June 17, 2016

Award Ceremony and Reception took place Friday evening, June 17, 2016, RIAS Broadcasting Building, Hans-Rosenthal-Platz, 10825 Berlin.

With the 2016 Awards of the RIAS BERLIN COMMISSION outstanding Radio and TV productions aired/posted in 2015 were honored for having contributed significantly to German-American understanding.

The evening began with a short video review “It began 70 years ago: RIAS Berlin” and was opened by the chairman of the RIAS BERLIN COMMISSION, Peter Limbourg.

Guests speakers of the evening were Kent Logsdon, Deputy Chief of Mission U.S. Embassy and Dr. Willi Steul, Intendant Deutschlandradio.

The awards were presented again this year by Dr. Melinda Crane, member of the RIAS BERLIN COMMISSION.

The 2016 Jury of the RIAS BERLIN KOMMISSION (from left to right):
Claus Detjen (Haller Tagblatt), Erik Kirschbaum (Reuters), Helge Fuhst (Phoenix), Petra Gute (rbb), William Skane (formerly CBS), Melinda Crane (DW tv), Christian Wilp (n-tv/RTL), Dieter Schröder (Berliner Zeitung)






This year all three of our radio award winners focus on problems in the U.S. justice system, with compelling questions that American politicians and voters themselves have to come to grips with: Is prison meant to rehabilitate criminals or just punish them? Why are so many Americans in prison and why are they kept there so long? Why, in particular, are so many African-Americans incarcerated compared to the rest of the population? And why can’t America seem to control the proliferation of guns?

RIAS-Fellow-Award (Radio)
Giusi Valentini


Restorative Justice — Verdienen Mörder eine zweite Chance? (WDR 1LIVE)

Restorative Justice is an interesting and informative way to describe to a young audience the problems that the United States is facing with overcrowded prisons, an issue that Barack Obama has tried to address. It explains to listeners some of the reasons there are so many people locked up for long terms in prison and uses an interesting, innovative style of a series of interviews from some of the prisoners or former prisoners as well.

1st Radio Award
Simone Hamm


Vor dem Gesetz — Justizskandale in New York (Deutschlandfunk)

“Justizskandale in New York” is a brilliant radio feature that explains in a gripping way why so many people are locked up in jail in the United States. This Deutschlandfunk story takes a closer look at one New York City police detective who had an extremely high conviction rate. But it turned out that he extracted false confessions from many suspects and used the same witness for a large number of his convictions. It’s a horrible miscarriage of justice and Simone Hamm tells this story in great detail and with great care.

1st Radio Award
Tom Schimmeck


Vier Schüsse in Missoula — Der Tod des Schülers Diren D. (NDR / Deutschlandradio Kultur)

Reporter Tom Schimmeck uses the tragic story of the German exchange student Diren from Hamburg to describe the debate about gun control and the huge power of the gun lobby in the U.S. It is an excellent documentation with outstanding interviews and artful music. This gripping drama analyzes the tragedy of America’s gun-crazy culture.

1st TV Award
Carsten Mierke


USA-Berichterstattung 2015 (RTL aktuell / RTL Nachtjournal)

Carsten Mierke’s news reports are an entertaining and interesting glimpse of the United States. They are important “slice of life” stories that help German viewers of RTL understand important issues in the United States. The author paints a diverse, colorful picture of the U.S. as it enjoys itself, invents, and copes with the problems of an advanced industrial nation. The award winner captures Americans’ attitudes towards Syrian refugees, the VW diesel scandal, and the recovery of New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina.

1st Digital Media Award
Lucas Negroni, Anika Giese; Musik Julian Hecker


Feuerland Detroit — Eine Stadt brennt aus (www.bz-berlin.de/feuerland-detroit)

Lucas Negroni shows what impressive things a single video journalist can do with his camera and microphone. It is an excellent and innovative way of telling the story of Detroit’s woes. Negroni introduces us to an issue in Detroit that on the surface appears to be only about fires in the city. But his story actually tells a much larger story of urban decay in Detroit that goes down a completely new and different path than so many other journalists have. A truly refreshing approach and a well-told story — without exaggerated emotion…he lets us discover for ourselves how tragic the situation in Detroit has become.

2nd Digital Media Award
Volontärsteam 17 der Axel-Springer-Akademie


Je reste Charlie. Warum wir weitermachen müssen.
Multimedia-Projekt über religiös begründeten Terror (www.jerestecharlie.eu/en/newyork und www.jerestecharlie.eu/de/newyork)

This group of young Berlin student journalists used their energy and creativity to create a moving multimedia website that reminds us that — whether in New York, Brussels, or Berlin — we are all enlisted in a worldwide struggle against terrorists who wish to extinguish free speech, religious choice, and human rights. They make a strong, impassioned case against brutality and in defense of humanity. A compelling group of stories, well researched and well put together.