Category Archives: Personal

The small bus

On November29, 2018, I had the pleasure to travel by plane to the Cyberspace Conference in the Czech city of Brno. Lufthansa flew me from Düsseldorf (DUS/EDDL) to Munich(MUC/EDDM), where I had to board a connecting flight to Brno (BRQ/LKTB),operated by BMI regional.

 I arrived at the gate just in time for the boarding. I was the first to go through theself-boarding-gates where passengers have to get their boarding passes scanned.The BMI plane was parked at an apron position, so a bus ride to the plane was tobe expected. Of course, I had to wait because „Business Class, Hon Circle members,  Senators, and Star AllianceGold Card holders” were asked to go through the boarding process first. When my quick-boarding-gate was activated, I went downstairs, where a surprisingly small minibus waited. The driver was just instructing the aforementioned priority-boarding people to go „all the way through“ the bus, because it was expected to be quite crowded. It is possible to overload a transfer bus even with the few (like 20) passengers for Brno, if you just choose a small enough bus.  Indeed it got really uncomfortable after the 20 passengers had boarded the Minibus with its limited space (about 12seats at the most). Upon being told to „go! all! the! way! through!“ an American traveller asked in a rather annoyed tone „Why not get a bigger bus?“. On the way to the BMI plane, some of the bus’s occupants worried over how small the aircraft would be when they used such a small bus for transfer. The worrying was unnecessary because BMI’s Embraer 145 is a small but not too small aircraft. It seemed even bigger after the ride in the minibus. During the ride, we passed a normal transfer bus with only three people on it. The American yelled:„That’s not fair! They’ve got the big bus!“

Feldbahn auf Baltrum

Bis 1985 gab es auf der ostfriesischen Insel Baltrum eine kleine Inselbahn. Sie diente ausschließlich dem Gütertransport vom Anleger zum Güterschuppen etwas landeinwärts.

Der Autor in den 1980er Jahren am Güteranleger vor der Feldbahnlok
Der Güterschuppen. Heute ist die Einfahrt für die Feldbahnzüge zugemauert, der Zaun besteht aus alten Feldbahngleisen

Ein weiterer Zweig führte vom Anleger zum Bauhof, er diente dem Transport von Baumaterial zur Strandmauer, der Befestigung der Insel gegen die Nordsee. In den 60er Jahren führten die Feldbahngleise über den Bauhof hinaus auf die Standmauer zu den Reparaturbaustellen, die nach einer Sturmflut nötig geworden waren. Als der Autor die Inselbahn Baltrum in den 1070er Jahren kennenlernte, wurde der Bauhof-Zweig jedoch kaum noch genutzt, die Schienen waren verrostet — im Gegensatz zu den blanken Schienen des damals noch genutzten Gleises zum Güterschuppen.

Einige wenige Reste der Strecke zum Bauhof sind heute noch zu sehen.
Der Bauhof für den Küstenschutz. Früher gab es hier mehrere Weichen, die Gleise führten in die Gebäude und daran vorbei in Richtung der hinter dem Seezeichen gelegenen Strandmauer.

Die Feldbahn gab es schon, als der Großvater des Autors Baltrum in den 1950er Jahren besuchte. Der Anleger bestand damals noch aus Holz. Das Gleis für den Personenanleger diente dem Transport von aufgegebenem Gepäck und als Ausziehgleis für die  Strecke zum Bauhof. In den 1980er Jahren wurde es kaum noch benutzt, weil Gepäck bei Bahnreisen aufzugeben aus der Mode kam.

1985 wurde die Inselbahn auf Baltrum stillgelegt und fast restlos abgebaut. Wenn man einen Blick für Eisenbahnarchäologie hat, kann man aber noch heute (2018) an einigen Stellen erkennen, dass  da mal was war.


Eine zeitlang dienten die Räder der Feldbahnwagen als Schilder am Anleger. 2018 sind diese jedoch nicht mehr vorhanden.

Corporate Reputation Review accepted article about Wikipedia

Great news! Corporate Reputation Review accepted an article I authored with a colleague! The paper is titled “Wikipedia’s portrayals of large corporations – An analysis of corporate reputation dimensions in the English and German version of Wikipedia”. the article reports the results of a rather complex content analysis of Wikipedia’s (German and English) articles about large corporations. Our approach was based on the Dimensions of Reputation as proposed by Charles J. Fombrun and his colleagues.

Update: Published!

Roessing, Thomas, / Einwiller, Sabine (2016)*: Portrayals of Large Corporations in the English and German Version of Wikipedia – Exploring Similarities and Differences. Corporate Reputation Review, 19(2), S. 108–126. doi:10.1057/crr.2016.3

Article accepted by New Media & Society

The famous journal New Media & Society accepted this article for publication:

Geiß, Stefan / Leidecker, Melanie / Roessing, Thomas (in print): The interplay between news and search media: How news media trigger searches and edits in Wikipedia. To be published in News media and Society.

In this study, we delve into the phenomenon that traditional TV news have an influence on the readership of Wikipedia. When TV news report on an event (in our case a fatal earthquake), the number of visits to related Wikipedia articles (for eample: Richter magnitude scale) rises. The number of edits the Wikiepda articles receive is also affected by the attention created by the TV news.

EWE published article about majorities and public opinion

The deliberative journal EWE: Erwägen, Wissen, Ethik, has published an article of mine (in German):

Roessing, Thomas (2014): Das Mehrheitsprinzip in der modernen Mediengesellschaft. Kommentar zu E. Flaig. Erwägen, Wissen, Ethik 25(3), 473-476.

This article is a response to Egon Flaig’s essay “Die Mehrheitsentscheidung – ihre kulturelle Bedeutung” (in the same volume of the journal). His article deals with the majority principle and democratic structures in history, culture and the sciences . In my comment I argue that certain processes of public opinion formation (such as teh spiral of silence) and the role of the mass media in modern democracies pose a danger for the functioning of the majority principle, since they import power from other spheres into the democratic process.

List of the aircraft types I had the pleasure to travel with

Just for the records: A list of the aircraft types I had the pleasure to travel with – yet.

Airbus

  • A300 – used it several times to get to London (2005), Berlin, Munich, Hamburg. One of the most comfortable aircrafts I ever boarded. It is a pity that Lufthansa stopped operating this model a couple of years ago.
  • A310 – several trips to London in the 1990s.
  • A319, A320 – several journeys in Europe.
  • A321 – several times, including trips to Rome (2011), Porto (2010), Barcelona (2013).
  • A330 – used it for flights to Cairo (2009), to Philadelphia, and from Charlotte to Frankfurt (both in 2012).
  • A340-300 – has not very much power in its engines. I traveled with this model from Zurich to Chicago and back (2010) and from Boston to Frankfurt (2013).
  • A340-600 – wonderful aircraft! In the version Lufthansa uses, the restrooms are downstairs, much more comfortable to use than the traditional ones. I had the honor to fly with this type of aircraft back from Cairo (2009), on both trips to and from Orlando (2012) and to Boston (2013).
  • A380 – giant aircraft, I like that. I used one to fly from Sydney to Dubai (2012) and to get to Miami and back (2014). Very silent, even in the aft section of the lower deck.

Boeing

  • 737-300/500 – several trips to London, Zurich, Düsseldorf etc.
  • 747-400 – to San Francisco (2007) and to Hong Kong (2012). There were no Inflight Entertaining Systems installed in Lufthansa 747-400s back then, so the flights (11 and 13 hours!) were somewhat boring.
  • 747-8 – to Los Angeles and back in 2014. Nice aircraft, but it is extremely noisy in the aft sections of the cabin.
  • 767 – I used one of these to travel from London to Rome, one day after the Pope had died.
  • 777-200 ER – from Frankfurt to Dubai in 2012.
  • 777-300 – from Dubai to Frankfurt on my way home from Australia (2012).

Other

  • ATR 72 (turboprop) – several flights from Prague to Brno. Impressive acceleration.
  • Bae 146 (“Jumbolino”) – several trips including Zurich–Nice and Geneva–Frankfurt.
  • Canadair CRJ – this aircraft is way too small for my taste. Used it for example to fly from Frankfurt to Düsseldorf on Christmas Eve a couple of years ago.
  • A Dornier turboprop aircraft – I was on the first flight from Munich to Brno in 2005. This aircraft had a very impressive acceleration!
  • Embraer ERJ 145 – used one from Swiss for the flight from Frankfurt to Zurich in 2005. It was very comfortable back then with comfortable leather seats and plenty of legroom. And: One flight from Munich to Brno and back (with the smaller 135) in November 2017. And again in 2018.
  • Embraer 190 – several trips in Germany. Very comfortable aircraft, plenty of legroom.
  • Fokker 70/100 – I travelled with one of these to Amsterdam and back in 2006 (on my way to Montreal) and once from Vienna to Frankfurt.
  • MD11 – great, majestic aircraft. KLM used one to fly me to Montreal and back in 2006. It is a pity that KLM removed this type from their fleet.
  • Saab 2000 (turboprop) – one trip from Prague to Brno.

Types of aircraft I hope to fly with in the future

Journal Article about Wikipedia and breaking news published

My Article about Wikipedia as a gateway for breaking news has been published in Studies in Communication | Media (SCM). There is a three-page extended abstract in English for my international readers. The complete article is written in German and titeled “Enzyklopädie-Amateure als Amateur-Journalisten: Wikipedia als Gateway für aktuelle Ereignisse.”

The gist of the article is that amateurs who try to write an ancyclopedia sometimes have to deal with the duties of professional journalists. When notable events unfold (such as catastrophes, terrorist attacks or elections), Wikipedia’s authors have to cope with several problems like uncertainty of available information or contradicting sources. Many users of Wikipedia object the quick publication of articles about breaking news.

My article analyzes some of the disputes within the community and discusses examples of Wikipedia’s performance in dealing with unfolding events. Basis for the analysis is the gatekeeper theory. Using Wikipedia’s (German) article about the Loveparade disaster of 2010, I develop the concept of second-level gatekeeping.

Updated 2015-02-02

Presentation about freedom research accepted for the AAPOR conference in Hollywood, Florida

A proposal for the annual conference of the American Association for Public Opinion Research (AAPOR), May 14-17, 2015, has been accepted for presentation.

My co-author Thomas Petersen will present our research at the conference. It deals with results of combined surveys and media content analyses on the value of freedom in Germany. The project is part of the Freiheitsindex Deutschland (Freedom Index Germany), a co-operation of mine with the John-Stuart-Mill-Institute for freedom research at the university of applied sciences in Heidelberg, Germany and the Allensbach Institute.

Update, 2015-05-18: Unfortunately, none of the authors attended the conference (for organizational reasons) and the presentation had to be cancelled.

Paper accepted for DGPuK 2015 in Darmstadt

A paper I submitted with Nicole Podschuweit of Erfurt University (who is first author) has been accepted for presentation at DGPuK 2015, the annual conference of the German Association for Communication Research.

The paper’s title is “Haustürwahlkampf in Deutschland. Eine empirische Analyse am Beispiel des Wahlkampfes zur Thüringer Landtagswahl 2014”, which roughly translates as “Door-to-door campaigning in Germany. An empirical analysis of the Thuringian state election campaign in 2014”. The paper is based on interviews with campaign officials and a quantitative survey among campaign aids.

Darmstadt is my home town. I went to grammar school not far from the conference site. That makes this upcoming presentation a very special success for me.

Update 2014-12-18: A second paper has been accepted as part of the Panel “Ethische Herausforderungen kommunikationswissenschaftlicher Forschung. Anwendungsfelder, Anwendungsrelevanz und Perspektiven” (“Ethical challenges in communication research. Applications, relevance, and perspectives”) proposed by Katrin Döveling from U of Leipzig. My part is about “Sozialwissenschaftliche Experimente: Ethische Aspekte am Beispiel von Furcht erzeugenden Stimuli” which translates as “Experiments in the social sciences: Ethical aspects of fear-inducing stimuli”.

YouTube video of my LH A380 leaving Miami

I just published a video on YouTube for the first time: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QWeicP7EJLU.

On June 6, 2014, I filmed the lineup, takeoff, and the initial climb of LH463 out of Miami on its way to Frankfurt. Sitting on seat 90A, I used my Apple phone as a video camera.

After a long but smooth flight, the Airbus A380 reached Frankfurt and touched down on runway 07 R. After disembarking, I had for the first time the opportunity to use an automated passport control. There are mechanized doors and a scanner. You have to put the passport on the scanner and the door opens. I thought that was it, but there was more. Behind the door is a shiny black vertical glass plate with six bright lights, three on the right and three on the left. The glass plate shows the image of a hobo—obviously, that is what I look like after a day in the heat of Miami and a nine-hour flight. After comparing the image of the hobo with the image of the nice young man in my passport, the glass plate moved to the side and I was allowed back into Germany.