Analysis: The state of journalism and multiculturalism in German public radio

Journalism's changing

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.

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Burns Alumni Newsletter, Oslo

I was fortunate enough to be able to write this article for the Arthur Burns Fellowship alumni newsletter.  To see the whole newsletter click here.  (Opens in a new window.)  For just my article, keep reading…

The transformation of sleepy Oslo to fortified Nobel host city was tangible. There was anxiety on the sidewalks as citizens walked carefully by concrete barricades, policemen with machine guns and bomb-sniffing dogs—all in place for the arriving VIPs.  Even manhole covers were welded shut as a security measure—the official sign that a U.S. president is or has been to a city.

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A Return to Dresden

A New City, A New Year

Bye, Cologne
Even temporary homes are homes.  We lived only three months in Cologne, but we all feel a little more like Rhinelanders after that time.  Our land-lady even bought us a crystal cathedral that lights up, all giving us a sense that we will be missed.  But at 9:55 on New Year’s Eve all was to change.  Our plans were made: pack, find our place in the Kinderabteilung (Children’s compartment), and head to Munich.

Four hours later we arrived in Munich, and loaded a taxi.  Our new home was waiting, and, now, the glass cathedral has a new place to glow and spin.

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Peace Prize: Recap and Final Thoughts

Press
As a journalist I like to think my view on life is influenced by a variety of sources, ideally giving me enough information to responsibly and accurately inform my audience.  Experiencing something first-hand is often one of the most powerful ways to report a story.  As I sat on the streets of Oslo after President Obama had left, I drank an apple juice, and watched life continue as before the Nobel ceremony, the reality of the previous 2 days set in—I had witnessed something truly historic…for better or worse.

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Photos: Nobel Peace Prize Ceremony

To Oslo for Peace…

By Night

 President Obama isn’t here yet, but the city is breathing anticipation–not all of it positive.  For 99 Norwegian Crowns one can buy an Obama t-shirt with “Hope” across the bottom, and for 0 Crowns one can enjoy Greenpeace’s characteristically aggressive campaigning for environmental issues.

So in just a few hours the President will board Air Force One and begin his 26 hours in Oslo, to accept a controversial and arguably confusing peace prize, just days after ordering the deployment of 30-thousand more American troops to Afghanistan.  This is an uncomfortable time; an insecure time; and this is the time in which we live.

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