Scientific Staff

RUSSMANN, Uta, Univ.-Prof. Mag. Dr. (Head of department)

russmann_1Russmann, Uta is Professor of Media and Communication Studies with a focus on democracy research. Before joining the Department of Media, Society and Communication, she was FH-Professor and Senior Researcher at the Department of Communication at FHWien of the WKW for the study programs Journalism & Media Management and Communication Management from 2012 to 2022. Prior to that, she was a postdoctoral researcher in FWF-funded projects at the University of Vienna in cooperation with the Austrian Academy of Sciences (2007-2009) and at the Leopold-Franzens-University Innsbruck (2009-2012). Uta Rußmann received her PhD from the University of Vienna in 2007.

She initiated and is a convenor (together with Jörg Hassler and Melanie Magin) of the international projects "Campaigning for Strasbourg (CamforS)" ( and "Digital Election Campaigning Worldwide (DigiWorld)" (

Her research and teaching focuses on political communication, media and election campaigns, digital communication, (visual) social media, public relations and strategic communication.

More information about Uta Rußmann:



e-mail: uta.russmann_(at)
phone: +43 512 507-73605
fax: +43 512 507- 949 73600

room: 1S14Grauer Bär, Universitätsstraße 5-7, 1st floor.

consultation hours: as arranged by e-mail

HUG, Theo, Univ.-Prof. Dr. (University Professor & former Head of department)

Theo HugHug, Theo, Dr. phil. (born in 1960), took classes in psychology, pedagogy, mathematics and philosophy, and finished his postdoctoral qualification in 1996 at the University of Innsbruck (LFU).

Since 2011, he has been full professor of Educational Sciences (with emphasis on Media Education and Communications Culture), a founding member and coordinator of the interfaculty focal research group Innsbruck Media Studies.

Since 2015 he has been a member of the European Academy of Sciences and Arts (EASA) as well.

His areas of interest include media education and media literacy, mobile learning and micro-learning, medialization education, knowledge and communication, methodology and the philosophy of science.

More information about Theo Hug


e-mail: theo.hug_(at)
phone: +43 512 507-73602
fax: +43 512 507-949 73600

room: 1S13Grauer Bär, Universitätsstraße 5-7, 1st floor.

consultation Hours: arranged by e-mail

MISSOMELIUS, Petra, Assoz.-Prof. Priv.-Doz. Dr. (Deputy head of department)

Petra MissomeliusMissomelius, Petra, Assoz.-Prof. Priv.-Doz. Dr., studied modern German literature and media, European ethnology, and cultural research, as well as fine arts at Philipps University in Marburg, where she obtained her doctorate in 2006 with a thesis entitled “Digital Media Culture. Media configuration and perception.” Starting in 2001, she was employed as a research assistant at the Institute for Media Studies of the Faculty of German Studies and the Science of Art at Philipps University in Marburg, researching the artistic use of media, film analysis and knowledge, digital photography, and imaging methods in the natural sciences, as well as media education.

Since 2012, she has been at the Faculty of Education of Leopold Franzens University and working in the area of media education and communication culture.  She is Chief Editor of education/policy at the online journal “Medienimpulse – Beiträge zur Medienpädagogik” (“Media Impulses – contributions to media education”). Furthermore, she is the Deputy Head of Institute and Dean of Studies of the Faculty of Social and Political Sciences.

Her research fields are: media theory, (moving) image cultures and media practices, theories of the body and technology, media and science/education.

Her habilitation thesis "Bildung in transformativen Medienkulturen. Bausteine zur mündigen Orientierung im Binären" [Education in transformative media cultures. Building Blocks for a Responsible Orientation in the Binary] was published in 2021 with the title "Bildung - Medien - Mensch. Mündigkeit im Digitalen" with FWF publication funding in print and online. The new publication is available for download in the GEI repository. Click here to access the work on the publisher's website.

More information about Petra Missomelius:



e-mail: petra.missomelius_(at)
phone: +43 512 507-73603
fax: +43 512 507- 949 73600

room: 1S15Grauer Bär, Universitätsstraße 5-7, 1st floor.

consultation hours: as arranged by e-mail

DAN, Viorela, Assistant Professor Dr. (Tenure-Track)

viorela-dan-2Viorela joined the University of Innsbruck in March 2023 on a tenure-track position for media dynamics and social change - at the Department of Media, Society and Communication. Previously, she was a postdoctoral researcher at the Department of Media and Communication of the LMU Munich (Oct. 2017 - Feb. 2023). From 2011 to 2017, Viorela was a research associate at the Institute for Media and Communication Studies at the Free University of Berlin. There, she earned her PhD with a thesis on „Integrative framing analysis: Framing health through words and visuals“  (Routledge, 2018). Viorela was a Visiting Scholar at the Media School at Indiana University (2018), the School of Journalism at University of Texas at Austin (2012, 2013), and at the BI Norwegian School of Management (2009-2010). She participated in shorter exchange programs for research and teaching purposes with several other universities, including  the University of Vienna, the University of MissouriCentral Michigan University and Université Paris-Est Créteil.

Viorela’s research is devoted to the study of strategic communication, political communication, journalism, and health communication. Across these areas, she studies concrete media innovation, with a special focus on the question of how they were enabled by social change and/or how media change drives social change. Current research projects focus on deepfakes, misinformation and fact-checking.  Her work has appeared in leading journals in the field such as the International Journal of Press/Politics (IJPP), Journalism & Mass Communication Quarterly (JMCQ), Science Communication, Journalism Studies, Health Communication and Health, Risk & Society.

More information about Viorela Dan:

GScholar: Viorela Dan


Peer-Review Activities

2021– Ad-hoc Reviewer, Swiss National Science Foundation (SNF)
2020– Editorial Board Member, European Journal of Health Communication
2020– Ad-hoc Reviewer, Journal of Communication
2018– Ad-hoc Reviewer, Journalism & Mass Communication Quarterly (Top Reviewer 2019)
2017– Ad-hoc Reviewer, Science Communication
2014– Ad-hoc Reviewer, International Journal of Press/Politics

E-Mail: Viorela.Dan[at]
Tel.: -
Office: 1S16, Grauer Bär, Universitätsstraße 5-7, 1st floor
Consultation hours: by appointment via email

LEISTERT, Oliver, Dr. phil. Mag phil. (Universitätsassistent)


Leistert, Oliver, Dr. phil. Mag phil., studied Philosophy, Modern German Literature and Computer Science at the University of Hamburg. He wrote his doctoral thesis on (media) activism, surveillance and neoliberalism, specifically on the mobile media practice of social movements in various countries and the role of surveillance in their practice, as part of the Automatisms Research Training Group at the University of Paderborn. The work was awarded the Surveillance & Society Prize 2014.

He was a research fellow at the Central European University in Budapest and a post-doc at the Automatisms Research Training Group before moving to Leuphana University of Lüneburg, where he worked on the project "Complexity or Control? Paradigms for Sustainable Development" project, and where he contributed to the problems of control and complexity from a cultural studies perspective.  

In 2020, he worked for three years on his own DFG-funded position at Leuphana on the promises of blockchain technologies. This resulted in, among other things, a research article on protocols, as well as the focus on protocols in the ZfM.

Since January 2024, he has been a university assistant at the University of Innsbruck, focusing on media dynamics and social change. Research topic here is the relationship or connection between media change and climate change.

Research and work interests: History and theory of digital media, media and technology theories, social media and their consequences for subject and society, cryptography from a cultural and social science perspective, algorithm cultures, surveillance studies, sustainable computing.


More information about Oliver Leistert:

email: oliver.leistert_(at)
phone: +43 512 507 73611
room: 1S18, Grauer Bär, Universitätsstraße 5-7, 1.Stock
consultation hours: as arranged by e-mail

ZEITEL-BANK, Natascha, Dr. (Senior Lecturer & Koordination Medienpraxis)

natascha-08-22-3Zeitel-Bank, Natascha, Dr., studied sociology at the University of Mannheim with a focus on European
comparative social research and subsequently completed a doctorate in political science at the University of Erlangen-Nuremberg with a focus on European integration (European regional policy in the field of tension between economic and political political objectives). She teaches at the Faculty of Social and Political Sciences at the University of Innsbruck with a focus on European Integration, Political Communication and Media.

In addition to her academic career, she worked for several years in Brussels/Belgium in the press Department of the European Commission as well as a journalist for ZDF, Deutsche Welle and Bayerischer Rundfunk in the field of European of European reporting. In Innsbruck, Dr. Zeitel-Bank spent five years as project manager (marketing / PR) for the for the tourism markets France and Italy at the tourism organization Tirolwerbung / Gästeservice Tirol.

Research and study visits have taken her to the Graduate School of Business (GSB) in Cape Town, South Africa, to Indiana University in Bloomington, Indiana, USA and the University of New South Wales, Sydney, Australia. Main areas of work: Political communication, digital communication (social media), journalism and PR / public affairs, comparison of political (media) systems, European Union (media and public opinion).

More information about Natascha Zeitel-Bank:

FLD: Natascha Zeitel-Bank

Phone: +43 512 507-73608
Fax: +43 512 507 949 73600

Room: 1W04, Grauer Bär, Universitätsstraße 5-7, 1st floor.

Consultation hours: by telephone appointment




Sarah Panizzutti-GiulianiPanizzutti-Giuliani, Sarah has been working as secretary at the Department of Media, Society and Communication since October 2020.

More information about Sarah Panizzutti-Giuliani:

phone: +43 512 507-73600
room: 1W08Grauer Bär, Universitätsstraße 5-7, 1st floor.

Technical specialist

FORSTER, Andreas

Forster, Andreas studies computer science in his Bachelor's degree at the University of Innsbruck. He joined the Department of Media, Society and Communication as the technical specialist in mid-September 2021.

More information about Andreas Forster:

phone: +43 512 507-73609
room: 1W03Grauer Bär, Universitätsstraße 5-7, 1st floor.

Student Assistants

JAROSIK, Kathrin

Kathrin JarosikKathrin Jarosik, studies "Lehramt Französisch mit Spezialisierung Medienpädagogik" and works at the department since March 2022 as a student assistent.

More information about Kathrin Jarosik: 

Kraxberger, Andreas, MA (PhD Student)

andreas_kraxberger_fotoAndreas M. Kraxberger is an early-career scholar in the field of political communication, focusing on
the humorous framing of political information in modern media environments. He completed his
master’s degree in political science at the University of Innsbruck, Austria, and is currently pursuing
his PhD at the Doctoral College for Politics, Power, and Language. His PhD project, "Humorous
Alternative Framings of Political Content in the Modern Media Landscape: A Mixed-Method Analysis,"
examines the impact of political humour and satire on information processing and citizen

He has already published several studies, including one on political content in U.S. late-night shows.
He aims to deepen his research through diverse methodological approaches, contributing to the
understanding of political communication in the new media landscape.

Research interests: Political satire; emotions and news avoidance; political communication;
informative content in new media environments

More information about Andreas Kraxberger


• Office Hours: nach E-Mail Vereinbarung
• Adresse: Universitätsstr. 5-7, Room 1S20, 6020 Innsbruck, Austria
• mobile +43 676 7117278
• phone +43 512 507-70125
• e-mail:

External Lecturers

ALI, Habib, PhD

H-AliAli, Habib, received his PhD in Public Relations from Griffith University, Queensland, Australia in 2018 with a dissertation titled: "Using public relations in organizing activism against gender-based violence in Bangladesh: A study of NGOs". He is currently working as an Assistant Professor in the Department of Media Studies and Journalism at the University of Liberal Arts Bangladesh. His research interests include PR, crisis and conflict management, strategic communication, and communication campaigns. For the winter semester 2021/22 he joined our department as an external lecturer and taught a course on Digital Communication.  

ADOLF, Marian, Prof. Mag. Dr.

Marian AdolfAdolf, Marian, Prof. Mag. Dr. is a media and communication scientist with a focus on media sociology. He especially devotes his work to the social and cultural aspects of media development. He has researched and taught at numerous different universities and most recently held the professorship for media culture at Zeppelin University in Friedrichshafen. His publications include "Die unverstandene Kultur" (Transcript 2006), "Ist Wissen Macht?" (with Nico Stehr, Velbrück 2018) and "New Complexities for Communication Research and Media Analysis" (with Christian Katzenbach et al. 2018). 

Photo: ©

More information about Marian Adolf: 

BLASCH, Lisa, Mag.

blaschBlasch, Lisa, Mag. studied Applied Linguistics (focus on discourse analysis) at the University of Vienna. She is writing her dissertation in the field of visual political communication at the University of Innsbruck. In 2020, she published her first monograph with the title "Politiker*innen als Figuren in der digitalen Mediengesellschaft". From 2016 to 2020, she was a University Assistant at the Department of German Studies / Media Linguistics at the University of Innsbruck. Since the winter semester 2020, she has been a lecturer at the Institute for Theatre, Film and Media Studies at the University of Vienna and will also be joining the team of external lecturers at our department from the summer semester 2021. 

More information about Lisa Blasch: 

BEINSTEINER, Andreas, Dipl.-Ing. Mag. Dr.

Foto folgt in KürzeBeinsteiner, Andreas, Dipl.-Ing. Mag. Dr. studied computer science and philosophy in Innsbruck, Bergen, and Freiburg im Breisgau before earning his PhD in 2017 with a thesis in media philosophy. His current research deals with the technical and phenomenological theoretical foundations as well as the societal-lifeworld implications of the digital transformation; a focus here is on questions of power and subjectification. He teaches philosophy, media studies, and ethics at various universities.

More information about Andreas Beinsteiner:

CONRADI, Tobias Dr.

conradi_tobias_aConradi, Tobias, Dr. received his PhD on the topic of the representation of crisis and catastrophe events at the University of Paderborn. He is currently a senior researcher in the SNF project "Interactive Documentary Film and the Mediality of Decision" at HSLU Lucerne. Previously, he worked as Senior Scientist at the University of Vienna, as Max Kade Distinguished Visiting Professor at the University of Cincinnati, and as Postdoc at ZeM Brandenburg and HBK Braunschweig. He researches discourse theory and analysis, politics of representation, and the relationship between crisis, critique, and decision. 

FLEIG, Michael, Dr.

FleigFleig, Michael, Dr. phil, studied media studies, sociology and political science at the University of Regensburg. He has been a research assistant with the university since 2012 and completed his doctorate in 2018 with a thesis on the French film director Michel Gondry. His main areas of expertise are: Media theory, media history, Early Cinema and Alice Guy, film, analogue/digital tensions, time and media, music videos, digital images. He is currently writing a thesis on "Das Jenseitige der Medien" for his habilitation. Since 2010 he has also been one of the organisers of the International Short Film Week Regensburg and writes film reviews for

More information about Michael Fleig: 


hetfleischHetfleisch, Patricio is head of marketing and communications at Tirol Werbung GmbH (Tyrol's regional tourism organisation). He is mainly responsible for the marketing campaigns of the holiday destination. He began his career as a freelance editor and later as editor-in-chief at the Neue Zeitung für Tirol before moving to the Tiroler Tageszeitung. There, he first served as editor-in-chief of the online section. Later, as Head of Digital at Moser Holding, he was responsible for the digital strategy of Austria's third-largest print publishing house. Since the summer semester 2020, he has also been one of the external lecturers at our department.

More information about Patricio Hetfleisch:

HORACZEK, Nina, Mag.

ninahoraczekHoraczek, Nina, Mag., born 1977, is a political scientist, book author and chief reporter for the Austrian weekly newspaper "Falter". Her work has won several awards, including the Concordia Prize and the Dr. Karl Renner Journalism Prize. In 2019, her article "Propaganda War Europe: The Far-Right Media" was nominated for the European Press Prize in the Investigative Research category. Together with lawyer Sebastian Wiese, she published a book on media and media criticism in 2018: "Informiert euch! Wie du am laufenden bleibst ohne manipuliert zu werden" (Czernin Verlag).

Photo: © Katharina Gossow

More information about Nina Horaczek: 

KLEIN, Thomas, PD Dr. habil.

kleinKlein, Thomas, PD Dr. habil. (born 1967), received his doctorate in film studies from Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz in 2004 and habilitated in Media Studies at the University of Hamburg in 2014. From April 2018 to November 2019, he was a visiting professor at the Department of Media and Communication at the University of Hamburg. He currently works as a freelance film critic, as a speaker and lecturer on education for sustainable development and media literacy, and in sustainability communication with a focus on storytelling. Since 2021, he is co-spokesperson of the Partner Network Media, a committee in the "ESD for 2030" program of the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research. He lives in Berlin.

LAMP, Christian, Mag.

Christian LampLamp, Christian, Mag., studied International Economics at the University of Innsbruck and in Alicante, Spain. His professional focus is in the area of sustainable digital marketing. The question of the sustainable impact of digital touchpoints accompanies him in his present area of responsibility as Head of Digital Fundraising at SOS Children's Villages as well as in various teaching activities at universities and in adult education.


MAYER, Stephan, Mag.

mayerstephanMayer, Stephan, Mag., was the Berlin correspondent for Bayerischer Rundfunk for 17 years. In 2000, he took over the management of the newly established broadcasting studio in Berlin. Since mid-2017, he has been the first trimedial head reporter in Munich. He also coordinates BR's parliamentary reporting and reports from Munich, Berlin as well as Brussels and Strasbourg. He has been an external lecturer at the Department of Media, Society and Communication at the University of Innsbruck since the summer semester of 2020.
Photo: ©

More information about Stephan Mayer:

PEIFER, Andreas

pfeifer-portraitPfeifer, Andreas was ORF correspondent in Bolzano, Washington and Rome. Since July 2007 he has been head of the foreign affairs department of the Austrian broadcaster ORF. He comments on international events and developments for "Zeit im Bild" and reports as a special correspondent. He is also active as a trainer in ORF's internal journalism training programme.

After several teaching assignments at the Department of Political Science at the University of Innsbruck, he has been employed as an external lecturer at the Department of Media, Society and Communication since the summer semester of 2020.  
Photo: ©

More information about Andreas Pfeifer: 

PIG, Clemens, Dr.

Clemens PigPig, Clemens, Dr. is chairman of the management board and managing director of APA - Austria Presse Agentur. In 2008, Pig joined the Management Board, initially serving as Head of Marketing and Sales and as Managing Director of the APA subsidiary APA-DeFacto Datenbank & Contentmanagement GmbH. In 2014, Pig was appointed managing director of the APA Group and took over as chairman in 2016. In his scientific work, Pig addresses political communication in the digital transformation process of the media in a number of publications and book chapters. Pig received the Austrian Science Award of the PRVA - Public Relations Verband Austria in 2013 and was named "Media Manager of the Year" by the industry magazine "Der österreichische Journalist" in 2018. 

More information about Clemens Pig 

SAUER, Benedikt, Dr.

sauerSauer, Benedikt, Dr., studied German and History in Innsbruck (doctorate) and at the Scuola Superiore di Giornalismo in Urbino (I). He is a lecturer in journalism and media communication at the University of Innsbruck: from 1996 to 2008 at the Departments of German Literature, Contemporary History and Political Science, since 2020 at the Department of Media, Society and Communication. Since 2013, he has also been in charge of the training editorial department for radio journalism at "Freirad".

As a journalist: from 1991 to this day Austria correspondent for Rai Südtirol, as well as 1996-2008 at Der Standard, 2008-2018 columnist for the Tiroler Tageszeitung.

More information about Benedikt Sauer:

Visiting Researcher

Virtual Assistant


RobinRobin is our departmental virtual assistant. As a chatbot, Robin can answer all kinds of questions concerning studies or our department in general. At the same time, Robin is constantly learning. Robin's core areas and his ability to find helpful answers to questions are constantly expanded manually as well.

Powered by BOTlibre and Ponto Z.

More information about Robin: 

Former staff members & emeriti

PALLAVER, Günther, Univ.-Prof. DDr. (University Professor: Co-Founder & former head of department)

Günther Pallaver

Pallaver, Günther born in Bozen-Bolzano (1955), doctor of philosophy (PhD) and doctor of civil and canon low (J.U.D), is professor of Political Science with a special focus on media and political communication. He studied in Innsbruck, Salzburg, Vienna, Verona and London. State examination of journalism in Rome in 1991, journalist from 1989-1995. Since 1995 he has been at the University of Innsbruck.

Visiting professor at the Universities of Trento and Bozen-Bolzano. Co-founded the research team Mediawatch (Innsbruck) for media monitoring and media analysis in 1996. Freelance collaborator with various print media. Co-organizer of the Summer School in European Studies Innsbruck-Trento (2001-2010) and co-organizer of the Winter School in Federalism and Governance (since 2010). Member of the Advisory Board of Contemporary Austrian Studies (Innsbruck-New Orleans) and member of the European Centre for Research on Federalism (University of Tübingen). President of the South Tyrolian Society for political science.

Research fields: Comparative politics, political communication, federalism, ethnic minorities and (ethno)regional parties.

More information about Günther Pallaver:


e-mail: guenther.pallaver_(at)

 Former staff

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