Discussion Papers

Stephan Bode, Dietrich Boelter

Die Entwicklung der Telekommunikation in den neuen Bundesländern im Spiegel der Presse
Nr. 121 / Dezember 1993


The development of telecommunications is not an important subject in the East German press. In a survey of six big East German regional newspapers over a period of three years (from November 1989 to November 1992) merely 877 articles with some kind of reference could be detected. This corresponds to about one article per week or ca. 0,05 percent of the total coverage of all studied newspapers.

The results of the content analysis can be summarized in the following points:

- in the years 1989 and 1990, the intensity of the press coverage was obviously smaller than in 1991 and 1992. The main focus was in January 1991 (discussion about the increase of telephone charges) and July 1991 (introduction of the digital overlay-network).
- The newspapers scarcely differed in the amount of articles. Substantial deviations could be found in the course of time. This can partly be attributed to the increased coverage of local events.
- Only 15 percent of all reports were larger than 1/4 page. The preferred placing was in the economical and local section of the newspaper, only 10 percent of the articles (mostly small in size) were placed on page 1.
- It is obvious that there was only a small scope of personalization in the articles. In the majority of all cases, only the DBP Telekom as enterprise was mentioned, board members or the minister of post and telecommunications were generally left out.
- Despite intensive expansion measures, there were no decisive changes in the assessment of the telecommunication-infrastructure. Positive as well as negative judgements were balanced. The Telekom itself was mainly assessed positively although an increase of critical voices could be recorded towards the end of the studied period.
- The need of East German readers for information about new telecommunication technologies was scarcely satisfied. Major subjects were mobile radio and office communications, the extent of information, however, was rarely more than 5 sentences.
- A comparison with three West German newspapers (Handelsblatt, Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, Spiegel) brought up substantial differences. The interest in the subject in West German publications slowly decreased at the beginning of 1991 meanwhile it increased in the East German press. Furthermore, the West German assessment of the performance of the Telekom was obviously more negative.

Only German language version available.

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