Background and activities

Research focus: 

Agenda setting and agenda building: How do issue sponsors, inter media influence, and journalists‘ conceptions of the audience influence which issues move into the public’s focus? How do issues compete with one another for media and public attention? How long do issues capture the media‘s and the public‘s attention? Does the attention-span of media and the public respond to different qualities of issues such as relevance and complexity? How does the plurality of issues and viewpoints in the mass media (content-as-sent) translate to individuals (content-as-received)?

Frame setting and frame building: How do frame sponsors, inter media influence, and journalists‘ conceptions of the audience influence which frames dominate the mass media and which are held by the audience? How do frames compete with one another for media and public attention? How is the success of frames contingent on established cultural themes and memes?

Opinion formation and information seeking: Does successful agenda setting lead to increased scrutiny of the issue, heightened motivation and attention in making up one’s mind? Do levels of knowledge, and satisfaction with information and opinion-formation increase? Is there an increase in information seeking? How long do these effects endure and which aspects of media coverage sustain interest and effort for opinion formation? When do news consumers react to issues with boredom, aversion, reactance, leading to issue avoidance?

Scandals, crises, and conflicts as catalysts: Scandals, crises and major conflicts in society catalyze processes of agenda and frame building as well as agenda setting, frame setting, and opinion formation. Studying these processes is socially relevant as they often pose turning points and crossroads for society. How do news media report about actual and alleged norm violations? Do they protect the presumption of innocence? How do news consumers process messages about norm violations? How do they make inferences about the guilt or innocence of the accused public actors? However, they also provide ample opportunity to study processes of political communication and public opinion formation as they happen with increased speed and intensity.

Decision-Making in Journalism: Journalists make important decisions every day, e.g. whether to cover a particular topic, which way to approach the story, what images to use or not use. Due to large actual or anticipated media effects, there are various pressure groups -- audience, sources, colleagues and superordinates, competitors -- that can and do influence their decisions. In additional, their own ethical considerations, their self-conceptions, and their professional training shape their decisions. Studying these influences is even more interesting in times of fast technological and economical development in the media business.

Selected Publications:

Journal articles:

Magin, M. & Geiß, S. (accepted). Beyond time and space: The impact of autonomy from politics and commercialization pressure on mediatization in German and Austrian newspapers—a multilevel approach. Political Communication.

Koch, T. & Geiß, S. (accepted). Wie zuverlässig ist das Peer-Review-Verfahren? Eine Untersuchung der Interrater-Reliabilität von Reviewern auf DGPuK-Tagungen [How Reliable is Peer Reviewing? A Study in the Inter-Rater Reliability between Reviewers in Conferences of the German Communication Association]. Studies in Communication | Media.

Geiß, S., Magin, M., Stark, B., & Jürgens, P. (2018). «Common meeting ground» in Gefahr? Selektionslogiken politischer Informationsquellen und ihr Einfluss auf die Fragmentierung individueller Themenhorizonte [Endangered "common meeting ground"? Selection logics of political information sources and their influence on issue fragmentation]. Medien & Kommunikationswissenschaft, 66, 502-525.

Geiß, S. & Schäfer, S. (2017). Any publicity or good publicity? A competitive test of visibility- and tonality-based media effects on voting behavior. Political Communication, 34 (3), 444-467. doi:10.1080/10584609.2016.1271068

Geiß, S., Weber, M., & Quiring, O. (2017). Frame competition after key events: A longitudinal study of media framing of economic policy after the Lehman Brothers bankruptcy 2008–2009. International Journal of Public Opinion Research, 29 (3), 471-496. doi:10.1093/ijpor/edw001

Geiß, S., Leidecker, M., & Roessing, T. (2016). The interplay between media-for-monitoring and media-for-searching: How news media trigger searches and edits in Wikipedia. New Media & Society, 18(11), 2740–2759. doi:10.1177/1461444815600281

Geiß, S., Jackob, N., & Quiring, O. (2013). The impact of communicating digital technologies: How information and communication technology journalists conceptualize their influence on the audience and the industry. New Media and Society, 15(7), 1058–1076. doi:10.1177/1461444812465597

Kepplinger, H. M., Geiss, S., & Siebert, S. (2012). Framing Scandals: Cognitive and Emotional Media Effects. Journal of Communication, 62(4), 659–681. doi:10.1111/j.1460-2466.2012.01653.x

Geiß, S. (2011). Patterns of relationships between issues: An analysis of German prestige newspapers. International Journal of Public Opinion Research, 23(3), 265–286. doi:10.1093/ijpor/edq050


Encyclopedia and Handbook Entries

Schemer, C., & Geiß, S. (2018). Massenkommunikation [Mass Communication]. In T. Faas, O. W. Gabriel, & J. Maier (Eds.), Einstellungs- und Verhaltensforschung: Handbuch für Wissenschaft und Studium. Baden-Baden: Nomos.

Geiß, S. (2017b). Scandalization. In P. Rössler, C. A. Hoffner, & L. van Zoonen (Eds.), International Encyclopedia of Media Effects. Wiley-Blackwell. doi:10.1002/9781118783764.wbieme0198

Schemer, C. & Geiß, S. (2017). Latent Growth Curve Modeling. In J. Matthes, C. S. Davis, & R. F. Potter (Eds.), The International Encyclopedia of Communication Research Methods. Wiley.


Book chapters

Geiß, S. (2018). The dynamics of media attention to issues: Towards standardizing measures, dimensions, and profiles. In P. L. M. Vasterman (Ed.), From Media Hype to Twitter Storm: News explosions and their impact on issues, crises, and public opinion (pp. 83–112). Amsterdam University Press.


Scientific, academic and artistic work

Displaying a selection of activities. See all publications in the database

Journal publications

Part of book/report

  • Geiss, Stefan. (2018) The dynamics of media attention to issues: Towards standardizing measures, dimensions, and profiles. From Media Hype to Twitter Storm. News Explosions and Their Impact on Issues, Crises and Public Opinion.
  • Geiss, Stefan; Schemer, Christian. (2017) Latent Growth Curve Modeling. The International Encyclopedia of Communication Research Methods.