American and German broadcast journalists have been participating in a significant transatlantic exchange opportunity since 1993.
Every year, the RIAS German/American Journalists Exchange Program, sponsored by RTDNA and RTDNF, sends German journalists to the United States, and American journalists to Germany, to learn about our respective news media systems, governments, and cultures. According to RTDNA, more than 1,000 broadcast journalists from both countries have participated in the program. I was fortunate to be a RIAS Fellow in 2007.
My experience was fantastic, so I volunteered to serve as a host for a visiting German journalist whenever the opportunity arose. I did that once while living in Alabama and then once more three years ago here at West Texas A&M. We’re thrilled to be hosting another German RIAS Fellow next week.
André Schünke works primarily in Hamburg and is an editor and anchor with NDR 2 radio. He does some television reporting, as well. We’re hoping to show him a good time during his stay in the Texas Panhandle, and we’re making sure our Communication students get the opportunity to learn about the German media system from him. Special thanks goes to KVII Pronews 7 for inviting André to spend some time working with them during his stay. I also want to thank Jonathan Ebinger, who administers this program in cooperation with the RIAS Berlin Kommission.
RIAS stands for Radio in the American Sector, and it was located in Berlin (the exchange program is now based there). RIAS emerged during the Cold War and played a vital role during Germany’s history as a divided country, broadcasting news, pro-democracy programming, and entertainment. A short video history of RIAS was produced in 1994 (Part One and Part Two). After Germany reunited, RIAS changed its mission and became the journalists exchange program it is today.
Participating in the RIAS exchange is one of the ways WT’s Mass Communication program is strengthening our students’ opportunities to learn about international journalism and visit with international journalists. We’re proud to be part of this rich tradition.