Alexandra Polownikow





PhD Project

Quality in times of transnationalization of public spheres.
Comparing the quality of national and transnational media content.

First supervisor: Prof. Dr. Christiane Eilders
Second supervisor: Jun.-Prof. Dr. Eva Heidbreder

The PhD-project contributes to the research on transnationalization of public spheres by raising the question of media content quality.
Even though the issue of media quality is as old as the media themselves and has been examined under a multitude of concepts and conditions, the current process of transnationalization demands its reassessment.
The normative requirement of a transnationalization of public spheres has been formulated, following the ongoing expansion of political processes and decision making across national borders – for example the considerable increase of international cooperation and transnational integration.
Since the media serves as a forum for public discourse as well as an independent actor that through selection and commentary contributes to public debates, media coverage plays a crucial role in establishing a functioning public sphere. Thus, only by providing high quality media coverage on transnational politics, media can ensure the information and potential participation of citizens.
So far empirical research has focused on measuring the extent of transnational media coverage: Main results state a somewhat stable multisegmented transnationalization of media coverage. However, the quality of media coverage on transnational politics has not been the topic of extensive research. The few studies existing show a rather balanced and rational transnational media coverage. However, its extent and variety as well as the low level of references by and to members of the civil society are perceived critically. For all that, the interpretation of the findings proves difficult, since the quality of media coverage on national topics is not used as a benchmark and the operationalization of the quality-concept can be improved by a deeper theoretical foundation.
Thus, the PhD-project offers an elaborate argumentation of how the quality of media coverage is linked to the process of the transnationalization of public spheres. Furthermore, an empirical concept for a quantitative analysis of the public quality of national and transnational media coverage in German print media is developed. The analysis focusses on the media coverage of six German print media outlets for the fields of fiscal and monetary as well as labor market policy in the year 2013.

Occupational Development

since 2013

Scholarship for the graduate school “Linkage in Democracy” (LinkDe) at Heinrich-Heine-University Düsseldorf


Internship at the research division “Eastern Europe, Eurasia” at the German Institute for International and Security Affairs


Research Assistant for the Communications- and Media-Department III at Heinrich-Heine-University Düsseldorf


Master studies of “Political Communication” at Heinrich-Heine-University Düsseldorf
Topic of master thesis: “Deutschland, Europa und die Welt. Der Transnationalisierungsgrad der Medienberichterstattung zu verschiedenen Politikfeldern (Germany, Europe, and the World. The Degree of Transnationalization for Media Coverage on Different Policy Fields)”


Bachelor studies of “Communication Science” and “Political Science” at Ludwig-Maximilians-University Munich (with Erasmus-semester at the Universitetet I Oslo, Norway)
Topic of bachelor thesis: “Medialisierung der Politik. Eine Analyse von Studien zur Wirkung von Medien auf Entscheidungen in militärischen Konflikten (Mediatization of Politics. Analyzing Studies about the Media’s Influence on Decision-Making in Military Conflicts)”


Wintersemester 2013/14
Seminar “Comparative Communication Research”



“Does transnationalization impair quality? An analytical concept for comparing the quality of national and transnational media content”

“Quality in times of transnationalization of public spheres. Comparing the quality of national and transnational media content”. Presentation at the ECREA European Media and Communication Doctoral School 2014, University Bremen Presentation at the Conference "Media: Theory and Practice", Centre for Culture and Cultural Studies Skopje

“Vereinbarkeit von Qualität und Transnationalisierung? Ein analytisches Konzept zur Qualitätsmessung transnationaler Medienberichterstattung (Compatibility of Quality and Transnationalization? An Analytical Concept for Measuring Transnational Media Content)” Presentation at the Winter School „Die Arbeit am Widerstand. Politik im Zeitalter der Subjektivierung (Working at Resistance. Politics in Times of Subjectivation)“, Universität Innsbruck