greek cicadas. It's beautiful, really touching, but it's something completely different from the paper newspaper. There is also a bit of an opportunity to develop complementary content. From our point of view, it's almost impossible to market online at the moment. There is no business model for us that would be self-sustaining. That will remain the case in the long term. I have just calculated the figures for you. I am certain that we will and must continue to generate most of our revenue in print for at least the next ten years. There is no refinancing on the Internet for journalistic content. There are very few examples that work. We will have to try to create content that is worth something. Then we will see how this content will reach users and readers through technical means.

Metzger: Just a note across the media border: there has never been any refinancing of journalistic content. They used to sell adverts. Springer-Verlag is a good example of how the old business model can be transferred to new digital times. But journalistic content has always been cross-financed. I'm not criticising that, it's perfectly fine. But today you have to think about where cross-financing comes from. The idea that what for decades was ultimately co-financed to a very high degree by job, car and property adverts or publisher's supplements should suddenly be able to finance itself alone is not realistic. So you have to look at how publishers - and this is not the problem of the editorial team, but the problem of the publishers - open up other sources of revenue. Some do it with cat food, others perhaps do it better with journalistic digital sections. But that is the real question. Sending journalism as such out into the street, so to speak, and saying: "Create!" has never worked.

"There's still a lot of potential for bringing journalistic content into new formats."

Döbler: In my view, it's not about technology, but about what kind of brand you have. If you think about what Die Zeit, Handelsblatt or Tagesspiegel do, for example, it's not just about digital, but about what you do with the brand. I believe that the Weser-Kurier is a brand that can be developed into a discourse medium in Bremen. So it's no longer just a newspaper, but also a place where things take place, events, conferences. Others are leading the way. So it's not so much about: "Am I digital or am I still part of the wood industry?" It's more about what I do with this brand and what fits with the brand. I don't think white wine or something like that fits, but content, bringing people into dialogue, that fits very well and that can also be refinanced. I just don't think that the direct refinancing of journalistic content online works at the moment.

Lumma: Incidentally, this is a phenomenon that is not unique to publishers. If you look at the music industry, there has also been a shift from CD sales to more concerts or more web content. I think there is still a lot of potential in terms of how you can bring journalistic content into new formats and thus have new opportunities for monetisation.

Querfurth (audience): I would like to express one more thought. Journalists are now also experiencing what we politicians experience every day, namely criticism of us and of our person, regardless of the content that we believe we can credibly convey and for which we stand. It is an interesting experience - apparently also for the media - to now be questioned ourselves. I take note of this with great interest and look forward to seeing how it develops. The second thought is this: There is this motto, "the bait must taste good to the fish and not to the angler". What we are all talking about today, if we are the anglers, is: "How do we get the fish to bite?" The interesting question from the perspective of the fish, i.e. the young people, the young people of today, is: What do we actually have to do to get them to consume this medium in whatever form? What do we bring, how do we have to present ourselves, present our content, so that they come to us when they want to know something about certain issues?

Döbler: I believe that no bait tastes good to all fish, we have to decide which fish we are working for.

Loose (audience): I would like to come back to a point that Mr Döbler raised at the beginning. With the Google car, the business model has to do with the data that is collected. I believe that many of the problems, the dangers that we have talked about, are that we only think in terms of business models in journalism too. In public service broadcasting, as you pointed out, Mr Metzger, things are different. A rethink is slowly taking place there too, with foundation-funded journalism as an example. In other areas of society, too, we need to move away from always thinking in terms of business models and start doing other valuable things with data. We can see that as soon as it becomes a business model, a whole host of problems arise.

Kramp: You can probably leave it at that without comment. I would like to thank the participants very much, you

n, dem Publikum, für Ihre Fragen.

Updated by: Giard