Chernobyl and the Media
Completed associated PhD project
This doctoral thesis is a comparative study of the public debates on ‘Chernobyl’ in West Germany and France, undertaken by analysing media coverage during the second half of the 1980s.
However, the study explores not only how ‘Chernobyl’ was reported on television and in the printed press and which aspects and interpretations of this ‘invisible’ event were disseminated. Instead, it also analyses the protagonists of the debate appearing in the media, that is, scientific and economic experts and ‘counter-experts’, political figures and, last but not least, the journalists themselves.
By virtue of its comparative nature, the study intends to show how differing structural and personal relations between politics, science, the economy and the media in both countries significantly determined the form and content of the public debate over ‘Chernobyl’. In this way, it draws wider conclusions about the political culture of both societies. The study’s aim is not to provide an isolated comparison of the West German and French cases, but rather to explore the reasons behind the conspicuously distinct discussions, as well as the common elements and interrelations. Thus, it analyses the nuclear debate as a component of Franco-German relations, oscillating between conflict and interdependence. By combining the analysis of media with that of the actors, the project makes a contribution to a history of media broadened by elements of social history.
Defense of the dissertation on 15 February 2018 at the Humboldt University in Berlin. ... more
Publication published in the ZZF book series "Media and Social Change in the 20th Century" as Volume 10:
Katrin Jordan, Ausgestrahlt. Die mediale Debatte um »Tschernobyl« in der Bundesrepublik und in Frankreich 1986/8, Göttingen 2018.
Kontakt zu Katrin Jordan: jordan [at] zzf-potsdam.de