Demanding camera at eye level

Still this step backwards: “The battle plan is relatively simple and also a bit stubborn,” says SRF reporter Donat Hofer while driving the camera. He visits the Hornusser club in Emmental to learn about the Swiss rural population. “I don’t mean to say they are different, they suck. I want to deal with my prejudices. “

Technological change is also changing the media content of public media. To reach young audiences, they increasingly use social media platforms. A recently published study found that ARD and ZDF alone optimize more than 270 journalistic formats for distribution on such channels, and shows to what extent this creates new dependencies on tech giants.

SRF also produces various formats specifically for Instagram, YouTube, TikTok and Facebook. On the one hand, the license requires the SRF content to clearly reach a young audience and to use appropriate channels for this purpose.

On the other hand, SRG must also plan its journalistic offer on its own and act independently of economic groups.

The SRF performs this offsetting as part of the SRF 2024 project, which Medienwoche defined as total conversion. Because in order to reach more audiences, the SRF needs to focus on fragmented, non-linear media use by the audience. At the same time, a mere change based solely on technology is not enough. Whether the project succeeds, Medienwoche wrote, is “a question of quality, that is, a question of content.”

For example, SRF rec.

How content can change when SRF is based on YouTube, shows the annual “SRF rec.” Report format for which Donat Hofer traveled to Emmental. The format was designed specifically for Play SRF and YouTube’s own web platform. And it is clearly aimed at young audiences between the ages of 25 and 35. Asked by Infosperber, Claudia Badertscher, head of the “rec.” and Ilona Stämpfli, leader of the rec. team, said: “The format aims to offer serious journalism to the younger generation amidst the hustle and bustle of the Internet. In times of Ifake news we believe that this is an extremely important task for the SRF. »

Journalism created for programs is clearer, more subjective and more interactive than conventional tube TV. In any case, featured reporters want to be closer to their audience. This includes answering his questions in shorter Q&A form after the concert. Comparable formats have shown that young people really appreciate reports that are told in person and want to experience socially relevant topics and discuss controversial issues directly with reporters.

Critical Questions From Audiences First: Q&A Episode to Cryptocurrency Report

Criticism is a program

“Exchange with audiences on YouTube and on social media has been an integral part of the new format from the very beginning,” write Badertscher and Stämpfli. «In« rec. » Criticism is part of the format: dealing with criticism, praise and questions from the public is an integral part. ”

Reporters also get closer to their audience, not hiding their basic subjectivity, but making it the core of the show. They say why they are interested in a particular topic, what questions they are asked, and how they want to answer them. The story they tell is a meta-narrative. They tell a travel story (they often film themselves while driving a car), which is essential to be able to tell their heroes’ stories. It also means they make doubts, confusion, and their prejudices transparent.

Subjectivity and its chances, threats and side effects

It works quite well in Donat Hofer’s program on the politicized division into town and country. Thanks to the personal transparency of a reporter who is a bit dissatisfied after moving from town to country, the report gains a new, especially credible honesty. It illuminates contradictions and enables a diversified study of complex reality.

Corresponding to the format, the conclusion is something like this: instead of foolish judgment from afar, the differences between town and country dwellers require more direct contact and personal involvement. The reporter does not skimp on self-criticism. “I realized that I live in the countryside and don’t live,” he says at the end.

Reporter Donat Hofer takes a personal look at the split between town and country: SRF rec. from Emmental.

But such radical subjectivity does not always work as well. It depends on the researcher and his curiosity. And depending on the topic, the requirements are higher and more detailed. The cryptocurrency broadcast ended in a reporter’s ecstatic confusion that only included critical aspects in the Q&A episode.

And following a widely acclaimed report of the spread of conspiracy theories of satanic ritual violence, complaints have fallen. The most difficult of all: the lack of transparency. In a detailed report on 70 complaints, the SRG ombudsman acquitted the “SRF rec.” although mostly. However, she stated that “the selected topic is only partially suitable for this type of report”. It would simply require more effort to deal better with a complex topic. The “SRF Recommendation” responded with another episode in which also victims of inappropriate therapy related to the conspiracy theory voiced.

A spokesman for the SRG dealt with this broadcast: SRF rec. on the Conspiracy Theory of Satanic Ritual Violence.

When asked about the weaknesses of the format in general, Badertscher and Stämpfli wrote that they realized that the subjective style of narration still had to be a little used to the Swiss audience. They also state: “In terms of the quality of the content,” rec. ” always develop further. The important thing is: «rec.» he can still try to go his own way ”. In addition to lighter topics such as life in a van – life in a camper – the format continues to focus on the more challenging route: one final episode tells the story of self-proclaimed anorexia trainers who lure young anorexic people into chat rooms.

From YouTube to SRF 2

After all, you can see that switching from a transmitter from a distance to a receiver at the eye level of viewers is also popular with the teletext generations. On YouTube, about 60% of the nearly 3 million views in the first year (50 videos, including question-and-answer formats) came from people under 35. But according to the SRF, the show is also very popular on Play SRF, where the audience is usually older. The values, totaling 1 million views in the first year, are similar to well-known report formats such as “Reporter” or “Mona in the middle”. However, data from YouTube and Play SRF cannot be compared. For example, Play SRF cannot collect audience demographics.

They do not have to. According to Badertscher and Stämpfli, YouTube is primarily used to reach a young target group. “Of course, we realize that polarizing topics and exaggerated statements are getting a lot of attention on YouTube. For us, however, only journalistic criteria decide when choosing topics. In addition, we never publish exclusively for YouTube, all SRF reports can be played simultaneously on Play SRF and are broadcast linearly or embedded in other programs. »

The show is now on the Saturday night program at SRF 2.

SRF Elsewhere: SRF produces these formats for third-party platforms

The list is from Stefano Semeria, head of distribution at SRF.

“SRF Kids” and “SRF Children’s News”

In April 2020, SRF combined the children’s offer on the YouTube channel “SRF Kids”. In keeping with the motto “Understand, discover, participate”, the channel offers parents a wide range of opportunities to learn about current events in Switzerland with their children or to browse the archives. In June 2020, the “SRF Kinder News” children’s news format was launched.

«Bleisch & Bossart»

From November 2020, “Bleisch & Bossart” is aimed at people who want to face philosophical issues and join the discussion. YouTube format is already in its third season. Barbara Bleisch and Yves Bossart discuss everyday problems from a philosophical point of view.

“We, me and why”

The Instagram channel was launched in March 2021, which is aimed primarily at young women, is produced by them and developed together with a young target group.

«Folk music of the SRF»

From April 2021, “SRF Volksmusik” is a new Facebook page and channel for the Swiss folk music scene. The face of the new website is Arlette Wismer. In addition to new formats, ships and archive clips, “SRF Volksmusik” focuses on interacting with fans. The digital platform creates opportunities for new folk music, amateur music and portraits. Moreover, in this way the next generation can be reached more directly and their promotion can be supported even better. The Facebook page is the first step in the comprehensive digital offer of folk music at SRF.

SRF culture on Instagram

In August 2021, the Instagram channel of SRF Kultur @srfkultur was reactivated. Hosts Melissa Varela and Nino Gadient present, among others the cultural headlines of the day or feature young artists.

«SRF Knowledge» from «SRF CO2ntrol»

From August 2021, the SRF offers new points of contact for the curious: How to shop sustainably? What does recycling bring? In search of answers, Jara Helmi has been on a research trip in “SRF CO2ntrol” every two weeks since August 2021. The 28-year-old chats YouTube with experts in environmental and climate science and research. It also gives tips on how to implement sustainable development in everyday life. As the sections of “SRF CO2ntrol” are modular, users can define the course themselves with a click of the mouse. The format for people aged 25 to 34 can be found at www.srf.ch/wissen and in the YouTube “SRF Knowledge Center”. Platforms provide orientation in a complex world. They combine content from the fields of science, technology, nature, climate and health.

SRF News on TikTok

SRF News has been on TikTok with a pilot project since December 2021. The offer is presented by two young hosts – Franny (17) and Leon (19). SRF News shows, among other things, political connections for young people. In order not to leave any field to those who also produce junk and fake news there, it is all the more important that public media house journalism also takes place on these platforms.

«Influence of the SRF»

“SRF Impact” is a new YouTube reporting format that was re-launched in mid-February 2022. The three hosts, Amila Redzic, Michelle Feer and Livio Carlin, embark on a research journey for a young audience.

«The best talent of SRF 3» / «Interview»

In late March 2022, SRF 3 YouTube channel received a refresh. A music channel has been created in various formats that is also played on social media, radio and, in some cases, linear television. These include the new “SRF 3 Best Talent” brand formats promoting young talents and the weekly series “Talkabout” in which Swiss musicians raise issues of life.


The author’s thematic interests

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The opinions in the articles on Infosperber correspond to the personal judgments of the author.

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