Lutz Mükke: ‘Journalists of Darkness’ Actors, Structures and Potentials of Media Coverage on Africa

14. September 2014 0 Comments


The EIJC research program “journalistic ethics” is not about questions of morality and neither about general principles. It rather examines specifically the essential framework for, and the influences on, the orientation system of Journalism. The research analyses the legitimization for journalistic action patterns.

The thesis of Lutz Mükke is framed by the context of currently worldwide erupting intercultural differences and conflicts. Mükke examined – supervised by Michael Haller, Stefan Brüne (GTZ) and Helmut Asche (University of Leipzig) – the role of foreign correspondents, their working environment and their institutional integration in the home editorial department. In the field of tension between structural expectations, intercultural communication barriers, and actual working conditions, the patterns of activity and performance of the correspondents were analysed and integrated into the normative function framework. The study focused on the correspondents and correspondent locations in Sub-Saharan Africa.

The result of the research is now available under the provocative title “Journalists of Darkness” as first volume of the “Series of the Institute for Practical Journalism and Communication Research” at the publishing house Herbert von Halem. The numerous reviews of this publication in reputable media testify that Mükke’s investigation offers new insights of the reality of German journalism.

And Rupert Neudeck wrote in the Süddeutsche Zeitung No. 240 2009: “The 557 closely printed pages of the young journalist and scientist Lutz Mükke are an informative compendium. […] ARD and ZDF should take the chapter ‘Gray areas, Deficit areas and Aberrations‘ so seriously as to send it to all correspondents. […] The book gives excellent insights into the kitchens of various journalistic media.”

On July 30th 2009, Vera Linß introduced the book during a life interview in the broadcast “Radiofeuilleton” of Deutschlandradio Kultur: “[…] war, crises and conflicts – these are the three big problems that German media mostly reduces the image of Africa to. Typical language stereotypes for that are “nameless masses” that are “condemned to live in the stone age” and caught in the “hunger trap” […] Reports from the perspective of everyday life – from art, culture, local economy or even of success; of history, religion and science are almost never covered. […] All that one would have somehow suspected. The merit of Mükke however, is to have put this on a scientific basis and collected and evaluated empirical data. Mükke also delivers suggestions for a professionalization of Africa reporting. Thus, he provided an important basis for discussion. […] It will be interesting to see further consequences. ”

The magazine afrikapost 3/09: “Highly recommended for everyone interested in the processes behind the scenes of journalism”


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