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Research and projects

Projects at the Institute of Journalism

Covering Cohesion Policy in Europe (COPE)

"Covering Cohesion Policy in Europe - Training MOOC for European Journalism Students" (COPE) is the title of a project funded by the EU Commission. Under the leadership of the Institute of Journalism, a new MOOC - Massive Open Online Course - will be created on covering EU cohesion policy.

The online course will be available to all universities in the European Union that train journalists at the undergraduate level. The COPE consortium consists of academics and journalism trainers from TU Dortmund University, AP Hogeschool Antwerp in Belgium, Aristotle University of Thessaloniki in Greece, University of Wrocław in Poland, University of Porto in Portugal, Babeș-Bolyai University in Romania, as well as the European Journalism Training Association (EJTA) and the non-governmental organization Arena for Journalism in Europe.

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CoMMPASS stands for “Communicating Migration and Mobility – E-Learning Programs and Newsroom Applications for Sub-Saharan Africa.” This EU-funded Erasmus+ project addresses the role of the media in reporting on migration and mobility, a key challenge in the 21st century, while promoting the development of an African narrative on the issue.

In the three-year course of the project (2023-2026), a consortium of six partners in Africa (Makerere University and Ugandan Christian University in Uganda, Malawi University of Business and Applied Sciences and University of Livingstonia in Malawi, and Université Joseph-Ki-Zerbo and Université Thomas-Sankara in Burkina Faso) and two in Europe (Dortmund University and ISCTE-Instituto Universitário de Lisboa in Portugal) will design and launch an innovative and interactive e-learning tool in four key African languages (English, French, Portuguese and Swahili) to facilitate better coverage on migration and mobility.

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network / photo: iStock/gremlin


The Dortmund Center for data-based Media Analysis (DoCMA) is an interdisciplinary research project, in which algorithms process huge quantities of newspaper articles and texts of social media in order to recognize patterns. The results enable the team to identify emerging trends in social networks, to track the development of a topic or compare how a topic is reported across media and/or countries.

DoCMA is a cross-faculty network of scientists, and serves the scientific exchange, the promotion of young scientists and the advancement of larger research and development projects in the field of data-based media analysis. The two professors Henrik Müller (journalism) and Jörg Rahnenführer (statistics) are both directors of DoCMA. 

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Fekom logo


The FeKoM project—funded by the Bundesministerium für Bildung und Forschung (BMBF, Federal Ministry of Education and Research)—aims to support the formation of an ethics-sensitive attitude in communication and media research.

Against the background of the steadily growing complexity of research processes and the increased importance of reflecting on research ethics, the topic is becoming increasingly important.

The project pursues the goal of formulating evidence-based recommendations for applied research ethics in quantitative studies (and its communication in teaching) and implementing them within the scientific community.

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GADMO is the largest coalition of fact-checkers and researchers in the German-speaking area: The aim of the project led by the Institute of Journalism is the coordinated fight against false claims and disinformation on the Internet. For the first time, the leading fact-checking organisations in the German-speaking countries Deutsche Presse-Agentur (dpa), Agence France Press (AFP), Austria Presse Agentur (APA) and the independent non-profit investigative newsroom Correctiv join forces. They cooperate with communication and data scientists from the Institute of Journalism and the Faculty of Statistics at TU Dortmund University and the AIT Austrian Institute of Technology. The Athens Technology Center is a technical partner. GADMO is part of the network of the European Digital Media Observatory (EDMO) and is funded by the EU commission. 

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a crowd of people crossing a street photo: istockphoto/Orbon Alija

Journalism & Democracy

What are the expectations of society and politics from journalism? What do the individual groups know about the expectations of the others? These questions are at the centre of the study "Journalism and Democracy", led by Prof. Dr. Michael Steinbrecher and Prof. Dr. Günther Rager. 

As a first step, journalists were surveyed - both newcomers to journalism (students at the Institute of Journalism at TU Dortmund University and trainees in various media companies) as well as experienced journalists. 

Next, a large-scale survey of politicians was conducted. This was followed by surveys of the public, economic actors and technological pioneers. An extension to other socially relevant groups is planned.

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Screenshot website Medien-Doktor


Based at the Chair of Science Journalism at the Institute of Journalism, the "Medien-Doktor" (in English "The German Health News Review") regularly evaluates journalistic contributions on health, nutrition and environmental topics with the help of a pool of experts consisting of renowned journalists. The expert opinions are prepared according to defined criteria.

The expert opinions published on the website medien-doktor.de, together with research tips, analyses and blog posts, also serve as a self-learning centre - for journalists and representatives of science PR, for teachers or citizens interested in the topic of media literacy. 


medien-doktor assistance

The aim of the project "medien-doktor assistance" at the Chair of Science Journalism is to develop an assistance system and create new structures for quality assurance in science reporting, especially in medical reporting, with a focus on regional media. Together with partner newsrooms such as Ruhr Nachrichten and Nürnberger Zeitung, the support needs will be specified and training offers will be made. 

Subsequently, the "Medien-Doktor" team will develop and evaluate the prototype of an assistance system together with the cooperation partner Fraunhofer Institute for Intelligent Analysis and Information Systems (IAIS) in Sankt Augustin and with a working group from the Faculty of Statistics at TU Dortmund University, using methods ranging from data journalism to machine learning.

The project is supported by the "WPK-Innovationsfonds", an initiative of Wissenschaftspressekonferenz, Joachim Herz Stiftung, VolkswagenStiftung, Stifterverband für die Deutsche Wissenschaft, Schöpflin Stiftung, Rudolf Augstein Stiftung and ZEIT-Stiftung Ebelin und Gerd Bucerius.

wood blocks with the word fact and fake / photo: iStock/enviromantic iStock


The aim of the project "noFake"—funded by the BMBF—is to dovetail the skills of humans and machines in order to enable citizens with minimal further training to carry out the essential steps of fact-checking. An AI system will be developed, which will sift through large amounts of data, pre-sort and annotate suspicious text and image material, and contextualise it for the human fact-checkers.

The project is being carried out by a consortium of the Ruhr University of Bochum, the non-profit investigative newsroom CORRECTIV, and TU Dortmund University with the assistance of Prof. Tobias Gostomzyk.

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nrwision logo


NRWision is a media platform for residents of North Rhine-Westphalia. It includes a media library with over 26,000 audio and video pieces, as well as a state-wide TV broadcast. NRWision is aimed at all NRW residents who create podcasts, radio shows, short films, reports, videos, or anything else for no financial benefits. An editorial service is provided to participants, i.e., the NRWision team checks for legal issues, writes an accompanying text, and provides editorial and technical guidance for future productions.

NRWision is funded by the Media Authority of North Rhine-Westphalia. Responsibility for the project lies with the Institute of Journalism.

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Rhine Ruhr Center for Science Communication Research (RRC)

Funded by the Volkswagen Foundation, the Rhine Ruhr Center for Science Communication Research (RRC) reorganises science communication research and develops innovative communication formats. To do so, the RRC focuses on findings from the interdisciplinary field of Science Studies as well as the development of new perspectives to communicate the Social Sciences and Humanities. The central aim is to enable both specialist audiences and a broader public to evaluate facts and research results in a reflective manner and to convey a nuanced picture of science.

The RRC combines the expertise of four project partners: the Chair of Science Journalism at TU Dortmund University, the Institute of Advanced Study in the Humanities Essen (KWI), the Forum Internationale Wissenschaft at the University of Bonn and the Institute for Media Research and Development at Bonn-Rhine-Sieg University of Applied Sciences.

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SecHuman logo


"SecHuman - Security for People in Cyberspace" is a graduate programme in which 13 doctoral students from the Ruhr University of Bochum, the TU Dortmund University and the University of Applied Sciences Dortmund investigate technical and social problems of IT security in an inter- and transdisciplinary research environment. To ensure the socio-political and practical relevance of the research, the research group cooperates with numerous practitioners from business, politics and civil society.

The SecHuman research college is embedded in the Horst Görtz Institute for IT Security at the Ruhr University of Bochum, one of the leading European research institutes in the field of IT security. 

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Projects at the Erich Brost Institute for international journalism

EJO logo


The European Journalism Observatory (EJO), a network of 13 independent non-profit media research institutes in 11 countries, aims to bridge journalism research and practice in Europe, and to foster professionalism and press freedom. The EJO promotes dialogue between media researchers and practitioners. It brings the results of media research to people who deal with and work in the media. It aims to improve the quality of journalism, contribute to a richer understanding of media, and to foster press freedom and media accountability. The German EJO site is located at the Erich Brost Institute. 

German EJO / English EJO

Global research on media accountability

Media accountability has been a prime research focus of the team led by Prof. Dr. Susanne Fengler for more than a decade. The team has contributed to major global comparative research.

The most recent publications are the Global Handbook of Media Accountability and the Special Issue of the Journal of Middle East Media (JMEM).

The research started in 2010 with the MediaAcT project’ which - for the first time - presented a comparative study on media self-regulation and media transparency of the media in Europe, North Africa (Tunisia) and the Middle East (Jordan). 

Reporting on migration

Research on reporting on migration and forced displacement has been a cornerstone of Prof. Dr. Susanne Fengler’s chair in international journalism for over a decade. The research comprises comparative global studies which include African, Arabic, American, Asian and European countries. These studies as well as projects with workshops attended by practicing journalists and educators revealed a dearth of journalistic education on reporting on migration and forced displacement along with a lack of curricula resources.

This insight resulted in the research and publication of the UNESCO Handbook for Journalism Educators: Reporting on Migrants and Refugees.

Media accountability in the MENA region

Since 2020, the project (funded by the Federal German Foreign Office) aimed to support media accountability in Algeria, Egypt, Iraq, Jordan, Lebanon, Libya, Morocco, Sudan, Syria and Tunisia. A comparative pilot-study titled “Media Accountability in the MENA region“ researched the status of applied media accountability in the region.

Further workshops have been conducted to enhance the application of media accountability, while an online platform introduced a range of media accountability tools in Arabic and English, and a regional network for media accountability in the MENA region was formed.

Mediadelcom logo


Mediadelcom is the abbreviated and most commonly used title of the EU Horizon 2020 funded project: “Critical Exploration of Media Related Risks and Opportunities for Deliberative Communication: Development Scenarios of the European Media Landscape“. The Erich Brost Institute is the German partner. After developing a holistic theoretical framework to describe risks and opportunities for deliberative communication in Europe, the project analyses monitoring capabilities and past developments in journalism, media regulation, media usage, and media-related competencies in the 14 project countries. Based on this data, the consortium will develop a diagnostic tool to analyze future scenarios.

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Media self-regulation in Poland

Since 2020 with support of the Zeit-Stiftung, the Erich Brost Institute for International Journalism—in cooperation with the Universities of Warsaw and Wrocław—has been successfully promoting high-level dialog formats on media self-regulation in Poland.

The co-operation succeeded in bringing leading Polish media, journalists' and press publishers' associations and media policy to one table, with the aim of building bridges between these stakeholders. Subsequently a joint Working Group on Self-Regulation was established (see full report in Central European Journal of Communication).


MEDIEN MIGRATION INTEGRATION is an e-learning platform on the topics of migration, media and discrimination. The Erich Brost Institute, together with Mediendienst Integration, has developed more than 20 free courses for media professionals, prospective journalists and other interested parties.

The platform supports well-founded reporting on the topics of migration and integration with more than 250 videos, audios, graphics, tasks as well as interactive quiz formats and role plays. The project is part of the media forum of the federal government's National Action Plan for Integration.

More information (in German) 

Newsreel logo


NEWSREEL stands for two sequential EU-funded projects through which the Erich Brost Institute (EBI) is committed to innovations in journalism education. The project partners develop e-learning materials and model syllabi for different fields of journalism training that need an update. Besides the EBI, the consortium consists of universities from the Czech Republic, Hungary, Portugal, and Romania, as well as the Berlin-based collaborative journalism organization Hostwriter as a practice partner. The EBI team is contributing its expertise in reporting on migrants and refugees, as well as in foreign coverage.

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