The Chair of Media Studies and Media Production
Students are sitting in lecture halls. Snippets of everyday sounds are played from the speakers, just for just a few seconds - a chainsaw, a cash register, a piece of chalk on a chalkboard ... The students' task is to describe these sounds in precise words which isn't easy. They play the recordings dozens of times in order to record every aspect of them.
This is often where media Analysis/media Production comes in: the exact description of a sound sequence. However, the focus is on more complex productions - current radio journalism contributions, features, reports. The way they are made leads to the question of how they affect public communication and what forms have influenced radio as a medium, for decades the most important electronic mass medium.
Of course, one focal point of the analysis is on linguistic design. What is the difference between the language of this medium and that of print and image media? How do you address, captivate, and convince someone who is "only" listening without any picture information to back up what is being said? It is linked to media-specific and media-wide questions, media history and media rhetoric. And the students provide the answers in their practical work - in seminars, on the university radio, and in co-operation with universities from all over Europe on the international programme "MicroEuropa".
The Chair of Audio-visual Media, Film and TV
Work at the Chair of Audio-visual Media, Film and TV focuses on media theory and history, but above all on the many and varied dramaturgical and formal-aesthetic design possibilities in the staging of moving pictures. The object of the analysis ranges from the traditionally told cinema film to 3D animations, from TV reports to mobile phone videos. One particular focus of research is the importance of light and colour on screen in their various dimensions: art, cultural-science, material-aesthetic and technological. However, this is not the only area where the digitalisation of the former production and distribution techniques has led to a fundamental change in paradigms. The reception conditions of story-telling in film have also changed completely as the result of media convergence. Thus it is that film artists, documentary film-makers and TV journalists currently face a global audience whose understanding of film is based on culturally heterogeneous or transcultural contexts that are extremely difficult to research. The creative and socio-political constructive potential of this globalised media communication is - in both senses of the word - as difficult to oversee as are its ethical and legal dangers. The research topics that are covered by the Chair reflect these complex associations using selected examples of European (mainly Italy, Spain and France), Asian (mainly India and China) and American cinema or international TV, the distribution of films in the Internet, and the media differences between the arts. Teaching and research do not only take into account the current theory discourses such as Cultural Studies, neuro and cognitive science and others, but also the media practical applications and the new professions resulting from media change. The latter is in close co-operation with the Media Competence Centre that belongs to the Chair.
The Chair of Print and Online Media
The Chair of Media Studies, focus on Print and Online Media, is at the interface of science and application, media theory and media practice. The following part catalogue of topics and projects describes the department's current works. Books are created in research projects with students - currently on issues such as the economy of attention, and on casting formats. They are also intended to develop a practical concept for the university and trial new forms of didactics. The application effects of constructivism and system theory are investigated in a series of books entitled "Systemische Horizonte. Theorie der Praxis" ("Systemic horizons. The theory of practice") and various other publications. These works will form the base for a further confrontation with theory careers and forms of theory diffusion over the next few years. Current research projects by the team deal with the structural change in celebrities under the new media conditions, scandalisation processes in the online media, and forms of communication that are intended to change society, the Communication for Social Change. The starting point for these works is the attempt to contribute to the enlightenment of the media society, and document and analyse the effects of mediatisation in every life sphere.
The Chair of Empirical Media Research
The aim of the research and teaching by the Chair of Empirical Media Research is to provide a firm foundation on which the prerequisites and consequences of communication by the media can be better understood and their cultural range better estimated. With a close interrelation between theory formation and empirical research, there is a particular focus on three aspects of the content:
1) The systematic analysis of public relations and advertising
Despite the tremendous need for advice in practical use, and the equally extensive requirement for mediation by the students, this kind of focus has hitherto been the exception in German language-based media and communication science. The occupation with such forms of strategic communication not only offers plenty of connections to Tübingen's renowned tradition of rhetoric, but is also of tremendous appeal in practice and to students.
2) The occupation with digital media
The focus of the research and mediation work at the Chair of Empirical Media Research is on the analysis of converging media offers in digital media with which communication theory moves consistently towards the increasingly tight merging of advertising, public relations and editorially supported offers. The systematic support and analysis of these processes is of high practical relevance, and also offers important insights for the evaluations of the feasibility of our media system on an extremely fundamental level.
3) Research into reception and effects
Research into reception and effects deals with the question of how media offers are selected, used, processed, and then integrated in the everyday lives and the imaginations of the recipients, and what the consequences of this are. The research into reception and effects can be seen as the heart of media and communications science research, and thus plays an important part in the research and mediation work of the Chair of Empirical Media Research.