A Berlin Experience for American Journalists

Stoop, Paul
June 2005
Nieman Reports;Summer2005, Vol. 59 Issue 2, p120
This article provides information on the experiences of journalists who entered the American Academy in Berlin, Germany. A transatlantic relations went sour over the Iraq War, long dormant anti-American sentiments surfaced in Germany. As a result, U.S. citizens living in Germany are often confronted with harsh criticism of their country and sometimes hostility. One group of U.S. citizens, however, remains welcomed here--journalists. For them, visiting U.S. journalists serve as interpreters and public analysts. Since 1998 the American Academy, founded by Richard Holbrooke in the mid-1990s, has hosted American scholars, artists, writers, policy experts, and journalists. Each semester the 12 fellows create a mix of disciplines and ages, making the academy's program a bit different from the Nieman ship, with its sole participants being journalists. During the four- to five-month residency at the academy, fellows have dedicated time to devote to a study project, which they present as part of their admission proposal. The topics of these projects seem quite similar to those proposed by Nieman Fellows: immigration, tax issues, and environmental policy being among them. For some journalists this fellowship offers a chance to return to Germany, and explore what has changed. For others, this is their first trip to Europe and an opportunity to gain expertise in European affairs after reporting from other parts of the world. In Berlin, many layers of the last century's dramas remain tangible in the personal experiences of people whom these journalists meet. Berlin offers an instructive laboratory of change in the wake of the disappearance of its dividing wall.


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