Editor’s Note: This is a personal narrative and commentary about German public radio, and multiculturalism therein, based on my experience in the last years. I offer my observations, suggestions, and hopes, perhaps to prompt further thought or consideration from journalists and newsreaders alike. Warning..this is a long one!
“You have no idea what you are talking about, Luka*.“ The small Greek colleague pushed a harshly dismissive comment toward Luka, incensing something primal in the latter. I had not yet met this colleague, after all I was just considered a Praktikant, an intern, a visitor, a stranger and kept more or less to myself unless prompted. I sat at the back corner of the meeting table in a German editorial meeting.
“How do you know what I have an idea about?” Luka shot back in his thick accent—Bosnian or Hungarian, I wasn’t quite sure. The other members of this multi-cultural editorial staff shifted their eyes nervously, some chuckled, not sure what to do. I stopped moving all-together, frozen in a pose for observation: my posture slouched, my chin buried in my hands, my eyes fixed. A discussion about refugees from Eastern Europe quickly turned heated.
“You don’t know what the refugees need. You don’t know who they are, or what they are doing.” The Greek colleague looked sure of himself, almost taunting the situation to escalate. A soft winter light shone in through the windows behind me, and story ideas pinned to a tack board fluttered slightly.Continue reading “Analysis: The state of journalism and multiculturalism in German public radio”
Language is always a sticking point in the German immigration debate. Many times politicians say immigrants need to learn better German, to fully integrate. But not all foreigners are told this. Entertainers, for example, seem to have a special status in German society, and imperfections are part of the charm. This feature was produced in German for Westdeutscher Rundfunk. Translation provided by Katie Ganzer.Continue reading “German Language and Identity (auf Deutsch)”
Immigration is a big topic in Germany, and WDR (Westdeutscher Rundfunk) asked for my views as a journalist and American. I applied my reporting and experience to produce a short commentary. (English version included.)Continue reading “The German Immigration Debate”