news media

Democracy and the Media

The Institute for Human Sciences in Vienna organised a remarkable panel discussion at the Burgtheater Vienna to discuss the topic “Democracy and the Media” on 21 of November 2010.

Burgtheater Vienna by City.Map-at, downloaded from Flickr 24/11/2010

Burgtheater Vienna by City.Map-at, downloaded from Flickr 24/11/2010, altered.


  • Bodo Hombach (CEO of WAZ Media Group, Essen),
  • Bill Keller (executive editor of the New York Times, New York),
  • Ezio Mauro (execeutive editor of La Repubblica, Rome) and
  • Paul Starr (professor for sociology at Princeton University, coeditor of The American Prospect and Pulitzer Prize Winner).
  • Nicholas Lemann (Decan of the Columbia School of Journalism, New York) moderated the discussion.


The internet causes innovation in the press, but it weakened the position of the press in its role of being a public voice and opinion maker in democracies. The news media was expected to flourish in the post industrial world. What might be good for news media might not be good for democracy and not even for journalism. The newspaper market had already experienced severe changes before the internet established new information channels. Papers were shut down due to commercial reasons. Nowadays, young people often prefer reading news on a screen, even if they have access to printed newspapers.