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Vortrag: „Reality Representation on NHK Television News: Change, Continuities, and New Ways of Legitimizing the Social Order“ (Yosuke Buchmeier, M.A.)

15. Juni 2023 @ 18:00 - 20:00

With few democratic institutions the gap between supposed mission and actual role could hardly be any larger than with the news media. The news media is expected to play a crucial role in a democracy by providing citizens with the information they need to make informed decisions about their lives and the society they live in. It is also supposed to serve as a watchdog, monitoring the activities of government officials, businesses, and other organizations to ensure that they are acting in the best interests of the public. Finally, it should provide a platform for the public to voice their concerns and exchange opinions. These ideals apply even more so for public service media which, according to its mission, should be free from political or business interests.

This research project sets out to provide an in-depth inquiry into this gap between normative ideals and actual role of the news media by taking up the case of public service media NHK in Japan. Thereby, it explores the characteristics of NHK television news and analyzes how the broadcaster portrays society and politics in its news program. The first focus of the presentation will be the discussion of the study’s methodology, a content analysis, which deploys a category system of deductively and inductively developed categories.

The second focus will be the presentation of preliminary results, featuring change and continuities of NHK television news more than two decades since Ellis Krauss’s seminal study. Based on Krauss’s study, NHK news is widely considered to emphasize fact over interpretation and give unusual priority to the national bureaucracy. In doing so, it supported the legitimization of the state in post-war Japan. Does this observation still hold true two decades in the new millennium? The results of my study indicate that NHK news has significantly changed in some ways, e.g., that the bureaucrats do not play a prime role on the screen anymore, but continuities persist in that the broadcaster found new ways of legitimizing the social order.

Yosuke Buchmeier is a research associate and doctoral candidate at the Japan Center of Munich University (LMU). His research focuses on media, journalism, and democracy in Japan.

Latest publications:
(Forthcoming, with Gabriele Vogt) „The Aging Democracy: Demographic Effects, Political Legitimacy, and the Quest for Generational Pluralism“ in: Perspectives on Politics.

(Forthcoming) „Schweigekultur, Tabus und der öffentliche Diskurs: Agenda Cutting in Japan“ in: Hektor Haarkötter and Jörg-Uwe Nieland (eds.): Agenda Cutting. Wenn Themen von der Tagesordnung verschwinden. Wiesbaden: Springer VS.

(2022) „Protecting the people, or the Olympics? Agenda-cutting of the COVID-19 risk in the news coverage of Japan’s public broadcaster“ in: Media, Culture & Society 44 (6), 1132-1148,

(2020) “Towards a Conceptualization and Operationalization of Agenda-Cutting: A Research Agenda for a Neglected Media Phenomenon” in: Journalism Studies 21 (14), 2007-2024,

Der Vortrag findet in Präsenz statt. Ort: Japan-Zentrum der LMU, Seminargebäude am Englischen Garten, Oettingenstr. 67, 80538 München, Raum 151.

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15. Juni 2023
18:00 - 20:00