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October 20, 2017

Six German journalists got a chance to take a closer look at US-Mexico border and all the ramifications of border security on a RIAS Berlin Commission week-long program in the Southwestern United States.

After enlightening talks at the start of the week with academic experts addressing all aspects of immigration and border security at Texas A&M university, the six German anchors and reporters from leading broadcasters across the country took helicopter and high-speed patrol rides with Texas state police along the Rio Grande Valley area to learn first hand about the remarkably porous frontier and the drug-related violence that causes death and disruption on both sides.

The up-close-and-personal tour also included a grueling mile-long hike through thick jungle-like underbrush on trails leading from the river inland into Texas that are used by drug runners and migrants alike trying to evade border controls. Danger seemed to lurk around every corner with alligators in the river, snakes in the brush, and heavily armed Texas Rangers popping up  out of the weeds along the trail to guard and escort the group through the wilds.

“It felt a bit like in a scene from the film ‘Apocalypse Now’. Only that this is a real life scenario,” said ARD Tagesthemen anchorman Ingo Zamperoni, who is on his second RIAS fellowship in the last 13 years. “Seeing this rugged border along this insanely windy Rio Grande river up front gives

you an idea of how impossible President Trump’s request for a impenetrable wall actually is. It’s just too vast even though you can understand the need for a more secure and better protected border.”

Also on the research-study trip are Anja Heyde from ZDF and MDR TV networks, Annette Betz from Bayerische Rundfunk (BR) TV, Petra Gute from RBB TV, Vladimir Balzer from Deutschlandradio and Alies Lindenboom from ARD TV.

“If you’re standing there at the Mexican border, you suddenly realize that America and Europe have lots in common these days,” said Betz, an anchor for Bavarian TV. “We’re searching for answers ourselves how to strike the right balance between humanity and security with border protection. It’s all about people and how we want to live.”

The German journalists also visited the border and senior U.S. Federal Reserve officials in El Paso, New Mexico’s Santa Teresa Port of Entry, and Veronica Escobar, a top candidate for Congress, for

an riveting talk as well academic experts to learn more about the issues that have become such political hot button issues in the United States and Latin America.  The RIAS journalists also meet with former RIAS fellows in Las Cruces, New Mexico and in Houston.

The program was organised with the help of RIAS Berlin Commissions board member Hildegard Boucsion and the organization’s long-time cooperation partner, the European Union Center at Texas A&M University, and associate director of the EUC at Texas A&M, Ann Klaus


September 18, 2017

RIAS Fall 2017 US Fellows Hit Ground Running in Brussels

Fourteen U.S.-based journalists taking part in the fall 2017 RIAS Berlin Commission fellowship hit the ground running in Brussels on Monday, September 18 at the start of a busy two-week program in Belgium and Germany in the run-up to the German election on September 24. Kicking off the tour in the EU capital, the fellows got to learn more about the EU’s inner workings from expert speakers and journalists working in Deutsche Welle’s busy Brussels bureau.

DW bureau chief Max Hofmann, who was a RIAS fellow in the United States in 2008, treated the group to a riveting discussion about the growing importance of the EU capital city and how its view of the United States has changed and evolved over the last year. The US fellows will also spend time in Berlin and Hamburg over the next fortnight after a stop at NATO headquarters on Tuesday. Visits to leading German broadcasting outlets, think tanks, political scientists, party headquarters on election night, a Bundesliga soccer match, an American craft beer brewery in Berlin, ethnic communities, the Elbphilharmic in Hamburg, as well as memorials and historical sites are all on the busy schedule.

Here is a list of the fall 2017 participants:

  1. Stephanie Carr, KSHB-41 News Producer, Kansas City, MO
  2. Iris Carreras CBS News Associate Producer, New York, NY
  3. Viviana Hurtado, WTOL/WUPW Anchor, Toledo, OH
  4. Allegra Johnson, Producer, Reporter, Pittsburgh, PA
  5. Elizabeth Johnson, CNN Senior Editor, Atlanta
  6. Lane Luckie, KLTV News Anchor, Reporter, Tyler, TX
  7.  Heather Maxwell, Voice of America International Broadcaster, Washington DC
  8. Scott Saloway, MSNBC, Headline Writer, New York, NY
  9. Alex Stambaugh CNN International Content Producer, Hong Kong
  10. Simon Thompson, KRWG Reporter, Producer, Las Cruces, New Mexico
  11. Clare Toeniskoetter, Marketplace Producer, New York, NY
  12. Benjamin Warwick,  KCNC-TV Assignment Editor, Denver, CO
  13. Stephanie Wolf, Colorado Public Radio, Pruducer, Reporter, Colorado
  14. Edgar Zuniga, Telemundo Producer, New York, NY

“If you’re standing there in McAllen at the Mexican border, then you suddenly realize that the United States and Europe have lots in common right now,” said Heyde. “We’ve also been searching for answers about how to the right balance between humanity and security.”


September 7, 2017

RIAS alumni share memories, look to future at meeting at RTDNA

More than 50 alumni and friends of the RIAS Berlin Commission came to the annual U.S. alumni meeting at the RTDNA Excellence in Journalism (EIJ17) convention in Anaheim on Thursday, September 7.  Coming from far and wide across the United States, the RIAS alumni from program years as far back as 1995 shared happy memories of their life-changing experiences in Germany and talked enthusiastically about how to help the exchange program grow and prosper in the future.

Many spoke glowingly of the unforgettable times they also had hosting German RIAS fellows over the years as well as other American journalists they had recommended to take part in the exchange programs.

 

 

Lee Anderson, the News Director at KTVZ/KFXO in Bend, Oregon, talked about how hosting seven German fellows over the years had been an enrichment for his whole news room and how he had helped seven other U.S. journalists get into the program for the exchange in Germany.

And Frank Mottek, the Senior Money Anchor on CBS all-news station KNX 1070, recalled his exchange to Germany and the German fellows his station has hosted over the years for their station weeks.

 

RIAS Berlin Commission executive director Erik Kirschbaum paid tribute to RTDNA executive director Mike Cavender, who is retiring at the end of the EIJ after leading the organization for the last six years. The RTDNA has been the RIAS Berlin Commission’s partner in the United States and Cavender has worked tirelessly to raise the awareness of the RIAS exchange programs.

 

Here are some more pictures from the alumni meeting:

in Fellows > In the USA > 2017 (pics Slider)


September 4, 2017
Applications open for RIAS Berlin Commission 2018 programs in Germany, United States

The RIAS Berlin Commission is accepting applications for its journalism exchange programs in the United States and Germany in 2018. Experienced radio, TV and digital journalists working in Germany and the United States are encouraged to apply for the two- to three-week fellowships.

The dates for the three-week exchange program for Germany-based journalists to Washington DC, New York and stations across the United States have been set. The first program runs March 5-23 while the second program in 2018 starts is October 8-26. The deadline for the spring 2018 program is October 31, 2017 and the deadline for the fall 2018 program is January 31, 2018.

The dates for the two- to three-week exchange program in Berlin and Brussels for U.S.-based journalists are June 11-22 and September 17-28. The deadline for the spring 2018 program is February 1, 2018 and the deadline for the fall program is May 1, 2018.

The exchange programs are packed with visits and talks at leading think tanks, with journalists, radio and TV stations and some cultural highlights. It is a great opportunity for German-based journalists to learn more about the United States and for U.S.-based journalists to learn more about Germany and Europe.

The RIAS Berlin Commission is a binational organization to promote German-American understanding in the field of broadcasting that was created in 1992. It has been sponsoring the journalism exchange programs between the two countries since 1993.

Program applicants must be full-time radio, TV, or online journalists, either staff or freelancers. While knowledge and familiarity of German for the U.S.-based candidates is preferred, it is not a requirement. German candidates for the U.S. program must have English proficiency.
The exchange is a comprehensive fellowship, providing participants with air travel from their home market to and from Germany, ground and air travel in and across Germany, and hotel accommodations during the program.

For further information contact us at RIAS Berlin Commission, Funkhaus am Hans-Rosenthal-Platz, D-10825 Berlin, +49 30 8503 6970, info@riasberlin.org. Here is an application or U.S.-based journalists.


August 1, 2017

RIAS Alumni Meeting set for Sept. 7 at EIJ in Anaheim, California

To celebrate the 25th anniversary of the RIAS Berlin Commission and its successful long-running partnership with RTDNA/F, alumni from the last quarter century are all cordially invited to attend the annual alumni meeting of the RTDNA/RIAS Berlin Commission at RTDNA’s Excellence in Journalism (EIJ) convention at the Anaheim Marriot in Anaheim, California on Thursday, September 7 from 5:30 pm to 7:30 pm.

All members of the Radio and Television Digital News Association/Foundation and alumni of the German-American exchange program attending the EIJ convention are welcome to attend the alumni meeting free of charge while non-members of RTDNA/F are also able to attend the RIAS reception without signing up for the full conference. For non-members interested in signing up for the EIJ conference itself, they can register here: https://www.spj.org/c-register.asp

There have been a lot of interesting changes in the RIAS Berlin Commission over the last year and Berlin-based executive director Erik Kirschbaum, the first American to hold that position, will elaborate on those changes and answer your questions at the alumni meeting along with the new U.S. coordinator in Washington D.C. Annette Raveneau – who is also an alum. The RIAS Berlin Commission is hoping to expand and deepen the alumni network now that more than 1,500 journalists have taken part in the German-American exchange programs over the last quarter century. With more than 750 American alumni and 750 German alumni, the RIAS Berlin Commission has an enormous reservoir of journalists on both sides of the Atlantic eager to build up and further develop the exchange network with new programs especially designed for alumni.

Please take a look at the new RIAS Berlin Commission website (riasberlin.org) and register yourself in the RIAS Community private area to help broaden and expand the network.

Please RSVP whether you will be able to attend the alumni meeting on September 7 info@riasberlin.org as soon as possible so we can plan on stocking enough food and beverages.


June 27, 2017

RIAS BERLIN COMMISSION 2017 spring program concludes with stop at NATO headquarters

Twelve American broadcast journalists from eight states and a dozen networks across the United States completed a whirlwind trip of Germany and Brussels with a four-hour visit to the NATO headquarters in Brussels following a day of talks at the European Union headquarters just before a summit meeting in the capital city of the EU. The American journalists also had an interesting visit to the Brussels offices of Deutsche Welle TV, where former RIAS fellow and DW Brussels bureau chief Max Hofmann explained how his DW team in Brussels not only covers the EU and NATO from Brussels but also serves as the “rapid response” force for Deutsche Welle across Europe to cover breaking news across the continent.

Before reaching Brussels, the US journalists had a great breakfast meeting with German TV journalists Helge Fuhst of Phoenix TV and Thorsten Beermann of WDR TV in Cologne. They also visited the national headquarters of Germany’s largest commercial network RTL and the all-news station N-TV for an enlightening afternoon on the other side of the Rhine River before sampling Cologne’s famous beer at the Rheinterasse beer garden overlooking the famous river. Other favorite stops on the 12-day journey included the eastern German cities of Erfurt and Eisenach, where the fellows had the chance to learn more about Martin Luther and the Reformation 500 years ago as well as meet refugees from Syria and Iraq, and talk to the head of the Thuringia Office for the Protection of the Constitution Stephen Kramer. During the first week of the program in Berlin, the American fellows had more than a dozen meetings with political, cultural and media leaders ranging from Chancellor Angela Merkel’s spokesman Steffen Seibert to Deutsche Welle director general Peter Limbourg. Several fellows also visited nearby Potsdam.

One of the many highlights on this spring’s program was the frequent meetings with RIAS fellows from Germany, who had many chances to meet and spend time with the American fellows. With more than 1,500 fellows on both sides of the Atlantic over the last 25 years, the RIAS Berlin Commission alumni grows larger each year and the networking will hopefully grow more extensive in the months and years to come.

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June 18, 2017
Bush pays heartfelt tribute to RIAS BERLIN COMMISSION co-founder Kohl

U.S. President George H.W. Bush, who founded the RIAS BERLIN COMMISSION together with Helmut Kohl

Former U.S. President George H.W. Bush, who founded the RIAS BERLIN COMMISSION together with Helmut Kohl 25 years ago, paid a heartfelt tribute to the former German Chancellor and his close friend who died at the age of 87 on Friday. The two leaders, who worked together to end the Cold War and pave the way for German unification in 1990, were also jointly behind the creation of the German-American exchange program for broadcast journalists in 1992 that has carried on the spirit of the famous Cold War-era Radio In American Sector (RIAS) broadcasting network that had served listeners in Berlin and beamed news and music across the border into East Germany until 1992.

“Barbara and I mourn the loss of a true friend of freedom, and the man I consider to be one of the greatest leaders in post-war Europe,” Bush and his wife Barbara wrote in a tribute to Kohl, who was the chancellor of West Germany from 1982 to 1990 and then the leader of reunited Germany until 1998. Bush praised Kohl, who is often called the architect of German unification, for strengthening institutions of democracy in Germany and beyond. “Throughout our endeavors, Helmut was a rock — both steady and strong. We mourn his loss today even as we know his remarkable life will inspire future generations of leaders to achieve greatly.”

More than 1,500 American and German broadcast journalists have had the chance to spend time learning about each other’s respective country on the transatlantic exchange programs operated by the RIAS BERLIN COMMISSION over the last 25 years thanks to the endowment set up by the German and U.S. governments in 1992. At the annual RIAS BERLIN COMMISSION media awards ceremony just five days before Kohl’s death, executive director Erik Kirschbaum and RIAS Fellows such as Ingo Zamperoni and Petra Gute paid tribute the “foresight and wisdom” of political leaders such as Kohl and Bush for creating the RIAS BERLIN COMMISSION.

Kohl and Bush had both sent letters of congratulations to the RIAS BERLIN COMMISSION five years ago on the occasion of its 20th anniversary.

“I’d like to express my thanks to all those who have helped to make the BERLIN RIAS COMMISSION the successful project that it has become,” Kohl wrote in May 2012 and noted that more than 1,000 journalists from both countries had participated to that point in exchanges. “You’ve got a special responsibility as multipliers in your daily work in helping to actively promote a better understanding of each other’s country. That was the hope that George Bush and I had when we founded the RIAS BERLIN COMMISSION 20 years ago. Our hopes are as important today as 20 years ago.”

Bush wrote of RIAS BERLIN COMMISSION in 2012: “We share your pride in the fact that more than one thousand American and German journalists from hundreds of radio and television stations have already participated in this program, and we wish you continued success in the years ahead. Keep up the good work.”

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June 13, 2017
Prize winners celebrated 25 years of RIAS BERLIN COMMISSION at gala ceremony

The RIAS BERLIN COMMISSION celebrated its 25th anniversary on Monday, June 12 in Berlin with a gala fest at the historic RIAS Funkhaus broadcasting building together with more than 200 RIAS BERLIN COMMISSION fellows from the last quarter century and prize winners from seven categories of this year’s distinguished Media Prize awards.

ARD Tagesthemen anchor Ingo Zamperoni shared his life-changing experiences as a RIAS Fellow in the United States back in 2004 in a keynote speech, as did MC Petra Gute of RBB TV, who was a fellow in the United States in 2000. Kent Logsdon, acting American ambassador to Germany and honorary chairman of the RIAS BERLIN COMMISSION exchange program, and Dr. Willi Steul, the director general of Deutschlandfunk radio where the program is based, spoke about the intrinsic value and lasting importance of transatlantic exchanges like the RIAS BERLIN COMMISSION.

A report by CBS’s “60 Minutes” on the state of prisons in Germany compared to the United States was awarded with the best TV film prize — the first U.S. TV film prize winner in more than five years. Even though “60 Minutes” has won scores of prizes in the United States for outstanding broadcast journalism, CBS correspondent Bill Whitaker and producer Marc E. Lieberman told MC Gute and the audience how honored they felt to win the RIAS BERLIN COMMISSION media prize after a short three-minute excerpt from their stirring film “Crime and Punishment” was screened. — “It was eye-opening to see the magnitude of difference between prison life in Germany and in the United States,” said Lieberman. “We hope our story helped inform the debate about crime and punishment in the United States.”

Jan Böhmermann and Ralf Kabelka of ZDF’s Neo Magazin Royale also expressed their delight at the ceremony to be honored with the Special Jury Prize award for their entertaining, satirical and yet prescient look at the mood in the United States just before the election. “I think he’s going to win,” Böhmermann speaks into the camera, referring to Republican candidate Donald Trump, in the film that was aired just five days before the U.S. presidential election on Nov. 8, 2016. “I think he’s going to pull it off,” Böhmermann adds. Kabelka told the audience how he had started his career in journalism working for RIAS in the very same building nearly 30 years earlier.

In the radio category, Rebekka Endler of DRadio Wissen’s report “White Cop, Black Kids” won this year‘s prize for her gripping examination of racism in a small Bible Belt town in Arkansas. The Digital Media Prize was won by a Deutsche Welle team led by Ines Pohl that took a comprehensive, multimedia, multilingual look at what was on the hearts and minds of Americans before the election in a report called “#whatAmerica do you want? The Disunited United States.”

ARD correspondent Sandra Ratzow was awarded the TV Award in the Short Film category for her moving report called “Getrennte Familien — Wiedersehen am Hochsicherheitszaun” about how separated Mexican families meet on opposite sides of a high-security fence on the U.S.-Mexico border in California.

There were also two awards handed out to RIAS Fellows honoring their work for their media after their RIAS fellowships. Martina Buttler (a RIAS fellow in the United States in 2003) was honored for her two outstanding radio stories from the United States about Donald Trump and undocumented aliens living in fear of deportation while Paige Sutherland of New Hampshire public radio (who came to Germany with RIAS in 2016) drew from her three-week RIAS fellowship in Germany to take a deep dive into how policy makers and social workers in Berlin have tackled a problem that also plagues her home state of New Hampshire: drug addiction.

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The Award Winners and Pictures…


June 12, 2017
Whitaker, Lieberman from CBS “60 Minutes” in Berlin for RIAS Media Prize. A “60 Minutes” story about the difference between prison systems in Germany and the United States won the RIAS BERLIN COMMISSION’s television award that will be presented at a gala ceremony at the RIAS building on Monday in Berlin. CBS correspondent Bill Whitaker and producer Marc E. Lieberman came to Berlin for the awards ceremony, and joined a group of RIAS Fellows and Commissioner Helena Kane Finn in a Berlin beer garden on Sunday.

Even though “60 Minutes” has won many many Peabody and DuPont awards, the highest honors in broadcast journalism, American Television awards and Murrow awards, they both noted with a big smile that this was the first time the CBS show had won a RIAS Media Prize award. “We’re very happy to be here,” said Whitaker, who also stopped by at the RIAS BERLIN COMMISSION office (see picture). “It’s a great honor,” added Lieberman, of the RIAS Media Prize that has been awarded every year since 1995 to promote understanding between the United States and Germany in broadcasting.

Interview in the list of the Award Winners 2017…


RIAS BERLIN COMMISSION to celebrate 25 years at Awards Ceremony

June 12, 2017
A quarter century after it was created, the RIAS BERLIN COMMISSION will celebrate the 25th anniversary milestone on June 12 at the annual RIAS Media Awards Ceremony at the RIAS building in Berlin by paying tribute to some of the best transatlantic radio and TV reports by German and American journalists in the last year.

More than 1,500 American and German journalists have had the chance to spend multiple weeks learning about each other’s respective countries and broadcast media through the RIAS Berlin Commission exchange programs.

RIAS BERLIN COMMISSION is a bi-national foundation created in 1992 after the Cold War in recognition of the work of the RIAS network — Radio in the American Sector — that was also known as the “voice of the free world” from 1946 to 1993.


June 7, 2017
Two Week Germany Spring Program, June 12–24, 2017

Twelve American broadcast journalists from eight different states from across the United States will start a two-week RIAS BERLIN COMMISSION fellowship in Berlin on Monday, June 12 as the German-American exchange program operating together with the RTDNA/F celebrates its 25th anniversary. They will spend the first week in Berlin for talks on current political, economic and media issues.

The radio, TV and digital journalists will be getting a timely glimpse of German politics just three months before the elections on September 24, meeting with German journalists, politicians and many other speakers. They will also get the chance to learn more about the 500th anniversary of the Reformation by visiting two of Martin Luther’s home towns in Eisenach and Erfurt, before visiting one of the country’s leading broadcast media centers, Cologne, for more talks with senior broadcasting officials, and then crossing over the Belgian border to Brussels, where the fellows will meet European Union officials as well as visit the new NATO headquarters.


May 31, 2017
Two Week Germany Fall Program, Sept. 17–30, 2017

14 U.S.-based fellows selected for September exchange in Germany

The RIAS BERLIN COMMISSION and the RTDNF have selected 14 producers, reporters, and editors from across the United States to become Fellows in Europe in the middle of September during the height of the German election campaign. It will be the largest group of American broadcast journalists dispatched to Europe in many years as part of the longstanding RTNDF/RIAS partnership, a reflection of the high interest in the German election and program restructuring.

This is the 24th year of the partnership between RIAS and the RTDNF, which has sent more than 700 Fellows to Germany. The fall 2017 German/American Journalist Exchange Program will run from September 17–30 and include stops in Brussels, Berlin, Potsdam, Wittenberg and Hamburg. Sponsored by the RIAS BERLIN COMMISSION, it will feature briefings with top-level German political and media players, meetings with international journalists and with officials at the European Union headquarters and NATO headquarters.

“It’s going to be an exciting time to be in Germany in the week before the election and in the week right after it,” said RIAS BERLIN COMMISSIONexecutive director Erik Kirschbaum. “There’s a lot at stake for Germany and Europe, as well as the United States. Many of the fellows selected are planning to do reporting before, during and after the election during the fellowship — which is something we encourage and try to support as much as possible.”

“There could not be a more important time for our Fellows to be traveling to and reporting from Germany and Europe,” said Mike Cavender, RTDNF Executive Director. “The change in approach by President Trump toward our Allies in the EU has created an uncertainty around the world which requires American journalists to be more knowledgeable than ever. The RIAS program provides them vital tools to aid in that understanding.”

Since 1994, RTDNF has administered this media fellowship as part of its German/American Journalist Exchange Program with the RIAS. The next application deadline for the 2018 program in Europe is November 1, 2017. For information on the RTDNF Germany fellowship or the RIAS Awards program, visit rtdna.org or contact Mike Cavender at mikec@rtdna.org or Erik Kirschbaum at kirschbaum@riasberlin.org.

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May 31, 2017
EBINGER LEAVING ROLE WITH RTNDF RIAS PROGRAM

Jon Ebinger, who has helped make the RIAS BERLIN COMMISSION program a success in both the United States and Germany, will be leaving his position as the point person for the RIAS BERLIN COMMISSION for the RTDNF, effective June 1. He will be succeeded by Laurie Bley and Annette Raveneau, two U.S.-based former RIAS BERLIN COMMISSION Fellows.

Ebinger, who was a RIAS Fellow himself in 2002 and worked as a producer at ABC’s “Nightline” for many years, has been the face of RIAS in the United States since 2005 and helped hundreds of American broadcast journalists gain valuable experience and knowledge about both the political world and how the media in Germany and Europe work.

“Jon has been doing an outstanding job creating insightful programs that have been rich in variety for hundreds of German broadcast journalists for more than a decade,” said Erik Kirschbaum, the executive director of RIAS BERLIN COMMISSION. “He’s given the German reporters not only an invaluable glimpse of the political and media workings of the United States but also gone to great lengths to make sure those journalists parachuting into the United States for three weeks get a chance to get to know ordinary Americans with unforgettable visits to soup kitchens to meet homeless people and high schools to meet incurably optimistic American teenagers.

For many German journalists on three-week fellowships to the United States, Ebinger has also designed presentation-filled program weeks in major Americans cities. He has represented RIAS at annual “Excellence in Journalism” (EIJ) conventions across the United States, led panels for RIAS in German cities, and in 2015 was awarded the distinguished “Col. Barney Oldfield Award” for exceptional service to the RTDNF.

“Jon has been a very strong proponent of the RIAS Berlin program from the start,” said Mike Cavender, Executive Director of RTDNA/F. “His diligence in insuring that our Fellows have the best possible experience during their time in Germany and the United States has helped make the Exchange one of the most popular and effective training programs we offer.”

Since 1994, RTDNF has administered this media fellowship as part of its German/American Journalist Exchange Program with the RIAS. For information on the RTDNF Germany fellowship or the RIAS Awards program, visit rtdna.org or contact Mike Cavender at mikec@rtdna.org or Erik Kirschbaum at kirschbaum@riasberlin.org.

About RTDNF

RTDNF, a 501 (c) 3 educational foundation, was created to help RTDNA members embody and uphold the standards of ethical journalism and promote leadership in the newsroom. RTDNF offers the electronic news community professional development opportunities, an open forum for the discussion of ethics, assistance with the development of leadership skills, support of First Amendment issues and the exchange of ideas and perspectives from electronic journalists worldwide. The Foundation also provides scholarships and fellowships to aspiring and early-career electronic journalists.

About RIAS BERLIN COMMISSION

The RIAS BERLIN COMMISSION is a bi-national organization established in 1992 to promote understanding between the United States and Germany in the field of broadcasting. Each exchange program is fully financed by the RIAS BERLIN COMMISSION, a non-profit, non-governmental organization. There have been a total of 1,500 German and American broadcast journalists who have taken part in the exchange programs in the last 25 years.

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April 16, 2017
President George H.W. Bush congratulates

George H.W. Bush, the co-founder of the RIAS BERLIN COMMISSION, met Dr. Hildegard Boucsein at his office in Houston recently and expressed to her his heartfelt congratulations to the RIAS BERLIN COMMISSION for its first 25 years of transatlantic exchanges.

Boucsein, a long-time member of the Commission, proudly told Bush, who was the 41st President, that 1,502 German and American broadcast journalists have now taken part in the exchanges in each other’s respective countries on programs that have kept alive the spirit of the original RIAS broadcaster, which was a popular radio and TV station in the American sector of Berlin during the Cold War. The RIAS BERLIN COMMISSION was established in 1992 and co-founded by Bush and Chancellor Dr. Helmut Kohl.

In his Houston office together with John Schmitz, a former White House Counsel to President Bush, George H.W. Bush asked Boucsein to convey his congratulations and best wishes to the board, the leadership and staff of the RIAS BERLIN COMMISSION on its 25th anniversary.


April 4, 2017
Making the most out of a RIAS fellowship. German broadcast journalists on the RIAS BERLIN COMMISSION fellowships in the USA often bring their recording devices with them to do reporting for stories for their networks back home in Germany — in between attending dozens of talks and presentations with the group about politics, important issues and ordinary life in the USA.

In the course of her research for a series of stories for DeutschlandRadio on polarization in the United States, Sabine Adler ended up doing some reporting in and near St Louis that her hosts at the NPR affiliate used for their own story on the subject. Here is the NPR report on the desecration of Jewish cemeteries that gave Adler a reporting credit: Read more…

Congratulations to Sabine for making the most out of her time in the United States and helping NPR make a good story even better.


March 31, 2017
German journalists get lesson on U.S. optimism in NJ high school (Journalistenprogramm Frühling)

Ten German radio and TV journalists visiting the United States got the chance to see an American high school in Hoboken, New Jersey from the inside at the end of their three-week study tour on Thursday – Frank Sinatra’s home town. The friendly 17- and 18-year-old Americans took the German visitors by the hand and gave them wonderful small-group tours of their classrooms, gym, labs and cafeteria.

But maybe, without even realizing it, they also showed the German journalists something far more important than the bricks and chalkboards — an irrepressible optimism in the United States and a can-do spirit that, no matter who you are and where you come from, there is no reason you can’t have big dreams.

One 17-year-old dancing talent with a contagious smile showed the RIAS Fellows his amazing performance that got him on a national TV show and other gifted football players showed their audition video clips attached to the hopes of college scholarships. And afterwards they showed the Germans how good American pizza tastes at the local pizza parlor and what a great view of Manhattan their town has from the west banks of the Hudson River.
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March, 2017
1,502 and counting! The 1,500-threshold has been passed.
The ten German journalists participating in the RIAS BERLIN COMMISSION’s spring program in the United States has brought the grand total of participants over the last 25 years to 1,502.

The Germans have been getting an illuminating glimpse into the major changes taking place in Washington in their meetings with think tanks, American and German journalists, and non-profit organizations as well as meeting with some American fellows from past years. They will be heading off to their “station weeks” at broadcasting stations small and large across the country before coming back together in New York for the third and final week at the end of March.

The Fellows also used their first day “off” on Saturday to visit the Newseum, which included an exhibit on the Berlin Wall and description of RIAS itself: “Radio Gives Voice to Facts: The Soviets could not stop the flow of news into East Berlin from West German radio and television. In 1946, the United States launched Radio in the American Sector (RIAS), a popular radio station operated by Germans in West Berlin. People in East Berlin could receive the RIAS broadcasts, which became an important source of fact-based reports and fueled the quest for freedom.”

The group in the United States is the first of four exchange programs in 2017 that kicks off a special year for the RIAS BERLIN COMMISSION— its 25th anniversary. The program was created by the German and U.S. governments in 1992 to promote the exchange of broadcast journalists in those two countries to further “mutual understanding” between Germans and Americans.

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March 21, 2017
The RIAS BERLIN COMMISSION is proud to announce the winners of this year’s RIAS Media Awards. The awards ceremony that will also celebrate 25 years of the RIAS BERLIN COMMISSION will take place on Monday, June 12, 2017 at 7 p.m. at the RIAS Funkhaus am Hans-Rosenthal-Platz in Berlin, and all RIAS fellows and past winners are cordially invited to attend the ceremony in the historic building.

The panel of seven distinguished journalists from the United States and Germany met in Berlin to pick the winners in TV, Radio and Digital Media categories. The jury members had lively discussions and were duly impressed with the high quality of entries in this year’s competition, a truly exciting year for journalism that was heavily influenced by the U.S. presidential election.

The Award Winners…