Media scholar critiques newspapers

Successful newspapers offer their readers a combination of guidance and surprise. They present a well- structured array of information that gives readers a sense of priorities. They also provide readers with something new that makes them feel roused and stimulated.

These are the conclusions German media scholar Dr. Klaus Schoenbach has reached from an extensive study of the factors contributing to the success and failure of 350 local daily newspapers in Germany. Schoenbach tracked circulation changes of these newspapers over a five-year period and compared those changes in circulation to the activities and characteristics of the newspapers themselves.

Schoenbach, a professor in the Department of Journalism and Communication Research at the University of Music and Theater in Hannover, presented his findings to students and faculty in the Henry W. Grady College of Journalism and Mass Communication in February. Schoenbach's presentation was sponsored by the Graduate Caucus, an organization of Grady College graduate students, and funded by the Cox Center.

Among the specific findings of Schoenbach's research were:

Prof. Schoenbach received his doctorate at the Johannes Gutenberg University in Mainz, Germany, and was on the faculty at the the Ludwig Maximilians University in Munich and the Westfaelische Wilhelms University in Muenster before going to Hannover. He has served as a visiting professor at San Jose State University and Cleveland State University in the U.S.

Schoenbach has written extensively in both German and English on the activities of journalists in Germany and on audience behavior.

During his brief visit to the University of Georgia, Schoenbach met with Cox Center Director Dr. Lee B. Becker and discussed activities of the Cox Center. Schoenbach and Becker laid the groundwork for scholarly exchanges between their institutions in the future.