The former German Chancellor Helmut Schmidt (1918-2015) continued his political work as a publicist at the country’s most influential weekly Die Zeit. Using a content analysis and a subsequent cluster analysis, we apply quantitative methods to discover how Schmidt framed German and global politics in the historic context of the last three decades. The paper’s aim is to show the value of frame analysis for communication history research and to reveal frame dynamics and statics over time. Our findings illustrate Schmidt’s historically grown view on economic and political developments, which he promoted in his new office. Especially his successor Helmut Kohl (1930-2017) is often criticized and treated as a cause for many political problems, particularly in the 1990s. However, Schmidt’s journalistic work is not only influenced by his own political biography, but also by the historic context of his time, such as the German reunification. Overall, Schmidt’s journalistic work is shaped by a) his political dispositions and b) the journalistic routines he adapted to at Die Zeit.
Thomas Birkner & Valerie Hase: Framing German and global politics over three decades A quantitative content analysis of the journalistic work of Helmut Schmidt