2018 | 2 |
Article title

Exploration of a fragmented discourse. Privacy and data security in Süddeutsche Zeitung: 2007–2017

Title variants
Languages of publication
The goal of this exploratory case study is to identify different facets of news reporting on surveillance, privacy and data security, and more specifically, how risks in this context are portrayed. The theoretical foundation consists of two elements: 1) the concept of mediatized risk culture, and 2) the discursive arena model of risk communication, which provides the normative background for assessing news reporting. A text-mining approach (topic modeling) is applied to analyze relevant coverage of the German quality newspaper Süddeutsche Zeitung. The study yields a total of seven topics which belong to three categories: violation of privacy norms, power and law enforcement, and datafication. The results show that despite the de-mystification of digital technology after the Snowden leaks, coverage has recently become more affirmative and less focused on risk. We conclude that this may indicate a normalization of mass surveillance and data harvesting even in Germany, a society which traditionally values privacy. In order to add more context to our findings, however, further qualitative analyses were needed. The paper serves as a starting point for further research on media reporting of surveillance, privacy and data security.
Physical description
  • Albers M. (2017). Informationelle Selbstbestimmung als vielschichtiges Bündel von Rechtsbindungen und Rechtspositionen [Informational self-determination as a complex bundle of binding regulations and legal positions]. In M. Friedewald, J. Lamla, & A. Roßnagel (Eds.), Informationelle Selbstbestimmung im digitalen Wandel, Springer: Wiesbaden, pp. 11–36.
  • Beck K., Vowe G. (1995). Multimedia aus Sicht der Medien: Argumentationsmuster und Sichtweisen in der medialen Konstruktion [Multimedia from a media point of view. Argumentation patterns and perspectives in the medial construction]. Rundfunk & Fernsehen, vol. 43, pp. 549–562.
  • Beck U. (1992). Risk Society: Towards a New Modernity. Sage: New Delhi.
  • Beck U. (2009). World at Risk. Polity Press: Cambridge, UK, Malden.
  • Blei D. M., Ng A. Y., Jordan M. I. (2003). Latent Dirichlet Allocation. Journal of Machine Learning Research. vol. (3), pp. 993–1022. Retrieved from 15.09.2018.
  • Bonfadelli H. (2004). Medienwirkungsforschung II: Anwendungen in Politik, Wirtschaft und Kultur [Media effect research II. Applications in politics, economy, and culture]. UVK: Konstanz.
  • Brennen J. S., Howard P. N., Nielsen R. K. (2018). An Industry-Led Debate: How UK Media Cover Artificial Intelligence. Retrieved from–12/Brennen_UK_Media_Coverage_of_AI_FINAL.pdf. 15.09.2018.
  • BSI. (2018). Glossar der Cyber-Sicherheit [Glossary of Cyber Security]. Retrieved from;jsessionid=BF3C3B1F3AE6F3BE4FDDF7BCB89149CA.1_cid360?cms_lv2=9817278.15.09.2018.
  • Budak J., Rajh E., Recher V. (2017). Citizens’ privacy concerns. Does national culture matter? In M. Friedewald, J. P. Burgess, J. Čas, R. Bellanova & W. Peissl (Eds.), Surveillance, Privacy and Security. Citizens’ Perspectives (PRIO new security studies). Routledge: London, pp. 36–51.
  • Čas J., Bellanova R., Burgess J. P., Friedewald M., Peissl W. (2017). Introduction. Surveillance, Privacy and Security. In M. Friedewald, J. P. Burgess, J. Čas, R. Bellanova & W. Peissl (Eds.), Surveillance, Privacy and Security. Citizens’ Perspectives (PRIO new security studies). Routledge: London, pp. 1–12.
  • Chang J., Boyd-Graber J., Gerrish S., Wang C., Blei D. (2009). Reading tea leaves. How humans interpret topic models. Paper presented at the Neural Information Processing System 2009.
  • Deibert R. (2016). Cyber-Security. In M. Dunn Cavelty & T. Balzacq (Eds.), Routledge Handbook of Security Studies. Routledge: Abingdon, Oxon, pp. 172–182.
  • Dencik L., Cable J. (2017). The Advent of Surveillance Realism. Public Opinion and Activist Responses to the Snowden Leaks. International Journal of Communication, vo. 11, pp. 763–781.
  • DiMaggio P., Nag M., Blei D. (2013). Exploiting affinities between topic modeling and the sociological perspective on culture. Application to newspaper coverage of U.S. government arts funding. Poetics, vol. 41 (6), pp. 570–606.
  • Dimmroth K., Steiger S., Schünemann W. J. (2017). Outrage without Consequences? Post-Snowden Discourses and Governmental Practice in Germany. Media and Communication, vol. 5 (1), pp. 7–16.
  • Entman R. M. (1993). Framing: Toward Clarification of a Fractured Paradigm. Journal of Communication, vol. 43, pp. 51–58.
  • European Commission. (2013). Cybersecurity Strategy of the European Union: An Open, Safe and Secure Cyberspace. Retrieved from 15.09.2018.
  • Gillespie T. (2010). The politics of ‘platforms’. New Media & Society, vol. 12, pp. 347–364.
  • Heath R. L., Palenchar M. J. (2016). Paradigms of Risk and Crisis Communication in the Twentyfirst Century. In A. Schwarz, M. W. Seeger & C. Auer (Hrsg.), The Handbook of International Crisis Communication Research. Wiley: Chichester, UK, pp. 437–446.
  • Henn P., Vowe G. (2015). Facetten von Sicherheit und Unsicherheit. Welches Bild von Terrorismus, Kriminalität und Katastrophen zeigen die Medien? [Facets of security and insecurity. What picture of terrorism, crime, and disasters do the media show?]. Medien & Kommunikationswissenschaft, vol. 63 (3), pp. 341–362.
  • Jacobi C., van Atteveldt W. Welbers K. (2016). Quantitative analysis of large amounts of journalistic texts using topic modelling. Digital Journalism, vol. 4 (1), pp. 89–106.
  • Jarvis J. (2011). The German privacy paradox, BuzzMachine. Retrieved from 15.09.2018.
  • Johnson C. N. (2016). A “Massive and Unprecedented Intrusion”. A comparative analysis of American journalistic discourse surrounding three government surveillance scandals. Digital Journalism, vol. 5 (3), pp. 318–333.
  • Keller R. (2003). Distanziertes Mitleiden. Katastrophische Ereignisse, Massenmedien und kulturelle Transformation [Distanced sympathy: Catastrophic events, mass media, and cultural transformation]. Berliner Journal für Soziologie, vol. (3), pp. 395–414.
  • Koppers L., Rieger J., Boczek, K., von Nordheim G. (2018). tosca (Tools for Statistical Content Analysis). Retrieved from 15.09.2018.
  • Löblich M., Karppinen K. (2014). Guiding Principles for Internet Policy. A Comparison of Media Coverage in Four Western Countries. The Information Society, vol. 30 (1), pp. 45–59.
  • Lüber K. (2014). Data privacy made in Germany, Goethe-Institut. Retrieved from 15.09.2018.
  • Maier D., Waldherr A., Miltner P., Wiedemann G., Niekler A., Keinert A. (2018). Applying LDA topic modeling in communication research. Toward a valid and reliable methodology. Communication Methods and Measures, vol. 54 (10), pp. 1–26.
  • Möller J. (2017). Farewell to an utopia. Technology discourse in the German NSA debate. In S. Tosoni, N. Carpentier, M. F. Murru, R. Kilborn, R. Kunelius, A. McNicholas et al. (Eds.), Present scenarios of media production and engagement. Edition Lumière: Bremen, pp. 173–184.
  • Nordheim G. von, Boczek K., Koppers L. (2018). Sourcing the Sources. Digital Journalism, vol. 6 (7), pp. 807–828.
  • Oggolder C. (2012). Inside – outside: web history and the ambivalent relationship between old and new media. Historical Social Research, vol. 37 (4), pp. 134–149.
  • Oggolder C. (2015). From Virtual to Social. Transforming Concepts and Images of the Internet. Information & Culture, vol. 50 (2), 181–196.
  • Pantti M., Wahl-Jorgensen K., Cottle, S. (2012). Disasters and the Media. Peter Lang: New York.
  • Patnode R. (2003). Of Viruses and Victims: Framing the Internet, 1988–1990. In ICA (Eds.), Conference Proceedings, pp. 1–20.
  • Puschmann C., Scheffler T. (2016). Topic modeling for media and communication research. A short primer. HIIG Discussion Paper Series (5), pp. 1–17. Retrieved from 15.09.2018.
  • Qin J. (2015). Hero on Twitter, Traitor on News. How Social Media and Legacy News Frame Snowden. International Journal of Press/Politics, vol. 20 (2), pp. 166–184.
  • Rauchenzauner E. (2008). Schlüsselereignisse in der Medienberichterstattung [Key Events in Media Coverage]. Wiesbaden.
  • Roslyng M. M., Eskjær M. F. (2017). Mediatised risk culture: News coverage of risk technologies. Health, Risk & Society, vol. 19 (3–4), pp. 112–129.
  • Rössler P. (2001). Between online heaven and cyberhell. The framing of ‚the internet’ by traditional media coverage in Germany. New Media & Society, vol. 3 (1), pp. 49–66.
  • Schäfer M. S., Ivanova A., Schmidt A. (2011). Global Climate Change, Global Public Sphere? Media Attention for Climate Change in 23 Countries. Studies in Communication and Media, vol. 1, pp. 133–148.
  • Sklar A. (1997). (De)constructing the (Information) Highway. Discourse Analysis of Canadian Popular Press. The Electronic Journal of Communication, vol. 7 (4). Retrieved from 15.09.2018.
  • Thorsen E. (2016). Cryptic Journalism. News Reporting of Encryption. Digital Journalism, vol. 5 (3), pp. 299–317.
  • Wäscher T. (2016). Framing Resistance Against Surveillance. Political communication of privacy advocacy groups in the “Stop Watching Us” and “The Day We Fight Back” campaigns. Digital Journalism, vol. 5 (3), pp. 368–385.
  • Zeller F., Wolling J., Porten-Cheé P. (2010). Framing 0/1. Wie die Medien über die „Digitalisierung der Gesellschaft” berichten [Framing 0/1. How media report on the „digitization” of society].
  • Medien & Kommunikationswissenschaft, vol. 58 (4), pp. 503–524.
  • Zellig S. H. (1954). Distributional Structure. WORD, vol. 10 (2–3), pp. 146–162.
Document Type
Publication order reference
YADDA identifier
JavaScript is turned off in your web browser. Turn it on to take full advantage of this site, then refresh the page.