The article looks into the emergence and the developments of a new approach in research that is interested in the sequences, continuities and discontinuities in the landscapes of attentiveness in public communication. This interest in research stems from the old problem of explanations for the discontinuing social changes in modern society, marked by disaster and upheaval. At the University of Zurich this has fallen within the responsibility of the research department Public and Society since 1997 (FÖG – Forschungsbereich Öffentlichkeit und Gesellschaft). The realization of the beginnings and conclusions sheds a light on the contingencies, as well as on the wrong tracks and self-convincing mechanisms inherent in any research. In addition, this retrospective serves to recall the benefit of the capture of ever changing landscapes of attentiveness in and after 2008. Finally, there is also a benefit in the sociology of knowledge: research depends on context in which the fragile tissue of ideas and attempts is woven. This is ignored by academic culture, which focuses on the creative author. Initially, we see that new approaches in research start irritation. Irritation is the mother of all knowledge and has the remarkable quality of stimulating exchange between researchers of different disciplines. Naturally, this at first increases irritation. Then, irritation enforces rereading of the classics and leads to a meandering path from which – in time – the contours of a new approach in research become visible on the horizon. Only then does work with the methodical tools of the trade on these contours begin and, maybe, constitute an approach in research that proves valid. In any case, it will give birth to new problems and irritations. Accordingly, this realization leads to the issue of the adequacy of the new approach in research with regard to the old and newly found questions concerning the causes and consequences of the latest dramatic structural change of the public and of the changes in quality in media-based communication.