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Media Representations as Sovereignty – The Foreign Correspondents‘ Networks of German Public Service Broadcasting during the Cold War

Bernhard Gissibl’s postdoctoral research project analyses the growth and development of the foreign correspondents’ network of both German states during the decades of the Cold War.
Focusing in particular on the foreign correspondents of the public service broadcasting stations under the umbrella of the ARD, the project seeks to determine the internal and external, political and institutional factors that drove the expansion of the foreign correspondents’ network from the late 1940s. While looking at the development and change of the news geographies of both East and West German broadcasting organisations, the project asks how foreign correspondents situate Germany in the Cold War world. It also identifies the role and impact of the criticism made by journalists, the media sciences, Christian publications and social movements concerning the reporting of Third World affairs in TV and radio.
Particular attention is paid to the collective biography of foreign correspondents and their social backgrounds, as well as to their networks, their professional practices and their relationships with diplomatic actors in places they reported on. Bernhard Gissibl’s research thus not only adds further profile to a hitherto often overlooked group of cosmopolitan actors in German media diplomacy abroad. Since foreign reporting largely reciprocated the logic of nationally integrating media markets, the project also helps determine the specific character of media globalization in the second half of the twentieth century.