Wednesday, August 31, 2005
Germany: Praise for local journalists
Thanks to journalist Robert Domes for this article:
"Local journalists are grassroots workers of democracy." Those were the words Bernhard Vogel, chairman of the German foundation Konrad-Adenauer-Stiftung, used to praise the profession of local journalists. For 25 years the Adenauer-Stiftung has been awarding a prize for local journalists. Nowadays the award is considered the "Oscar of the writing guild" among German journalists. To celebrate its 25. anniversary, 450 representatives of newspapers from all over Germany met in Berlin last week, among them winners of the past 25 years as well as editors-in-chief and publishers. They all appreciated the role of local journalists. Dieter Golombek, spokesman of the jury, called it "the largest celebration ever given to the German local journalism". Bernhard Vogel said: "You benefit all of us with your work."
Former Prime Minister Lothar Spaeth appreciated the journalists, saying they helped to connect people with their local community. Sp?th appealed to the local journalists: "Let us try to mobilize citizens and again give them the feeling of being at home."
A Symposium titled "The local editor in its best roles" in the academy of the Adenauer-Stiftung Berlin tried to improve self-confidence of local editors and emphasized the importance of the local newspapers? work.
Hans Josef Vogel, mayor of German town Arnsberg said: "The local journalist in its role as moderator, who accompanies the development and organization of its city, will become ever more important in the next years." Arnd Brummer, editor-in-chief of "Chrismon", a German evangelic magazine, pointed to the importance of quality in newspapers and the personality of authors: "It's a mistake to think that readers do not want a high quality paper." He emphasized: "Without writer personalities there are no newspaper personalities. And if so, newspapers will soon be displaced by the Internet." In his view it's necessary to bring together form and content as well as ethics and aesthetics. Brummer: "Personality survives, and personality ties." Christoph Stoelzl, vice president of the Berlin House of Representatives, requested the editors to be aware of all social incidents and changes in the local community: "Indifference is the key to disaster. Every action that prevents and displaces indifference is therefore highly moral and deeply human."
Also Ernst Elitz, director of Deutschlandradio, a German public radio station, emphasized the journalist's role as citizen representative and watchdog of democracy. Elitz is sure that all social problems can be recognized in local communities. He said: "Watchdogs must be precise and careful workers as well as good criminal investigators, they must be writers and translators."
Source: Article by journalist Robert Domes
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