Part of the challenge and strength of the Hamburg specialism is that it straddles the lines between academia and professional journalism. Essentially, during the programme you will spend your time theorising on a very practical profession. Therefore, on completing the degree students find themselves in the position to either continue exploring the changes and shifts in the journalism industry from an academic perspective, or to take their skills and go down the more practical route, finding work as a journalist or in many cases at an intergovernmental organisation or a NGO. Either way, and whatever field you are drawn to, one of the key skills students develop out of Hamburg is the consequent ability to critically reflect on changes in the media industry.
Read more about the changing nature of journalism as a profession, as reflected on by Mundus students following a field trip to visit German media houses. For further insight into what career options might be available to you on graduating, check out this career guidance blog. It’s run for Hamburg Mundus Students by Nea Matzen, who facilitates the career counselling module – available as an optional course to all students during their time in Hamburg. Students have also collated this blog called Mundus in Hamburg, which features student’s reflections about finding jobs following this degree.
Below is a series of stories written by students during their time on the career guidence course offered as an optional paper to Hamburg Mundusians.
TRIP TO MEDIA HOUSES IN BERLIN
Written by Bettina Benzinger
Hamburg is Germany’s media capital, the home of all these big names and publishing houses. But Berlin the capital is where all the relevant decisions are made and where journalists are fed with the current political news and happenings. Therefore, there is not a more exciting place to discuss with editors about their daily work, journalism trends and challenges to be overcome in journalism in the next years, than in Berlin.
The Hamburg Mundus Journalism group of 2010/2012, set off for this exciting discovery from Hamburg to Berlin by train, to visit different media in search of answers to some of the pertinent questions, like what the future holds for journalism. Among the media visited in Hamburg include: the daily newspaper Tagesspiegel with a local focus on Berlin, Spiegel International and the ARD Hauptstadtstudio, all of which generated interesting insights and discussions on how the organisations operate in general as well as how the journalists perform their day to day tasks in the newsroom.
Our first stop was the Bundespressekonferenz where representatives of the government and the different ministries hold press briefing to answer questions on current political issues. This session was probably was the most interesting, as we got to know the political rhetoric involved when politicians answer questions from journalists.
From the discussion of politics and spin doctoring in the media, we moved on to focus on what the tools of tomorrow’s journalism will be. We got an illustration from one of the foreign correspondents who showed us his latest working equipment. From this discussion one can say that the idea or concept of a “one-man-multimedia-show” will be the future of journalism.
Moritz Döbler in charge of the business desk at Tagesspiegel gave us a talk about teaching journalism at the university and daily challenges confronted by a print journalist in the field. We also had the opportunity to meet Darryl Lindsay, editor in chief of Spiegel International – a magazine that focuses on international aspects of the journalism business and also aims to have an International readership.
On the same trip, we had a tour of the studio of Germany’s public broadcaster ARD as well as the chance to interact with some of the reporters working for the radio and online departments. After the long day, I had the impression and feeling that journalism is one of the most exciting careers one can venture in to.
Green Peace visit
Written by Ann Mabel Sanyu
Walking in to the Green Peace offices by beautiful harbour at Grosse Elbsrasse in Hamburg, one gets the air of casualness but underneath this lies serious business to move the agenda of the environment protection.
One of the workers who met us at the reception was wearing a t-shirt with the words, “eat the rich” this might have seemed bizarre to an outsider who has never heard of Green Peace, but also appropriate as some of their work is against corporate companies and governments that have no regard for the environment.
Dr.Manfred Redelfs the Program coordinator and an investigative journalist, explained that since its formation in 1996 Green Peace Hamburg has been involved in a number of successful campaigns that are meant to lobby or advocate for the environment.
Among these was the campaign in 2010 against Nestle the giant, Swiss food company to stop the cutting of forests to grow palm trees in Indonesia. This was affecting not only the eco-system and threatening the livelihoods of many Indonesians but also the habitat of the animals like the orang-utan living in the forest.
The campaign received massive response on social sites like Facebook where people were debating even on the Nestle Facebook page about the Green Peace video on the campaign which caused a massive outrage. In an effort to contain this negative publicity the Nestle company closed their Facebook page which fueled the debate even further on the social media sites.
The success of such a campaign as Manfred explained does not come easy. Green Peace is concerned with advancing the political agenda, and therefore organisation needs journalists who are trained with specialised knowledge in investigating issues, especially as environmental problems are difficult to detect and the political knowledge that can address the environmental issue at hand. He says the research for a case should go beyond the obvious, as campaigners are always under political scrutiny. Time and resources are other challenges they face in carrying out the investigations.
A recent campaign in November this year involved thousands of protesters in Germany against the transportation of radio-active waste to France, which triggered delays of the cargo to its destination. Such campaigns require team work and active advocacy by the Green Peace who combined a political approach with a media one in their work. They also train their activists on how to react in extreme situations that may involve violence. For more information please visit the Greenpeace Germany.