In the event of terrorist attacks or natural disasters, timely and reliable information is extremely important for media users. In order to find out what information needs people have in such situations and what media they use, a study design was developed with which empirical data can be collected at an extreme news event that actually occurred.
The attack in Munich on 22 July 2016 has shown how important social media have become in special event situations. Users reported live on what was happening on the spot, but numerous false reports and rumours that became “independent” also made the rounds. Besides the speed, which is undoubtedly an important aspect of reporting – especially in extreme situations that occur with a close spatial reference - reliable reporting with credible information for the population is indispensable. For this reason, it is important to recognise and understand the information needs and usage behaviour of people in such situations. Accordingly, the focus is on the use of news that deviates from habits, which comprises three central aspects: the way in which the initial information was received, the possible dissemination of this information and the choice of media for the more detailed search for information. Since the information behaviour in special times of news reporting cannot be simulated or presented in an abstract way due to the situational peculiarities, a study design was developed with which empirical data can be collected at an extreme news event that actually occurred.