Despite all the contradictory and difficult developments in “the media,” a number of areas in journalism stand for values and beliefs that have been and are driving forces in my life: the free word, courage, and reflection.
My contentual fields of competence cover foreign coverage, Africa, PR/propaganda, media journalism, stereotype research, freedom of press, methodical investigation, the work of foreign correspondents today and during the cold war, management of cross-border journalism projects.
I am closely related to my profession for more than two decades:
# as a foreign reporter, editor and co-editor
# in academic work and analysis of the professional field
# as project manager and fundraiser for numerous demanding journalism projects, especially in the field of international colaborations and research
# as member of expert and supervisory committees such as the Advisory Board of the European Fund for Investigative Journalism or currently in the Broadcasting Council of Deutsche Welle
# holding seminars, workshops and lectures.
I have traveled to 25 African countries as a reporter and an academic including Algeria, DR Congo, Mali, Niger, Nigeria, Somalia and South Sudan (refer to the catagory “Africa”). I aquired knowledge and comprehension of the continent through numerous travels and encounters as well as my University education of African Studies focusing on economy, politics and cultures of Africa.
As the lead project coordinator I designed and established the European Center for Press and Media Freedom (ECPMF) together with two of the biggest European media houses Gruner + Jahr and Axel-Springer, the Media Foundation of the Sparkasse Leipzig and with the support of all democratic parliamentary groups at the European Parliament. The ECPMF is a pan-European cooperative (SCE) that brought together more than 20 European organizations to defend the freedom of the press.
In parallel, I transformed and internationalized the Institute of Practical Journalism Research (IPJ) as its academical director to the European Center for Journalism and Communication Research (EIJC). Valid academic work, qualitatively as well as quantitatively, and dedicated teaching are among my standards. For more than ten years for example, I taught “Methodical Research” and “Editorial Decision Making” at the University of Leipzig. My journalistic initiation I got in the remote countryside of East Germany 25 years ago. These expierences were followed by a vocational training at a daily regional newspaper, and my studies of African studies, mass communication and journalism at the universities of Leipzig/Germany and Kampala/Uganda. Meanwhile my articles and films were and are published by national quality media like Frankfurter Allgemeine and Süddeutsche Zeitung, the political TV magazine Monitor (First German Television ARD), weekly national paper Die Zeit, the TV broadcaster Phoenix and numerous regional and special interest media.
In 2002 I joined the special interest magazine MESSAGE as an editor and became the managing editor and the co-editor. Today MESSAGE is closlely connected to the journalism department at University of Hamburg. The magazine/platform focuses on media journalism, investigative know-how and covers the stories behind the stories.
The books published by me „Correspondents in the Cold War” and „Journalists of Darkness” deal profoundly with pros and cons of foreign news coverage. „How the Media gained Freedom” (co-editor) describes the system change of East German mass media from socialism to capitalism.
The community awarded my researches and contributions with the Otto Brenner Prize for Critical Journalism; the Natali Lorenzo Prize by the European Union for development and human rights; and several recognized researches grants and scholarships.
Memberships and Occupations
Member of the Broadcasting Council of Deutsche Welle, former long-time member of the advisory board of the European Fund for Investigative Journalism, Netzwerk Recherche (organisation of German investigative journalists), DGPuK (German association for media and communication research); European Centre for Press and Media Freedom.
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