The paper deals with the significance of media coverage and the problem of measuring such coverage, in order to trace social change in modem societies. The same task faces the National Fund project described here, the object of which is to carry out a systematic study showing the most important events reported at national level in each independent or party newspaper of the Swiss-German press during the period 1910-1992. This will permit synchronic and diachronic comparisons of the reporting of events in the media. In addition, it will provide an indicator of social change, i. e. the extent to which a common theme is reported as the main subject reveals the regular pattern of social change concealed by the succession of social-crisis phases and structure-centred phases. Phases of crisis are the communication nodes in the socializing process. It is here that media content converges in the selection of a common theme, thus preparing the way, on the one hand, for conflict and, on the other, for conflict-reducing processes of rapprochement which, clearly dependent on difficulties of orientation and uncertainties, only become possible in the face of shared processes of thematic selection in a highly complex world. The evidence presented in this contribution is, quite naturally, limited to the example of certain marked characteristics of media coverage during the crisis years of the 1930s.