Project closure

Coding Public Value – a digital contribution to the common good

After three years, the fortiss research project Coding Public Value (CPV) was successfully completed in summer 2023. An interdisciplinary project team analyzed the implementation of legal, political and user-oriented requirements for software systems used by public media institutions. The project was funded by the Bavarian Institute for Digital Transformation (bidt) and as a result provides a public interest-oriented guideline. It includes suitable approaches and methods for software development.

One of the major tasks for the future of public service media is the development, provision and operation of a digital communications infrastructure geared to the common good. Broadcasting and telemedia offerings that fall under the concepts of the common good or public value must provide a benefit or value for society. In practice, the concept of public value remains abstract in the media sector. Media offerings that fall into the public value category should be easy and quick to find, regardless of the media platform. The implementation of this easy discoverability, which is anchored in the State Media Treaty (MStV), therefore increases the need for software systems that can realize and guarantee it. The CPV project therefore focused on the question: How can software be developed that relates to the common good, user interests, and media law regulation?

Responsible Software Engineering

CPV investigated the institutional, political, and organizational conditions required to operate such media platforms with the help of public good-oriented software engineering. The interdisciplinary project combined the disciplines of software engineering, legal research, communication science and society and technology studies. Together with the Munich Center for Technology in Society at the Technical University of Munich (TUM), the Institute for Communication Science and Media Research at the Ludwig Maximilians University Munich (LMU), the Leibniz-Institut for Media Research – Hans-Bredow-Institute (HBI), the fortiss experts created a public good oriented requirements engineering guideline. This was produced jointly with the Requirements Engineering competence area under the supervision of Prof. Dr. Daniel Mendez. In the fortiss-led work package, scientist Oleksandr Kosenkov has developed an artifact-based approach that serves as a systematic guide for software development, legal, and editorial staff to jointly define software requirements.

For example, a key source of requirements is the editorial guidelines. Among other information, they define the target audiences of the public media organization. These target groups must be effectively "translated" into user groups, which are captured in requirements artifacts (e.g., requirements specifications, user stories). In addition, consistency between target groups in media domain artifacts and user groups in software requirements artifacts must be maintained over time, and changes must be made as needed.

The requirements artifact model serves here as a tool that supports software engineers in specifying requirements. It facilitates the process of requirements specification and at the same time enables requirements to be traced back to their origins. On the one hand, the model developed by fortiss integrates the results of the work packages carried out by the entire consortium and concretizes the information required for the political, regulatory, and organizational framework.

The result of the project shows ways to cope with complex requirement situations and at the same time illustrates the challenges that arise in the process. Especially when compliance and involvement of various stakeholders is required. The guide provides an excellent foundation for future research on requirements elicitation in other contexts that require the involvement of experts* and public interest issues.

Future task for the public service media

The implementation of public value is and will remain an important aspect for television, radio, or online offerings of public service media institutions. In the future, they will be increasingly involved in the creation and operation of digital communication platforms. These include services such as media libraries and digital offerings such as those provided by smart TVs or smart speakers. These are supplemented by digital formats and content that are adapted to the playout platforms in each case and that enable an opening for interaction with the audience and social participation.

The software requirements engineering guideline developed in the CPV project provides the necessary framework for the collection and documentation of legal, political, and institutional requirements justified by public values.

Read more about the project Coding Public Value (CPV) in the interview with fortiss scientist Oleksandr Kosenkow:
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