New Beginnings..again

Tomorrow I start a time as guest journalist at a new division of Bayerischer Rundfunk–this time with the Radiowelt (Radio World.)  My role in each editorial team is often the same: offer commentary, insight or humor to all things American.  Sometimes I get to put an American spin on something traditionally German.  But the longer I stay in Europe, one could–rightfully–pose the question: are you still qualified to give the American perspective, having not been in country for so long?

“Sure!”

Honestly I don’t understand everything going on in American society right now, but I would argue even people directly involved in said headlines are confused.  Healthcare, carbon emissions, bank bailouts, how much it would cost taxpayers if President Obama went to church…these are clearly pressing issues. (Save the last one, of course.)  The serious issues being discussed–or at least those stoking partisan rhetoric–are divisive and complicated.  I am not even sure I can trust news reports because talking heads have become the modern experts on every important topic.  Everyone has an agenda.

Cool
An electricity-powered snowman surrounded by little snow…statement about global warming or just funny?

So what is my agenda, if everyone has one?  Fair question.  I like to think I don’t have one, but I probably do and just can’t identify it yet.  My goal in explaining issues or producing a story is always to accurately report, but in working here there is an added cultural responsibility.  Part of me feels like I should defend the American society, while another part feels like not explaining away blatant missteps.

The biggest challenge for me is trying to escape analysis that seems contrived or corny.  How could I explain climate ideology without mentioning cacti or excessive air conditioning usage, while at the same time claiming to be from Arizona?  Fortunately I haven’t had to write on that topic for a German outlet yet, but I probably gave someone an idea…

I can’t really say how my role will change with this new placement at Radiowelt, but I am looking forward to taking serious looks at issues like integration, terrorism, religion and foreign policy.  I am staying up on the news from the States best I can, and am willing to offer my perspective to colleagues when wanted.

Our troupe is really finding its footing in Munich, and starting to feel less and less like transient visitors.  Stay tuned.

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