March 26, 2021

Jury commendations for RIAS Media Prize winners

An independent panel of American and German journalists issued the following commendations for
the six RIAS Berlin Commission 2021 prize winners.

The jury for the 29th annual prize was made up of three Americans and three Germans and a total of 10,000 EUR prize money will be presented to the winners at a gala ceremony expected to be held in November. The jury includes: Co-chair Michael Gargiulo (WNBC TV, New York), Co-chair Anja Heyde (ZDF-MDR, Berlin) as well as Helge Fuhst (ARD, Hamburg), Yami Virgin (Fox 29, San Antonio, Texas), Matt Karnitschnig (Politico, Berlin) and Richard Meng (formerly Frankfurter Rundschau).

The RIAS Media Prize is intended to help strengthen the diversity of transatlantic dialogue and to deepen interest in German-American relations. There will be a total 10,000 EUR in prize money awarded to the six winners, including a new 5,000 EUR grand prize for the single most outstanding entry broadcast in 2020.

Here is what the jury had to say:

Ingo Zamperoni, Birgit Wärnke – NDR:  “Trump, meine amerikansiche Familie und ich”

“Trump, My American Family and Me” by Ingo Zamperoni and Birgit Wärnke is an outstanding film about an American family and is, at the same time, a film about American society. It shows the political divisions of the country on a meta-level through a private lens that is full of empathy. Zamperoni took a considerable risk by broadcasting such a personal glimpse of his family. The result is a film that gives viewers valuable insights into American life and ways of thinking that is rarely seen in Germany. The film makes no judgment – but instead simply documents the situation. By doing so, it reveals why so many Americans cast their ballots in favor of Donald Trump as their president. The narrative shows the entire ambivalence between a great love for a great country and the palpable aversion to some of the social and political developments within the USA.


RIAS Radio Award:

Aylin Dogan, Gregor Schmalzried – Bayern 2 (BR): “Die Andere Cancel Culture – von den unbekannten Opfer der Sozialen Medien“

“Cancel Culture” is a corrosive phenomenon on both sides of the Atlantic. In their thought-provoking report for Bayern 2, Aylin Dogan and Gregor Schmalzried delve into this emotional issue with nuance, exploring the tensions and misunderstandings it creates. They report on the tremendous power of “Cancel Culture“ in social media and how it sometimes hits the wrong target – from ordinary people to celebrities who are often powerless to defend themselves.



RIAS Digital Video Award:

Janek Speight – Deutsche Welle: “Why US sports are more socialist than European football”

Janek Speight has succeeded in creating an unusual, attention-grabbing look at the routines of professional sports on both sides of the Atlantic. A cheeky inversion of clichés, a social media-friendly and brilliant comparison of the incomparable. He discovers almost “socialist” aspects in American sports – with its revenue sharing, salary caps and draft system – and he contrasts those with a rather brutal selfishness of big money in Europe. His YouTube contribution for Deutsche Welle combines tongue-in-cheek levity with serious analysis. A triumphant piece of transatlantic journalism.



RIAS Fellow Award Radio:
Ryan Delaney – St. Louis Public Radio, NPR: “How Germany Reopened Schools During a Pandemic”

2020 was the year everything changed for millions of schoolchildren. Most of the schools in the United States were closed, many students were at home for remote learning. Germany, however, reopened its schools during the crisis. How? Ryan Delaney from St. Louis Public Radio went in search of and found the answers  to this question in a series of reports in October/November 2020 through Pulitzer Center and Education Writers Association. He spoke with a kindergarten teacher in Cologne, a father in Berlin, a high school student in Bonn and many others. He took the listeners into the classrooms to understand the actual impact of the decisions made regarding education and of the health of a generation.


RIAS Next Generation Award Award:
Anna Ellmann, Maximilian Osenstätter – BR (Bayerischer Rundfunk):
News WG – Series of Instagram Stories on Political Issues”

News – “not from the pages of a newspaper or a TV screen but from ‘Instagram”? That is the goal of the ‘Die News-WG’ – which was developed by young journalists at Bayerische Rundfunk (BR). The News-WG Team reports on the news in ways that young people understand and relate to… and they deliver the news to where young people are active…on Instagram. They tackle questions like ‘Things politicians would never say’ or ‘What kind of pork is that in your sandwich?’


Special Jury Prize Radio:
Michael Groth – Deutschlandradio Kultur: “Songs of Love and Protest – Wiederkehr des politischen Liedes in den USA“

Michael Groth has produced a series of outstanding, in-depth feature stories on the rich history of music in the United States and its influence on both politics in the United States and on music in Germany for Deutschlandfunk Kultur over the last 15 years. From features on Johnny Cash, Muddy Waters, Corky Siegel, Hank Williams, various country music and Mississippi Delta artists to the Chicago Blues and music from Austin and Nashville, Groth is a master of his craft. For his determination as perennial entrant, Groth receives special jury recognition for his contributions.


March 19, 2021

Six German, American stories picked as RIAS Media Prize winners in 2021

RIAS Media Prize ceremony in 2017 with Jan Böhmermann collecting his award

The RIAS BERLIN Commission is proud to announce the winners of this year’s RIAS Media Prize Awards. The 29th annual award is presented by the German-American exchange program and celebrates the best of transatlantic broadcast journalism with 10,000 EUR in prize-money awarded.

The jury made up of six distinguished journalists from the United States and Germany selected six winners in TV, Radio and Digital Media categories in Berlin on March 17, 2021. The jury includes: Co-chair Michael Gargiulo (WNBC TV, New York), Co-chair Anja Heyde (ZDF-MDR, Berlin) as well as Helge Fuhst (ARD, Hamburg), Yami Virgin (Fox 29, San Antonio, Texas), Matt Karnitschnig (Politico, Berlin) and Richard Meng (formerly Frankfurter Rundschau). Conditions allowing, RIAS Berlin Commission will host a gala ceremony in November to pay tribute to the winners from the 2021 competition as well as the 2020 completion that was postponed due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

This year’s prize winners are:

Rias Berlin Commision Grand Prize

Ingo Zamperoni, Birgit Wärnke  “Trump, meine amerikanische Familie und ich“, ARD, November 2, 2020


RIAS Radio Award

Aylin Dogan, Gregor Schmalzried   “Die andere Cancel Culture – Von den unbekannten Opfern der Sozialen Medien“, Bayern 2 (BR), September 13, 2020 https://www.br.de/mediathek/podcast/zuendfunk-generator/die-andere-cancel-culture-von-den-unbekannten-opfern-der-sozialen-medien/1804209


RIAS Digital Media Award

Janek Speight    “Why US sports are more socialist than European football“,Deutsche Welle YouTube film, September 18, 2020 https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=x0yZQgDwn1A


RIAS Fellow Award

Ryan Delaney  “How Germany Reopened Its Schools During a Pandemic”,  St. Louis Public Radio, NPR series during October/November 2020 through Pulitzer Center and Education Writers Association https://pulitzercenter.org/projects/how-germany-reopened-its-schools-during-pandemic


Special Jury Prize

Michael Groth “Songs of Love and Protest – Wiederkehr des politischen Liedes in den USA“ on October 30, 2020 and recognition for more than 15 years of outstanding in-depth features on US music for Deutschlandfunk/Deutschlandfunk Kultur https://www.deutschlandfunkkultur.de/die-wiederkehr-des-politischen-liedes-in-den-usa-songs-of.3780.de.html?dram:article_id=486565

RIAS Next Generation Prize

Anna Ellmann, Maximilian OsenstätterNews WG” – series of Instagram stories about political issues for BR (Bayerischer Rundfunk) https://www.instagram.com/news_wg/channel/?hl=de

January 27, 2021

Deadline nears for RIAS Media Prize submissions

The deadline for entries for the 2021 RIAS Media Prize is nearing on January 31. Journalists from the United States and Germany are encouraged to enter their best stories for the annual competition that puts a spotlight on exceptional radio, television and digital stories that were broadcast or published in 2020.  Here is a link for the entry form.

RIAS Media Prize Awards ceremony on May 23, 2019 at the RIAS building in Berlin. a new $6,000 (5,000 EUR) grand prize for the single most outstanding entry that was broadcast in either the United States or Germany during 2020 as well as up to five 1,000-EUR awards for exceptional radio, TV and digital stories. The winners will also be invited to attend a gala awards ceremony scheduled to take place in Berlin on June 10, 2021 — depending on travel conditions at that time. The winners will be selected by an independent jury made up of three top American journalists and three top German journalists.
CBS News correspondent Bill Whitaker speaking at the 2018 Award Ceremony

The RIAS Media Prize is intended to help strengthen the diversity of transatlantic dialogue and to deepen interest in German-American relations. Germany and the USA are each facing new directions in many respects, both internally and externally. Committed, independent journalism can contribute a great deal to mutual understanding of and between countries as well as to an open social discourse about values and goals. The contributions submitted should go beyond daily and routine reporting, should process information and describe social reality in a remarkable way, and promote dialogue on similarities and differences in transatlantic relations.

Ideally, contributions worth consideration should: stand out thematically and/or in their execution; take on new questions in a creative way; critically examine and make the diversity of social reality clear; contain interesting suggestions for transatlantic debate; encourage reflection on problems and solutions; question clichés about Germans and/or Americans; describe trends in everyday life that are of general interest; contribute in a special way to mutual curiosity and understanding; be suitable to strengthen democratic and societal values.

The entry system has been streamlined this year as well as there is no need to send tapes or audio recordings any longer.  Instead, all entries must be submitted electronically via email with a valid UR that is active until March 2021 and can be accessed without proprietary information (password) by the  RIAS jury.