When did investigative journalism begin?

Origin and current developments of investigative journalism in Germany

Table of Contents

1 Introduction
1.1 Object of the thesis
1.2 Problem
1.3 State of research
1.4 Structure and method of work
1.5 Objective of the work

2 The emergence of investigative journalism in Germany
2.1 Definition of terms
2.2 Beginnings of investigative journalism and its representatives
2.3 Investigative journalism as a special form of journalism
2.3.1 Basic information on investigative research
2.3.2 Special form: covert research
2.4 Framework conditions for investigative journalism in Germany
2.4.1 Political and social level
2.4.1.1 From censorship to freedom of the press
2.4.1.2 Political culture and the press as "fourth estate"
2.4.2 Legal-normative level
2.4.2.1 Constitutional legitimation
2.4.2.2 Access Rights to Information
2.4.2.3 Protection of informants
2.4.2.4 Right to refuse to testify
2.4.2.5 Dissemination of Illegally Acquired Information
2.4.2.6 Confiscation and search prohibitions
2.4.3 Economic-institutional level
2.4.3.1 Investigative journalism in the print sector
2.4.3.2 Investigative journalism in the broadcasting sector
2.4.4 Journalistic-professional level
2.4.4.1 Journalist training
2.4.4.2 Understanding journalistic roles
2.4.4.3 Editorial organization
2.5 Summary of the emergence of investigative journalism in Germany

3 Situation of investigative journalism in Germany
3.1 The professional situation of investigative journalists
3.2 Number of investigative journalists
3.3 The importance of investigative journalism
3.4 network research e. V
3.5 Self-regulation: the German Press Council
3.6 Summary of the situation analysis

4 Current Developments in Investigative Journalism in Germany
4.1 Problems
4.2 Economic imperatives
4.3 Current legal developments
4.4 tabloidization
4.5 The research
4.6 Investigative Research Teams
4.7 Investigative journalism and the internet
4.8 Internet: Threat from “Free Culture” or Opportunity?
4.9 Future prospects for investigative journalism
4.10 Summary of the current developments in investigative journalism in Germany

5 Conclusion and summary of potential

Possible solutions

Appendix list

Presentation directory

List of abbreviations

bibliography

1 Introduction

“Investigative journalist wanted. Your tasks include pointing out grievances, tracking down relevant topics, uncovering hidden connections and influences from the PR industry. We are looking forward to your compelling application".1 It is clear that this job advertisement has nothing to do with reality. Rather, it is actually meant rather ironically. Why?

He is wanted in the truest sense of the word, because investigative journalism has a niche existence in Germany2. The number of investigative journalists who discover it seems to be so small that even Hans Leyendecker knows none.3 Isn't he an investigative journalist himself? Who then uncovered the Flick and CDU donation affair and the VW corruption affair?4

The investigative journalist5 sees itself as a watchdog of democracy and exposes grievances and abuse of power.6 So this type of journalist controls and criticizes. But can the "dirt diggers"7as they once did Roosevelt8 charmingly referred to, currently still “digging” at all? Of course, this does not mean that there are fewer scandals to be cleared up today than in the past and that investigative journalists have to suffer unemployment: corruption, misconduct or illegal activity does exist and it is very likely that there will always be. Rather, as the present work should show, the circumstances are to blame for the "supreme discipline"9 of journalism is fading into the background.

In a society that increasingly places the banal in the foreground10, the demand for casting, documentary and real-life soaps is enormous. “Entertainment instead of information” is the watchword.11 And, as current developments show, this seems to remain the case in the future.

The quota counts, and so the investigative journalist is out of place. The private broadcasters have to forego broadcasting fees and are not subject to any basic service mandate. In the case of the public broadcasters, however, the citizens pay their fees dutifully.12 Are you therefore allowed to increasingly demand qualitative reports with an investigative character, for example on ARD or ZDF? This should also be discussed in the following chapters.

The investigative journalist would not lack topics, and the introductory fictitious job advertisement is therefore justified. The description of what the researcher has to accomplish in this form of journalism is also well chosen.

Rather, the investigative journalist is prevented from doing his or her work for the most part. The reasons for this should be shown and developments should be observed.

1.1 Object of the thesis

The present work deals with investigative journalism in Germany. The subject of this journalistic form of investigation is limited to the Federal Republic of Germany. Only investigative journalism in the United States of America (USA) is shown in relevant explanations, be it in direct comparison with German investigative journalism or justified by the history of its origins.

The work aims to show the reader the following focal points: the origins and current developments in investigative journalism in Germany. How the structure is designed in detail is to be explained in Chapter 1.4.

This work cannot provide a comprehensive presentation of investigative work techniques and research strategies / processes. A detailed distinction between investigative journalism and other journalistic disciplines cannot be made, let alone a comparison.

Individual characters, i.e. investigative journalists who have made history with their revealing articles, cannot be dealt with in detail in particular. Nevertheless, names of the characters should appear in various versions, each appropriately, in order to allow the reader a clear reference to the topic. Likewise, the different journalist prices for investigative journalists cannot be dealt with in detail in this work.

1.2 Problem

As already shown in the introduction, the number of investigative journalists in Germany is low. It is therefore not surprising that the amount of investigative articles in the media that help uncover grievances and thus take control of power is manageable13. But what are the reasons for this?

We try to explain this in the present work. For this purpose, inter alia. Manfred Redelfs' four-level model (see 2.4 for more in-depth information), which shows the factors that significantly influence investigative journalism in Germany. In this way, an individual consideration of the aspects can be carried out which most likely contribute to the fact that investigative journalists in Germany are increasingly becoming a kind of minority.

Are economic reasons responsible or do legal factors make life difficult for investigative journalists? Will the investigative researcher of tomorrow still have sophisticated training opportunities at all? How important is investigative journalism in our society today and for those who practice it? Will entertainment formats and the increasing focus on the quota move investigative journalism further into the background? What are the opportunities for investigative journalists in current developments and in the future? Will the investigative journalist continue to lead a niche existence in Germany in the future?

Answers to these questions will be found in the course of the discussion. At the end of the work, the factors that are in need of improvement and thus impair investigative journalism are pointed out and solutions that could strengthen it in the future are added. (see also 5, Appendix D)

1.3 State of research

Jessica Rauch sums up in 2008: The scientific debate on the subject of investigative journalism in Germany is sparse.14 Rauch asks himself, inter alia. whether investigative journalism in Germany is subject to change and bases its investigation on a survey with the employees of the public TV political magazine Report Mainz.

As already shown, one of the focal points of this work is the emergence of investigative journalism in Germany. Lars-Marten Nagel sums it up: "In Germany there has not yet been an exhaustive treatise on the historical development of investigative journalism."15 For this reason, in his 2007 study "Ready to investigate - investigative journalism in Germany and the USA", Nagel tries to close this gap. Nagel bases his scientific analysis of the historical development with well-known literature. Mention should be made here: Michael Haller's handbook “Research” from 2008. Haller begins in the first part of his book with the “History of Research”.16 Taking this into account is essential for understanding the historical development of investigative journalism in Germany. Jürgen Wilke's anthology with the title “Media History of the Federal Republic of Germany” from 1999 gives the reader an overview of the development of the media after the Second World War.17 Heinz Pürer and Johannes Raabe also provide information about the genesis of the German press with their detailed account of the "Media in Germany Volume 1 Press" from 1994. In particular, this book shows the development and the struggle for freedom of the press.18

The first literature dealing with investigative journalism in Germany was produced by Wolfgang Langenbucher in 1980.19 The collective work with the title “Journalism & Journalism. Plea for research and moral courage. ”, Deals with the change in journalism.20

In 1983 Siegfried Weischenberg's essay appeared on the subject: "Investigative Journalism and" Capitalist Realism ".21 In 1994 Weischenberg published their first representative study "Journalism in Germany" together with Martin Löffelholz and Armin Scholl.22 The follow-up study, which bears the same title, will appear in 2006.23 The results of both studies were published in a systematic comparison under the title: “The prompts of the media society”. Both studies provide an overview of what characterizes journalism, such as the media, people, activities or conditions.24

In 1998, Wolfgang Janisch describes the peculiarities of press law for investigative journalism. To this end, Janisch systematically compares American and German press law, which creates both privileges and limits for investigative journalists.25 Johannes Ludwig and Michael Haller also take on press law issues.26 In particular, the last two manuals mentioned are used in the present work to consider the legal aspects in connection with German investigative journalism.

"Research is not anchored in German journalism."27 Sven Preger states this in his publication, which appeared in 2004 in the book series of the netzwerk recherche. To dedicate oneself more to research and the reasons for the lack of research are shown in the anthology "More Passion Research" from 2003.28 The importance of research, especially with regard to investigative work, will be discussed in the following chapters of this work.

So far, two works have dealt with the investigative research journalist himself, sums up Ingmar Cario 2006. The following unpublished diploma theses should be mentioned here: Jennifer Knoblach, 2003, on the subject of “Sniffer dog or sniffer. Parallels and differences between investigative journalism in Germany and the USA. "29 In 2004 Henryk Hielscher presented his thesis “Investigative Journalism in Germany”.30 Hielscher interviewed members of the network recherche and deals with the question of their working conditions and their self-image. This is similarly the case with Knoblach.31 However, the Hielscher survey cannot be considered representative due to the small number of participants.32

In his dissertation in 1996, Manfred Redelfs dealt extensively with investigative journalism in the USA.33 Redelfs modifies Weischenberg's context model and sets out the factors that influence investigative journalism in the United States.34 Cario used this model in 2006 for his study to work out the framework conditions for German investigative journalism. For his study, Cario interviewed a number of investigative journalists. In addition, he closes two research gaps in his work: on the one hand, he examines the working methods of investigative journalists in detail, and on the other hand, he shows the effects on the private life of journalists that are justified by the investigative work.35

One year after Cario, Nagel publishes a comprehensive study that compares German and American investigative journalism. It is noticeable, however, that in some of his statements, Nagel deals more with investigative journalism in the USA.36

In his second edition of "Investigative Journalism" from 2007, Johannes Ludwig deals in detail with research strategies and dealing with informants and sources. Ludwigs Handbuch is the only publication directly devoted to investigative journalism.37 With the help of numerous case studies, listed in the individual chapters, Ludwig succeeds in establishing a reference to the topic that is not just theoretical.38

"Investigative research in German journalism - a chance to break through routine editorial programs?" This is the question Ira Kugel asked herself in 2008 as part of her diploma thesis and sums up: Investigative journalism is a useful addition to routine editorial programs. However, investigative journalism cannot replace them.39

"Investigative journalism in the political media scandal - an investigation based on the CDU party donation affair of 1999/2000" is the title of a diploma thesis that was published in 2009. The investigation is based inter alia. conducted on expert interviews such as those by Hans Leyendecker. Sebastian Höhn deals with the question of what role investigative journalism has to play in the political media scandal.40

The journal message regularly publishes articles on investigative journalism. However, message not only publishes explicitly on the topic of investigative journalism in Germany, but also publishes national and international articles on this topic.41 The trade journal journalist is also dedicated to investigative journalism and research in general. In the present work, contributions from the journal journalist will come into play.42

The specialist literature also continues with partial aspects43 investigative journalism apart, i.a. from an ethical point of view.44

In conclusion, it can be concluded that recently45 there is no scientific specialist literature that deals in detail with the future question of investigative journalism in Germany46. Therefore, in Section 4.9, the assessments of the experts (cf. 1.4) in particular should come into play.

1.4 Structure and method of work

The present work is divided into three main parts: The history, the situation and the current developments of investigative journalism in Germany. The main consideration, as the title of the work shows, is placed on the genesis and current developments.

At the beginning, the work will look at the historical development of investigative journalism in Germany. In concrete terms, this means, in particular, to the beginnings of this form of journalism and its representatives. Based on outstanding individual case characters, which are mentioned at individual text passages, this theoretical explanation should be given a practical relevance.

Investigative journalism as a special form of journalism is explained by means of its peculiarities. Investigative research and the special form of undercover journalism will also be discussed in this part of the thesis.A definition of investigative journalism is also provided, in particular through the word “investigative”.

As already explained in the introduction, Redelf's “four-level model” is used to shed light on the factors that have a decisive influence on investigative journalism in Germany. This model shows the framework conditions for investigative journalism on four levels. This should also help in the present work to be able to consider the economic, legal, socio-political factors as well as the self-image and professionalization of journalists.

Individual aspects of the factors of this model should also be represented through their historical development. This observation period extends to the present47. The respective factors that currently have a positive or negative effect on investigative journalism are shown. As a result, inter alia the initial question, why the investigative journalist ekes out a niche existence in Germany, will be answered.

In the second part of the thesis, the situation analysis should create a bridge between the origins and current developments of investigative journalism in Germany. In this main chapter the number of investigative journalists is mentioned. In chapter 3.1, the current professional situation of the investigating investigator should, among other things. briefly summarized on the basis of the knowledge gained from the previous chapter. The interest group netzwerk recherche e. V. and the German Press Council.

The last chapter shows the current developments in investigative journalism in Germany. What measures will be taken to promote investigative journalism in the future? Are there any major changes in this journalistic genre, and what does the future of investigative journalists look like? Will it still exist in the future? Towards the end of this chapter, these questions should include: answered with the help of expert opinions.

As already briefly mentioned, expert opinions come into play in the present work. These will be used in the fourth chapter in particular. The opinions of the experts should also be cited appropriately at relevant text passages in the other two main chapters.

These opinions were generated on the basis of questionnaires48. The questionnaire and a cover letter were sent to the experts by email (see also the questionnaires in the appendix). For the most part, they wrote to journalists or the media who practice investigative journalism. In addition, various media or news agencies that do not do investigative work were deliberately written to. This was important to the author in order to be able to compare her opinions with those of the experts. However, a comparison cannot be made as none of these media or news agencies filled out the questionnaire. There are five in total49 answered by 2150 unanswered questionnaires.

1.5 Objective of the work

The present work is intended to provide an overview of the history and current developments in investigative journalism in Germany. Another aim is to show the causes that are responsible for the low number of investigative journalists in Germany.

A detailed examination of the subject should answer the question in the course of the work, what exactly is investigative journalism and why it is of such importance for our society.

The current professional situation of the investigative journalist is also shown to the reader. In this context, the question of the number of investigative journalists and their status will be answered.

On the basis of scientific contributions and the opinions of experts, an attempt is made to work out the current developments in investigative journalism in Germany. The question of the future of the uncovering researcher is also relevant. The experts' assessments of the future of investigative journalists are particularly important here (see 1.3). Therefore, the present work should make a contribution and try to show the future prospects for investigative journalism. Another aim of this work is to provide potential solutions that could help improve investigative journalism. This represents a summary of the work results as well as your own considerations and should be illustrated using a table.

In the following, the historical development of investigative journalism in Germany is explained and the factors are shown that are largely responsible for the small number of investigative investigators.

2 The emergence of investigative journalism in Germany

This chapter deals with the beginnings of investigative journalism in Germany. The origin of this form of journalistic work and its founders are explained in detail.

The question of the importance of investigative journalism for society should also be answered. In addition, the framework conditions for investigative journalists are shown in this part of the work and explained on the basis of the individual factors that influence investigative journalism in Germany.

This discussion should begin with the definition of investigative journalism and a description of what is meant by this form of investigative journalism. The special form of covert research is also used, including using a few well-known examples.

2.1 Definition of terms

First, the meaning of the word “investigative” will be examined. Ludwig gives a pragmatic definition of the term. Accordingly, the word "investigative" comes from the Anglo-Saxon language area. The term "investigation" means "investigation", "investigation", "investigation" or "investigation". He also notes that the word "investigation" has been listed in the German dictionary since 1999.51 However, this term has been used for a much longer time in journalistic usage and in communication science literature.52

In foreign words, the words "Investigation", "Investigative" and "Investigator" are explained individually. All three terms come from Latin. As noted by Ludwig, only the word “investigative” is also of English origin. In German, “investigative” can be translated as “investigating”, “revealing” or “revealing”. The term “investigator” refers to the person who investigates.53

The term “journalism” should also be explained. Klaus Meier gives a precise definition: “Journalism researches, selects and presents topics that are new, factual and relevant. He creates the public by observing society, making this observation available to a mass audience via periodical media and thereby constructing a common reality. This constructed reality offers orientation in a complex world. "54

If the words "investigative" and "journalism" are used as a common term, the following can be understood: Investigative journalism is also referred to in German as "detection or disclosure journalism".55 The aim of investigative journalists is to thoroughly research and publish secret and concealed information that is not known to the public.56

In English, the term “investigative reporting” (IR) is used for the expression “investigative journalism”. The term “Investigative Journalism” (IJ) can also be used. However, the term IR is used more often. Both IR and IJ have the same goal.57

Investigative Journalism is defined as follows: "It is the reporting, through one's own work product and initiative, matters of importance which some persons or organizations wish to keep secret. (...) "58 Redelfs used this definition as early as 1996 in his dissertation, but to explain the term "investigative reporting". Accordingly, three main characteristics characterize the IR: "An active reporter role, thematic relevance, and the research can only be carried out against resistance."59 (cf. for more in-depth information 2.3, 2.3.1)

A discussion of the English technical terms is relevant, as the United States of America (USA) is considered the motherland of investigative journalism60. This should include in the following discussion, which describes the historical development of investigative journalism in Germany.

2.2 Beginnings of investigative journalism and its representatives

It should be noted that there is no complete treatise on the historical development of investigative journalism in Germany. Nagel also points to a lack of specialist literature in this area. The reason for this could be that investigative journalism is younger in Germany than in the USA.61

As already mentioned in chapter 2.1, the USA can be seen as the motherland of investigative journalism. Meier makes this clear: investigative journalism can be traced back to IR.62 However, Dagmar Lorenz draws attention to the fact that the widespread view in the research literature that investigative journalism is a peculiarity of American or Anglo-Saxon journalism can no longer be regarded as certain. This can be confirmed in view of the by no means marginal individual case studies from European press history.63

At this point, however, we do not want to go into the history of the origins of investigative journalism in the USA. It is much more important for this work to focus on the development of investigative journalism in Germany and its representatives. A detailed comparison and the presentation of relevant differences in the genesis of investigative journalism in the two countries, the USA and Germany, would go beyond the scope of this work. Therefore, this chapter will only deal with the historical development of investigative journalism in Germany and its most significant events.

But how and when did investigative journalism establish itself in Germany? Haller gives an initial answer. His account of the beginnings of research history in Germany is intended to explain the emergence of investigative journalism.

In Germany, “research” was a foreign word for a long time. This can be traced back to press controls (license compulsory, censorship, state advertising monopoly). The authoritarian attitude of many newspaper people, which was prevalent at the time, also did not favor the research (see 2.4.1.2 for more details).

It was not until the end of the 19th century that research began in Germany with the appearance of general gazettes. The reason for this was the lifting of the advertising monopoly and the compulsory license. The aim of the Generalanzeiger in its local sections was to expose grievances.64

Jörg Requate cites the Berliner Tagblatt, founded in 1872, as an example. Journalists and especially editors could no longer rely on random and unchecked information, but carried out targeted research, especially since revealing police stories were published. The Berliner Tagblatt began to hire permanent reporters who were called "reporters" after the Anglo-American model.65

The years between 1815 and 1848 were marked by decades of struggle for freedom of the press. Some attempts to introduce freedom of the press in the Weimar Republic around 1919, for example, failed until 1949 (see 2.4.1.1 for more details).

"(...) The German-speaking reporter par excellence, Egon Erwin Kisch (...)"66 became known around 1920 for his social reports. Kisch used the method of covert role play. (See in more detail 2.3.2) In this context, the specialist literature also speaks of the researched report.67 However, Kisch and other social reporters of the time quickly reached the economic and technical limits of the competition between the tabloids.68

The German opinion press was abused almost without resistance as a propaganda tool of the NSDAP. Anglo-American journalism, which believes in facts, served as a model for the reconstruction after the war. The Allies issued licenses for established leaves.69 Rudolf Augstein was able to manage the news magazine Der Spiegel through the granting of licenses by the Allies70 publish.71

The fact that research journalism was able to establish itself in post-war Germany can be traced back to the news magazine Der Spiegel. The approach here was not to believe any source, but also to look for information that was withheld. The Spiegel succeeded in creating a so-called research infrastructure in which sufficiently qualified people, time and expenses were available. Haller notes that the contributions of the Spiegel to research journalism are undisputed and that these were of historical importance for post-war journalism in Germany.72

The investigative working method of the Spiegel, which was based on the Anglo-American model, collided with the conservative-authoritarian style of government of Konrad Adenauer that was prevalent at the time. The conflict reached its climax in the so-called "Spiegel Affair".73

On October 10, 1962, Der Spiegel published the article “Conditionally ready for defense”. In this the military situation of the Bundeswehr and that of NATO were described. From the article it emerged that the Bundeswehr was only "partially ready for defense". In order to test the military readiness of NATO, the management staff in their function and to practice emergency planning, the NATO maneuver "Fallex 62"74 carried out. The results showed that the federal government was completely inadequately prepared in the event of a defense.75

Following the publication of this article, Augstein and other "alleged traitors to the fatherland" were arrested - this is the expression that Spiegel used in the 2002 issue with the headline "Stupidity of the State". As has already been discussed numerous times in the literature, Der Spiegel reports again in detail in the above-mentioned issue how officials occupied the editorial office of the Spiegel and, among other things, their orders were: seize and arrest suspects.76

The decision of the Federal Constitutional Court of 1966 established that the search of the editorial staff of the Spiegel and the confiscation of evidence violated the freedom of the press (see 2.4.2.6 for more details).77 Meier notes that the ruling has set new standards for freedom of the press. The press was assigned a “public task” and a “control function”.78

The mirror increasingly established itself among the population as an investigative medium. This can presumably be traced back to his continuity with the publication of investigative reports and the successful resistance in the context of the Spiegel affair. The news magazine thus developed a role model for other media in the 1960s.79

In the 1970s and 1980s, German journalists such as Gerhard Kromschröder and Günter Wallraff took an example from their Anglo-American colleagues and wrote role reports. In doing so, they slipped into a wide variety of roles. For example, Kromschröder disguised himself as a toxic waste driver, or Wallraff took on the role of a Turkish guest worker.80 This method is called undercover journalism. Since this can be viewed as a special form of investigative journalism, it will be explained in detail in Section 2.3.2.

Although the Watergate scandal occurred in the United States, it must be addressed at this point.

As a result of the world-famous scandal, which the reporters Carl Bernstein and Bob Woodward were particularly involved in uncovering, one can speak of an institutionalization of investigative journalism.81 The research of the two journalists led to the resignation of US President Richard Nixon in 1974.82 Nagel notes that although there have been some spectacular scandals in Germany, such as the Flick affair, Germany lacks a key event like the Watergate scandal.83

2.3 Investigative journalism as a special form of journalism

Investigative journalism sees itself as that revealing research that is close to the limit of what is permitted.84 He also has to fight against resistance and barriers.85 In this context, it is primarily in the interest of the public that state or official institutions and agencies are investigated.86 In particular, a thematic social and political relevance can be derived from this.87

The investigative journalist tries to pursue and exercise his public mandate. The media function stipulated in the state press laws of expressing criticism of public institutions and, above all, of controlling them, is to be fulfilled by him.88

From the state press law for the state of North Rhine-Westphalia, for example, this has been in accordance with Section 3 since 196689 clearly: "The press fulfills a public task in particular by procuring and disseminating news, taking a position, expressing criticism or otherwise helping to shape opinion."

The term “watchdog function” can be mentioned in this context. This represents the basic task of the media to exercise a critical and control function.

The topics investigative journalists deal with, for example, are mismanagement, abuse of office and function, felt and nepotism, bureaucratic arbitrariness, conflicts of interest, bribery and corruption.90 Thus the investigative journalist consciously takes sides.91

Informants play a special role: Without their participation, no relevant scandal or corruption case would have come to the public. The media can only perceive the special position as “fourth power” (cf. 2.4.1.2 for more in-depth information) if informants provide knowledge and this can also be used.92 However, there is a possibility that the informant will be labeled a traitor.

In English, the term "whistleblower" is93 used. The expression of the informant comes closest to that in German.94

In Germany, for example, the registered association Whistleblower Network based in Cologne, which was founded in 2006, has adopted the English term.95 With the title “Show moral courage”, the whistleblower network tries on its website to show the relevance that citizens should no longer just accept illegal actions or abuses, but should also uncover these crimes.96 On the board of the association is a. Johannes Ludwig.97 According to self-disclosure, investigative journalism is one of the main focuses of his work.98

In the following, the investigative research will be described in more detail - and what basically characterizes it. The special form of undercover journalism is also explained in detail. This should also be illustrated on the basis of individual case characters.

2.3.1 Basic information on investigative research

"Investigative journalism lives from research."99 Misconduct and deficits usually take place behind closed doors and thus remain bogus to the public. It is the task of the media to uncover this.100

The degree of deception and deception is greater than with the other research.101 Gradually, the journalist in i. d. Usually, in meticulous detail work, reduce this unequal distribution of knowledge about political or social facts. Ludwig calls this the basic problem of this work and deduces from it a high workload.102 Claudia Mast also agrees and adds: Investigative research is arduous work.103 Due to the time-consuming and conflict-ridden procedure, investigative research is the one that is least practiced.104

For Ludwig, investigative research is based specifically on three pillars105:

- Exact considerations on the potential goal of the research and how to get there
- Research techniques
- continuous tenacity (laborious detail work)

The elements of investigative research include: tracking down inside information, questioning and intimidating those involved, and handling confidential information. The readiness of the researcher not only to be satisfied with the material received, but also to actively develop new sources himself, is what Mast calls the main characteristic of this professional understanding.106 In the specialist literature, the "active role" is often found in this context107 of investigative journalists again. The researcher tries to uncover grievances and illegal actions independently.

A critical and skeptical attitude on the part of the journalist is required for this type of research. Incorrect reporting can also have long-term consequences for journalists and those affected.108

A basic distinction must be made between ordinary research journalism and investigative journalism. The misunderstanding that prevails in Germany that the two can be equated is wrong. Both types of research aim to uncover grievances in politics, business and society. On the other hand, previously unknown facts have to be published through investigative research. These criteria were established in 1975 by the American professional association Investigative Reporters and Editors (IRE).109 Investigative journalism can thus be described as a form of growth in research journalism.110

2.3.2 Special form: covert research

"The hidden research has not just existed since yesterday (...)"111 Kromschröder and Wallraff slipped into other roles between 1970 and 1980. However, there is still further back in the history of covert research. As already described, Kisch took on this “somewhat different type” of research in the 1920s (cf. 2.2 for more in depth).

Undercover research means researching "undercover". According to Ludwig, “undercover” is an actively practicing anonymity of an increase in knowledge. In German, “undercover” can be translated using the terms “camouflaged”, “covered”, “secret”.112 The journalist thus disguises his identity and pretends to be a different person. He does this to get information that would otherwise not be accessible to him.113

Haller also explains the so-called “Wallraff method” in this context, which is often used in the literature. Through Wallraff, the hidden research is not only known today, but also particularly controversial.114 The publicist played a key role in the covert research.115

Above all, however, the role-play method is justified vis-à-vis authorities, institutions, groups and institutions. There is a general or public interest in their machinations, but these are kept away from journalists. Further difficulties arise for the writer from looking at fringe groups, politically or extreme groups, gangs or sects.116 To avoid this problem, Kromschröder, for example, disguised himself as a Nazi and traveled all over Europe117. In doing so, according to Haller, the writer takes on the role of the participating observer.118 The risk of undercover research must also be considered, and the question should be clarified whether it should not be left in the hands of the police and the public prosecutor's office.119

Haller deliberately asks the question whether the journalist doing the research should not specifically reveal his true identity in order to obtain information that, as a declared representative of the press, he would probably not get? Can or should he even?120

In the interviews conducted by Jessica Rauch, she poses, among other things. Hans-Michael Kassel, (Head of Duty, Report MZ) asked how widespread the undercover research is at Report Mainz. Rauch adds: Sometimes this type of research is the only way the editor can get information that is not accessible to him in the normal way of research. For Kassel, this statement hits the nail on the head. If there is really no other way to uncover a grievance, only then will report MZ use undercover research. Kassel adds: “This is also what the law demands.” Covert research is out of the question if the required information can also be provided in another way.121

But is the role play morally permissible? Can this type of research be agreed with Section 4 of the Press Code (cf. 3.5 for more details)? Accordingly, no unfair methods may be used that are required for the procurement of news, information material or images. The procedure is at least morally justified if the information obtained by fraud serves a situation that is of outstanding importance.122 "Covert research is justified in individual cases if it is used to obtain information of particular public interest that is not accessible in any other way."123 Here it becomes clear that it is a kind of weighing of interests124 and undercover research is not the norm.

In individual conflicts of interest, the courts weigh up legal interests between the protected personal right and the public interest, i.e. the right to information.125 The courts initially assume that both legal claims exist equally. This fact can be traced back to Wallraff.126 It is also relevant: The work of Günter Wallraff has fundamentally created an important legal position. Information that was obtained or obtained illegally has become part of journalistic awareness-raising work.127 (see in more detail 2.4.2.3, 2.4.2.5)

The legal possibilities and barriers that investigative journalists encounter in their research work should include: are explained in the following chapter. This is shown using the framework conditions for investigative journalism in Germany.

2.4 Framework conditions for investigative journalism in Germany

What framework is investigative journalism in Germany tied to, and which factors have a decisive influence on the investigative investigator?

Manfred Redelf's model of the factors influencing investigative reporting provides answers to these questions. Based on Siegfried Weischenberg's concept of journalistic contexts, Redelfs further developed the four different context levels.128

According to Weischenberg's model, norms, structures, functions and roles in a media system determine what characterizes journalism.129 The complex interdependencies between these four context levels and their interrelationships are shown using an onion.130 Every journalistic context corresponds to an onion skin131 (see Fig. 1). Redelfs justified his modification of the "onion" with the fact that a clearer assignment of the factors that affect the IR would be better to make.132 Redelfs reorganized the four contexts originally defined by Weischenberg as follows:

Figure not included in this excerpt

Fig. 1 - Contexts of journalism - objects of journalism

Source: Weischenberg: Journalistik, 1992, p. 68.

The normative context was divided into the political-social and the legal-normative level. The context of the media institution has also been renamed the economic level. The context of the media actors gave way to the journalistic-professional level.133 The media statements, which are presented as a separate context in Weischenberg's model, no longer represent an independent variable in Redelf's model. Instead of the clearly delineated onion skins, Redelfs uses concentric, dashed circles. This is intended to draw attention to the non-predominant rigid demarcation of the contexts.134

The explicit reasons why Redelfs made this modification will not be discussed further here. This would go beyond the scope of this work. More important in this context is the question of why Redelf's model is also used in German investigative journalism? The four-level model works excellently in the USA, so that it was also used as an analysis grid for the framework conditions of investigative journalism in Germany. This model has also proven itself in the specialist literature135 and should therefore also be used in the present work. (see Fig. 2)

Figure not included in this excerpt

Fig. 2 - Model of the factors influencing investigative reporting Source: Redelfs: Investigative Reporting in the USA, 1996, p. 69.

In the following, the factors that have a significant influence on investigative journalism in Germany will be explained individually. In addition, the four different levels are broken down into relevant aspects. In addition, a historical development of the individual factors should be explained, if appropriate.

2.4.1 Political and social level

According to Article 5 (1) of the Basic Law it says: “Everyone has the right to freely express and disseminate his or her opinion in words, in writing and pictures and to obtain information from generally accessible sources without hindrance. Freedom of the press and freedom of reporting through radio and film are guaranteed. Censorship does not take place."

But the fundamental right to freedom of expression, information and freedom of the press was not always constitutionally anchored in the history of Germany. For a long time, as the following explanation will show, the German press was subject to censorship. The decades-long struggle for freedom of the press in Germany is particularly evident in the 19th century.136

In the following, the development of the freedom of the press and the political culture in Germany will be shown. A historical review is relevant to understanding the political and societal factors currently influencing investigative journalism.

2.4.1.1 From censorship to freedom of the press

The freedom of the press was massively restricted in 1819 due to the Karlovy Vary resolutions.137 German individual states previously introduced forms of freedom of the press after the liberation struggles against Napoleon.138 The resolutions were not repealed until 1848.139 Publishers and journalists were politically persecuted, arrested or exiled between 1815 and 1848,140 this time was marked by the decades-long struggle for freedom of the press in Germany.141

It was not until the March Revolution in 1848 that freedom of the press was guaranteed.142 However, there were significant setbacks from 1850 onwards.143 In 1874 the Reich Press Act was enacted. Meier makes it clear that it is now possible to speak of freedom of the press in Germany for the first time, but there were small gaps. This was expressed, for example, through the Socialist Law144.145

Bismark took action against the social democratic press in 1878.146 Bismarck's imperial constitution allowed considerable possibilities for censorship. For example, around 42 daily newspapers were banned under the Socialist Act in 1878. There was also severe censorship of the press by the military during the First World War.147

The Weimar Constitution granted freedom of expression, but no protection of the freedom of the press.148 In 1933 the press was completely controlled by the National Socialists. Until 1945 journalists were arrested, banned from practicing their profession or murdered.149 After the press control by the Allies, freedom of the press was finally enshrined in Article 5 of the Basic Law in 1949.150 Standards for freedom of the press were set in 1962 with the Spiegel judgment. Two important criteria were assigned to the press: the “public task” of the press and a “control function” (cf. 2.2 for more details). Even until 1989, journalists were controlled and monitored due to the totalitarian dictatorship in the GDR.151

2.4.1.2 Political culture and the press as "fourth estate"

The press is often referred to as the "fourth estate".152 "What the media perceive as the so-called" fourth power "- the control of the state and its organs - investigative journalism is particularly aware of its main task, with the uncovering of grievances"153 clarifies Marvin Oppong (see 1.4).

The German press was theoretically assigned the "watchdog assignment" at the end of the Second World War and the subsequent founding of the democratic Federal Republic. As already explained in Chapter 2.2, this had a considerable influence on the Western occupying powers and their licensing. As a result, democracy and the “watchdog mandate” of the press in Germany are relatively new.154

The difficulties of research journalism that prevail in Germany can be traced back to the political culture of the Federal Republic and its press history. In the Anglo-Saxon countries, a self-confidence of the press as a controlling “fourth power” has established itself. Such a claim is met with opposition in Germany even within the profession.155 The attitude of the media in Germany to see itself as a supervisory authority is underdeveloped compared to the USA.156 Decades of repression of the press and the late introduction of democracy resulted157that a kind of opinion journalism instead of a press as a concretely this means that there has been a tendency towards a pronounced emphasis on opinion. There is also a lack of independence of the press from the state, government and parties.158 Cario sums up that opinion journalism is still highly regarded in Germany and that this aspect is at the expense of fact-based research journalism.159

Redelfs points out the following: If a journalist investigates intensively, it can sometimes be that he is discredited as a "snoop". The statements by Hubertus Gärtner in an interview show that this has hardly changed at the moment (cf. 2.4.3.1). Redelfs further notes: Among other things, this has to do with the development of the press in Germany, which was long characterized by the state monopoly on advertising and other restrictions.160

Freedom of the press and democracy were not fought for "from below", but rather decreed by the Allies "from above". The governmental legacy is still evident today. This is noticeable in journalism, in the state and in social attitudes.161 For example, factual research is less prestigious than the leading article and the report. Redelfs also traces this back to historical heritage.162 Furthermore, the “principle of official secrecy” can be traced back to the legacy of the state in authority. All processes have an internal character, unless a right to information is specified in accordance with certain laws.163 (see in more detail 2.4.2.2)

[...]



1 Schnedler: One Minute for the Source Check, 2009, p. 23.

2 See Nagel: Conditionally ready to investigate, 2007, p. 132.

3 See Nagel: Conditionally ready to investigate, 2007, p. 245, interview with Hans Leyendecker.

4 See medien-monitor.com: Leyendeckers Revelations, 2008, www.medien-monitor.com;

Flick affair: 1982, businessman F. K. Flick sent covert party donations to politicians; CDU donation affair: 1999, arms dealer K. Schreiber had paid the CDU sums in the millions, which flowed into "black accounts". These were not published as party donations. Approval for his arms deals should thereby be achieved.

5 The present work applies to both male and female investigative journalists.

6 See Meier: Journalistik, 2007, p. 185.

7 In English: Muckraker, see Nagel: Conditionally ready for investigation, 2007, p. 23.

8 See Nagel: Conditionally ready to investigate, 2007, p. 69.

9 See Danube University Krems: Challenges of investigative journalism, 2008, www.donau-uni.ac.at.

10 See also chapter 4.4.

11 See Rauch: Der investigative journalismus im Wandel ?, 2008, p. 1.

12 See chapter 2.4.3.2.

13 See Rauch: Der investigative journalismus im Wandel ?, 2008, p. 1.

14 Cf. Rauch: Der investigative journalismus im Wandel ?, 2008, p. 2. However, the studies by Cario (2006) and Nagel (2007) are not mentioned by Rauch.

15 Nagel: Ready to investigate, 2007, p. 74.

16 Cf. Haller: Recherchieren, 2008. This manual shows in particular the basics of research and research methods / aids.

17 See Wilke: Media History of the Federal Republic of Germany, 1999.

18 See Pürer / Raabe: Medien in Deutschland, 1994.

19 See Rauch: Der investigative journalismus im Wandel ?, 2008, p. 2.

20 See Langenbucher: Journalismus & Journalismus. Plea for research and moral courage., 1980.

21 Cf. Weischenberg: Investigative Journalism and “Capitalist Realism”, 1983.

22 Cf. Weischenberg / Löffelholz / Scholl: Journalismus in Deutschland II, 1994.

23 See Weischenberg / Malik / Scholl: Journalism in Germany 2005, 2006.

24 See Weischenberg / Malik / Scholl: Die prompter der Mediengesellschaft, 2006, p. 227.

25 See Janisch: Investigative Journalism and Freedom of the Press, 1998.

26 Cf. Ludwig: Investigative Journalismus, 2007., cf. Haller: Research, 2008.

27 Preger: Scarcity Research, 2004, p. 126.

28 See Leif: More Passion Research, 2003.

29 Compare Knoblach: sniffer dog or sniffer. Parallels and differences between investigative journalism in Germany and the USA., 2003.

30 Cf. Hielscher: Investigative Journalismus in Deutschland, 2004. A summary of the work results of Hielscher at: http://www.burks.de/Erresult_NR_Befragung.pdf.

31 Cf. Cario: Die Deutschland-Ermittler, 2006, p. 14f.

32 See Rauch: Der investigative journalismus im Wandel ?, 2008, p. 3.

33 See Redelfs: Investigative Reporting in the USA, 1996.

34 See chapter 2.4.

35 See Cario: Die Deutschland-Ermittler, 2006.

36 See Nagel: Ready to investigate to a limited extent, 2007.

37 See Nagel: Conditionally ready to investigate, 2007, p. 56.

38 See Ludwig: Investigative Journalism, 2007.

39 See Kugel: Investigative Research in German Journalism, 2008, p. 101.

40 See Höhn: Investigative Journalism in the Political Media Scandal, 2009.

41 See on the Internet at: http://www.message-online.com/.

42 See on the Internet at: http://www.journalist.de/.

43 Investigative science journalism as a possible control body of the science system, see Radü: Wachhund im Elfenbeinturm, 2007.

44 See Müller: Investigative Journalism, Its Justification and Limitation from the View of Christian Ethics, 1997.

45 This means specialist literature from 2007 onwards.

46 Nagel only deals with the future question of individual German newspapers in his study “Conditionally ready to investigate” (2007).

47 Current developments can be included in the explanations, as it is sometimes not possible to separate the present from the current developments.

48 Open questions and no representative survey: The respondents' answers should be quoted in the context of scientific contributions; Survey period: April 2nd, 2010 July 12th, 2010.

49 Marvin Oppong, freelance investigative journalist, lives in Bonn and studies law; Torsten Engelbrecht, freelance investigative journalist (according to self-disclosure), lives in Hamburg, holds a degree in economics and runs the SPIEGELblog; Christoph Lütgert, chief reporter - television at NDR and winner of the lighthouse award in 2002 for the “Lipobay” research; Günter Bartsch, managing director of netzwerk recherche (see 3.4 for more details); Miriam Bunjes, freelance journalist, has been leading the INA research seminar at TU Dortmund University since 2007 (according to self-disclosure).

50 For the publication of this work all names / companies / institutions were kept anonymous.

51 See Ludwig: Investigative Journalism, 2007, pp. 20f.

52 See Ludwig: Investigative Journalism, 2005, p. 122.

53 Cf. Der Duden: Das Fremdwörterbuch, 2007, p. 476.

54 Meier: Journalistik, 2007, p. 13.

55 See Ludwig: Investigative Journalism, 2005, p. 122.

56 See Mast: ABC des Journalismus, 2008, p. 136.

57 See Nagel: Conditionally ready to investigate, 2007, p. 27.

58 quoted in Harcup: Journalism, principles & practice, 2009, p. 97.

59 See Redelfs: Investigative Reporting in the USA, 1996, pp. 27f.

60 See Nagel: Conditionally ready to investigate, 2007, p. 27.

61 See Nagel: Conditionally ready to investigate, 2007, p. 74.

62 See Meier: Journalistik, 2007, pp. 185f.

63 See Lorenz: Journalismus, 2009, p. 108.

64 See Haller: Recherchieren, 2008, p. 21.

65 See Requate: Journalismus als Beruf, 1995, pp. 383f.

66 Requate: Journalism as a Profession, 1995, p. 405.

67 See Haller: Die Reportage, 2008, p. 39f.

68 See Haller: Recherchieren, 2008, p. 24.

69 See Haller: Recherchieren, 2008, p. 30.

70 Der Spiegel: Founded in Hanover in 1946 as “This Week”, in 1947 in DER SPIEGEL

renamed, news magazine published in Hamburg since 1952, publisher: Rudolf Augstein, see spiegel.de: Founding of the magazine DER SPIEGEL, undated, www.spiegel.de.

71 See Nagel: Conditionally ready to investigate, 2007, p. 76.

72 See Haller: Recherchieren, 2008, p. 31.

73 See Nagel: Conditionally ready to investigate, 2007, p. 76.

74 Fallex 62: Autumn exercise 1962, NATO framework exercise in the event of a defense, see spiegel.de: Fallex 62, undated, www.spiegel.de.

75 See spiegel.de: Bundeswehr - Conditionally ready for defense, undated, http://wissen.spiegel.de.

76 See Halter: “Stupidities of the State”, 2002, p. 62ff.

77 See Nagel: Conditionally ready to investigate, 2007, p. 77.

78 See Meier: Journalistik, 2007, p. 83.

79 See Nagel: Conditionally ready to investigate, 2007, p. 77.

80 See Nagel: Conditionally ready to investigate, 2007, p. 77f.

81 See Wallisch: Journalistische Qualität, 1995, p. 60.

82 See Ludwig: Investigative Journalism, 2007, p. 12.

83 See Nagel: Conditionally ready to investigate, 2007, p. 80.

84 See Haller: Recherchieren, 2008, p. 128.

85 See Ludwig: Investigative Journalism, 2007, p. 22.

86 See Haller: Recherchieren, 2008, p. 128.

87 See Ludwig: Investigative Journalismus, 2008, p. 21; This explains the difference to "voyeurizing, human interest-oriented or home story-based sensational journalism". (see also Chapter 4.4)

88 See Haller: Recherchieren, 2008, p. 128f.

89 Cf.recht.nrw.de: Decree of the press law for the state of North Rhine-Westphalia, 2010, https://recht.nrw.de.

90 See Ludwig: Investigative Journalism, 2005, p. 123.

91 See Mast: ABC des Journalismus, 2008, p. 136.

92 Cf. Leif: Hysterischer Herdentrieb @ senseless tempo spiral defects of media democracy, 2010, p. 13.

93 Whistleblower: "A person who blows a whistle.", Nagel: Conditionally ready to investigate, 2007, p. 82.

94 See Nagel: Conditionally ready to investigate, 2007, p. 82.

95 See Whistleblower Network e. V .: Der Verein, 2007, www.whistleblower-net.de.

96 See Whistleblower Network e. V .: Show civil courage, 2007, www.whistleblower-net.de.

97 See Whistleblower Network e. V .: Board of Directors, 2007, www.whistleblower-net.de.

98 See johannesludwig.de: Focus of his activity, undated, www.johannesludwig.de.

99 Rauch: Der investigative journalismus im Wandel ?, 2008, p. 66. Interview: Birgitta Weber, editor-in-chief, Report Mainz.

100 See Ludwig: Investigative Journalism, 2007, p. 15.

101 See Ludwig: Investigative Journalism, 2007, p. 43.

102 See Ludwig: Investigative Journalism, 2007, p. 15.

103 See Mast: ABC des Journalismus, 2008, p. 244.

104 See Redelfs: Recherche, 2005, p. 391.

105 See Ludwig: Investigative Journalism, 2007, p. 15.

106 See Mast: ABC des Journalismus, 2008, p. 244.

107 See Ludwig: Investigative Journalism, 2005, p. 124.

108 See Mast: ABC des Journalismus, 2008, p. 244f.

109 See Leyendecker: Lesebuch für Schreiber, 2005, p. 285.

110 See Höhn: Investigative Journalism in the Political Media Scandal, 2009, p. 25.

111 Kromschröder: Oh, the journalism, 2006, p. 32.

112 See Ludwig: Investigative Journalismus, 2007, pp. 179f.

113 See Mast: ABC des Journalismus, 2008, p. 245.

114 See Haller: Recherchieren, 2008, p.142.

115 See Ludwig: Investigative Journalism, 2007, p. 180.

116 See Haller: Recherchieren, 2008, p. 144.

117 See Kromschröder: Ach, der Journalismus, 2006, p. 42ff.

118 See Haller: Recherchieren, 2008, p. 144.

119 See Mast: ABC des Journalismus, 2008, p. 246.

120 See Haller: Recherchieren, 2008, p. 142.

121 See Rauch: Der investigative journalismus im Wandel ?, 2008, p. 59.

122 See Haller: Recherchieren, 2008, pp. 142f.

123 German Press Council: Press Code, Item 4, 2008, www.presserat.info.

124 See Haller: Recherchieren, 2008, p. 143.

125 See Ludwig: Investigative Journalism, 2007, p. 182.

126 See Ludwig: Investigative Journalism, 2007, p. 188.

127 See Ludwig: Investigative Journalism, 2007, p. 194.

128 See Nagel: Conditionally ready to investigate, 2007, p. 62.

129 See Weischenberg: Journalistik, 1992, p. 67.

130 See Nagel: Conditionally ready to investigate, 2007, p. 62.

131 See Weischenberg: Journalistik, 1992, pp. 68f.

132 See Redelfs: Investigative Reporting in the USA, 1996, p. 68.

133 See Nagel: Conditionally ready to investigate, 2007, p. 63f.

134 See Redelfs: Investigative Reporting in the USA, 1996, 68f.

135 See Nagel: Conditionally ready to investigate, 2007, p. 65.

136 See Meier: Journalistik, 2007, p. 77.

137 See Hörisch: Eine Geschichte der Medien, 2004, p. 186.

138 See Esser: The forces behind the headlines, 1998, p. 54.

139 See Hörisch: Eine Geschichte der Medien, 2004, p. 186.

140 See Meier: Journalistik, 2007, pp. 77f.

141 See Meier: Journalistik, 2007, p. 71.

142 See Wilke: Pressefreiheit, 1984, p. 30.

143 See Meier: Journalistik, 2007, p. 71.

144 “Law against the endangering efforts of social democracy”, see Sozialistengesetze.de: Sozialistengesetz, undated, www.sozialistengesetz.de.

145 See Meier: Journalistik, 2007, p. 71.

146 See Esser: The forces behind the headlines, 1998, p. 54.

147 Cf. Hörisch: Eine Geschichte der Medien, 2004, p. 186., cf. Meier: Journalistik, 2007, p. 71.

148 See Wilke: Pressefreiheit, 1984, p. 33.

149 See Meier: Journalistik, 2007, p. 71., see Pürer / Raabe: Medien in Deutschland, 1994, p. 54.

150 See Meier: Journalistik, 2007, p. 71., cf.Wilke: Pressefreiheit, 1984, p. 38.

151 See Meier: Journalistik, 2007, p. 71.

152 See Nagel: Conditionally ready to investigate, 2007, p. 80.153 Marvin Oppong, Appendix E - Questionnaire, Question No. 2.

154 See Nagel: Conditionally ready to investigate, 2007, p. 80. “fourth power” established.

155 See Redelfs: Research Culture in German Journalism, 2003, p. 22.

156 See Ludwig: Investigative Journalism, 2007, p. 24.

157 Cf. Cario: Die Deutschland-Ermittler, 2006, p. 53.

158 See Esser: The forces behind the headlines, 1998, p. 51.

159 Cf. Cario: Die Deutschland-Ermittler, 2006, pp. 54f.

160 See Redelfs: Research Culture in German Journalism, 2003, p. 23.

161 Cf. Cario: Die Deutschland-Ermittler, 2006, p. 53.

162 See Redelfs: Research Culture in German Journalism, 2003, p. 23.

163 See Redelfs: Research Culture in German Journalism, 2003, p. 27.

End of the reading sample from 150 pages