Papst Benedikt XVI. und die Macht der Medien release_liahpnqytjbhtchfepk6pqghiq

by Friederike Glavanovics

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The research interest was based on the change of the media image of Pope Benedict XVI in the German-language media during the first five years of his pontificate. The research question - How Pope- and communication experts explain the media image of Pope Benedict XVI- was focused with an explorative, theorygenerating research approach. Expert interviews with open guideline were conducted with fifteen Pope- and communication experts. These interviews were analyzed with a reconstructive evaluation approach. From these reconstructed expert interviews an explanation-model for the media image of Pope Benedict XVI was deduced. This model and the results of the interviews were discussed in the context of communication theories, especially within system-theory and constructivist approaches. Two systems were extracted -church and media-, which contribute with their subsystems and other factors to explane the media image of Pope Benedict XVI. Within the system church, these are the local churches and the subsystem Vatican, which forms within the system church a special closed system. It is Pope Benedict XVI himself who affects the issues coming through as media image concerning his personality, style of communication and his Pontiff roledesign. As a result of the personalization of the church via the person of the Pope, there arise a lot of image-relevant interactions. Within the media system the sub-sytem of media-organizations and journalists could be defined as issues that in various ways, for example via media mechanisms, contribute to the forming of the media image of Pope Benedict XVI. The relations between the two systems –church and media- are influenced by other image-relevant factors. The power of media affects Pope Benedict XVI as Supreme Pontiff, but it has no influence on Joseph Ratzinger as person. Mass media construct an image of Pope Benedict XVI which is not bound to reality, but only to viability.
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