"Year of News" to strengthen democracy
The Ministry of Culture and Media and Deutsche Presse-Agentur dpa are launching the nationwide "Year of the News" action plan in 2024 as part of the #UseTheNews campaign. The aim is to highlight the importance of trustworthy information and news. This comes after a study by the Leibniz Institute for Media Research found that about one-third of 14 to 24-year-olds in Germany are so alienated from news that media must go to enormous lengths and provide low-threshold offers to reach them.
Joint fact-base for democratic debate under threat
"The results of recent studies on disinformation, deficits in news skills and the growing distrust in media are alarming. We are in danger of losing the common factual basis for democratic debate, and thus a foundation of our liberal democracy. For three years now, our #UseTheNews initiative has helped improve young people's news literacy. The launch of a "Year of the News" action plan by public broadcasters and private media sends the right signal at the right time, he added. "We want to show how important reliably researched, truthful news is for our coexistence," said Julia Becker, Supervisor Funke-Mediengruppe.
Alliance of private and public partners
Plans are being laid for a social news desk to prepare suitable daily news for young people. Young journalists will produce video and audio, which will be published on social media channels with school classes. Regional news camps will make digital journalism tangible while schools and newsrooms will work on joint projects. The campaign also includes a special exhibition in the Museum für Kommunikation in Berlin and Frankfurt am Main from October 2024. A practical white paper for editorial offices and a scientific study will be published in late 2024 to supplement the campaign. It is backed by broadcasters ARD, ZDF and RTL/ntv, publishing houses such as Der Spiegel and the Funke Group as well as publishers' associations and the Organizations of Media Agencies (OMG), national media, the Federal Agency for Civic Education, the Leibniz Institute for Media Research and the Madsack and the Zeit foundations.
The #UseTheNews initiative seeks to understand young people's news use and their literacy and to develop new information and education services. News services will be designed in a news literacy lab based on the results of the study backed by experts at the Hamburg University of Applied Sciences (HAW Hamburg). . Education courses, teaching materials and training courses for teachers are being developed as part of Open News Education (ONE). The project is backed by a board of trustees consisting of well-known personalities in media and politics. #UseTheNews has partners in Austria, Switzerland, the Netherlands and the United States, where similar initiatives are underway.