“No school for uncritical journalism.”

After several months of vacancy, the Catholic school of journalism in Germany, the "Institute for the Promotion of Young Journalists" , has a new spiritual director: Michael Broch, radio priest at SWR, on the goals of his leadership task.


CBA: Mr. Broch, with what expectations and goals will you begin your new task in April?

Broch: I look forward to the challenging work of helping to train young journalists. At the same time, it is important for me as a pastor and theologian to be a contact person in spiritual questions. And I want to be there when ethical ies are discussed in education. For example, the reporting in the current abuse scandal: This calls for ethically responsible journalism that advocates a full investigation, but at the same time respects the human dignity of all those involved in research and publication, above all keeps the victims in mind, and refrains from sweeping judgments and all-round attacks.

CBA: What distinguishes the ifp from other journalism schools?

Broch: From my point of view, the first priority must be that we – like other schools – offer journalism training at the highest professional level. In our case, however, the second factor is that this training takes place against a background that knows ethical standards and values and asks for perspectives of meaning. Doesn't mean we want to educate only faithful churchgoers. But someone who works from an ethical perspective certainly reports differently than someone who is absorbed in superficiality and only thinks about the market.

CBA: You will lead the school of journalism together with the journalistic director Elvira Steppacher. How do you divide the tasks?

Broch: That will become apparent during the work. But I am fully behind the new concept of dual leadership. This allows journalistic and theological-spiritual competencies to come together and complement each other positively.

CBA: There has been repeated criticism of the school of journalism within the church – often connected with the question of whether money could be saved here?

Broch: I know of few areas where church could invest more wisely. Where, if not at a school of journalism, can important multipliers be reached?? Precisely because the media increasingly determine public opinion, the Church must get involved here by contributing to responsible journalism in Germany. I understand this as part of a cosmopolitan catholicity. A lack of basic journalistic understanding may also have played a role in some criticism of ifp. For good journalism must be independent and critical. A school for uncritical journalism cannot exist.

CBA: To whom are the educational offers addressed?

Broch: Of course not exclusively to journalists of church magazines. I have no fear of contact with secular media. I even prefer that to an internal church situation. Church does not want to retreat into pious niches. The school must be attractive to journalists from all sectors and from all media. The interview was conducted by Volker Hasenauer.


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