Press “Taboos” and Media Policy: West German Trade Unions and the Urge to Gain Media Attention During the Era of Press Concentration

Maria Löblich, Niklas Venema


In view of an increasing economic concentration in the press sector in the 1960s, media policy discourses on regulation emerged in the Federal Republic of Germany as in other Western countries. Drawing on the theories of mediatization and discursive institutionalism, the study analyzes how the German Journalists’ Union engaged in these discourses. The analyses of archival materials and published sources for the period between 1962 and 1979 reveal that the umbrella organization German Trade Union Confederation remained hesitant about larger public initiatives for media policy. The organization considered its own trade union press and public relations as responses to a media environment characterized by press concentration. The Journalists’ Union also adhered to these ideational rules but got strongly engaged in the media policy debates. Therefore, the Journalists’ Union did not only pursue its own interests but also dealt with the general media attention problem that trade unions perceived to have.


Media policy, press concentration, trade unions, press law, mediatization, discursive institutionalism

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