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05 | MAY - Knowledge
History Shapes Community - Tom Matzek, TV Education, Science and Current Affairs
Historical documentations are more than the illustration of HISTORICAL processes. They contribute to the national IDENTITY of a society. A study by the Institute of Journalism at the University of Vienna uses the example of "Universum History" to show how the reflection of national identity has positive effects on pluralism and an understanding of democracy. In a nine-part series, the "Universum History" series "Our Austria" has attempted to portray the diversity of our country, which took its starting point in the Habsburg Empire. From the beginning, Univ.-Prof. Jürgen Grimm from the Institute of Journalism at the University of Vienna accompanied this project.
The example of Carinthia: in this episode a Slovene peasant family from the trilingual region at the foot of the Karawanken mountains was portrayed from 1918 to the present. It deals with persecution and expulsion during the Nazi era as well as the conflicts between the ethnic groups in the post-war period.
The mother tongues of the protagonists - Slovenian, Italian, German - were deliberately left unchanged. This self-evident diversity was well received by the audience. Not only that. The researchers found that while watching the documentary, "nationalistic attitudes decreased," as did "the readiness for conflict and "struggle." Family sagas spanning four generations were used to provide a unique perspective on the 20th century in each province. In Tyrol, the story was about a married couple who wanted to draw attention to the situation of the German- and Ladin-speaking South Tyroleans in Italy - even with explosives. The Vienna episode focused on Jewish entrepreneurs who came to Vienna from what was then Galicia and experienced exclusion and persecution.
In Burgenland, on the other hand, a family was torn between belonging to Hungary and the newly formed Austria. In the Styrian episode, love brought together a German-speaking farmer and a Slovenian harvest worker. In their farm right on the border, they combine "Stajerska" and Styria in a very personal way.
Nine documentaries, nine provinces, nine families that stood for the diversity of Austria.
This concept not only led to audience success (with an average of 500,000 viewers per episode) and a Romy award. Research by Univ.-Prof. Jürgen Grimm stated: the series "highly significantly increases cosmopolitanism, especially the reflection of national identity and the acceptance of diversity in the country."
Depicting this diversity - variety and diversity - is the task of a society's broadcasting. Representation of history has a key function in this, in that it promotes respect for others through knowledge of their history. "Universum History" has made this its task and will continue to do so with series such as "Unser Österreich" (Our Austria).
ORF program guidelines
The communication of science refers to both established scientific knowledge and new scientific theses. The aim is not only to provide information about scientific topics, but also to contribute to a better understanding of current problems and their interrelationships, and thus to offer help for life, among other things.