As a communications expert (M.A.) with 25 years of experience in the field of journalism and press relations, research, interviews, fixing and translations are my daily business. And my passion, too!
How I became a journalist
I discovered my passion for true stories during the peaceful revoution in East Germany in summer of 1989. It was the perfect time and the right place to be for a budding journalist full of curiosity and energy. As a resident of West Berlin and a student of journalism and English, I started fixing for foreign media. And this is what I still do.
The fall oft he Berlin Wall
25 years ago, shortly before the Fall of the Berlin Wall, I helped journalists from abroad meeting civil rights activists in East Berlin. I translated in interviews, and I accompanied them – illegally, without a visa – to Leipzig to report on the mass demonstrations. It was a fascinating time, and I did the right thing to neglect my university studies.
Working as a freelance radio journalist
I started working as a freelance journalist for Berlin radio stations, SFB and RIAS, around that time. For a curious person like myself, stories were to be found everywere in the streets of East Berlin and around the two halves of the capitial-to-be. Most of the area, the people and their lifestyle were unknown to West Berliners.
A new challenge: research in Tanzania, Africa
The next step was to graduate from university. In order to get a journalistic challenge for my Master Thesis, I decided to travel to Africa. In 1992, I undertook a three months research on the press in Tanzania – a formerly socialist country which had just opened up to a multi-party system and a free market economy.
A job at the Berlin bureau of The Washington Post – 9/11
In 1994, with an M.A. degree in Journalism and North American Studies, I got my first job as the news assistant in the Central Europe Bureau of The Washington Post in Berlin. It was a great job in which I learned a lot. In 1999 my daughter was born, and I took a year of maternity leave, then I worked two days a week. On September 11, 2001, I happened to be in the office. The story I worked on that moment never made it into the paper. Everything became irrelevant in the face of the two passenger planes crashing into the Twin Towers of New York. When it turned out that the main terrorists had lived and studied in Hamburg, just a three hour trip away from Berlin, we suddenly were at the core of the story. Those researches about the lives oft he 9/11 hijackers are among the most unforgettable ones of my life.
Print in crisis
When my daughter was three years old, I realized I had to find a new job with regular hours and less travelling. So I went into public relations. But after a year I was back into journalism, freelancing as a fixer and researcher. That went pretty well for some years. But the financial crisis, followed by the boom of internet advertisement, got the newspaper business into real trouble. I had regularly worked for The Chicago Tribune, The Boston Globe, The Daily Telegraph. All those bureaus were closed, their correspondents ordered back home. And many more foreign journalists left Germany.
Researches for book projects and documentaries
Luckily, there were still book projects to work on. Renowed US-American authors like David Maraniss, Steve Coll and Fred Kempe needed research in Germany for their books. There were also US-documentaries I worked on.
More jobs in public relations
In 2010, I took a job as director of public relations in a new association of the German water industry and water science, German Water Partnership. It was interesting as long as I could conceptualize the entire PR strategy, write the image brochures and the website texts in German and English. After nearly two years, the text content became too repetitive. I exchanged jobs and went to work for inter3 Institute for Resource Management, but the job was limited to six months.
Training as Content- and Social Media Manager
Back to freelancing, among others as the Europe representative oft he Pulitzer Center on Crisis Reporting from Washington DC, I decided I needed to broaden my field of work. I wanted to be an expert in writing texts for websites, in content management, social media strategies etc. After six months of full-time training, I am happy to have now created my own website. And I am looking forward to more jobs in that field – even though I‘ll continue working passionately as a freelance journalist, researcher, fixer and translator.
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