Peter Muecke and Miriam Keuter

Two German Broadcast Journalists Spend Week in Center, Grady College

Two German broadcast journalists spent a week in October getting to know faculty and students in the Grady College of Journalism and Mass Communication as part of an exchange program organized by the RIAS Commission of Berlin and the Radio-Television News Directors Foundation (RTNDF).

Miriam Keuter from Berlin and Peter Muecke from Hamburg were a part of the 12-journalist team of visitors participating in a four-week program in the United States that included one week in Washington, a one-week visit to a university, a one-week stay at television or radio stations and another week in New York.

The visit by Keuter and Muecke to the University of Georgia was organized by the James M. Cox Jr. Center for International Mass Communication Training and Research, a unit of the Grady College.

It was the third year that the Cox Center, in collaboration with the Department of Telecommunications in the Grady College of Journalism and Mass Communication, hosted participants in this program. Faculty and students from the Department of Journalism in the Grady College also contributed to activities.

Keuter and Muecke are radio journalists working for public broadcasting outlets in their home country. They both work with the same public radio station, NDR. Keuter is an editor and reporter for NDR2, a program with pop music, entertainment and news. Muecke is an editor, reporter and anchor for NDR4 INFO, a 24 hour news radio program without music or commercials.

Their visit to the University of Georgia included tours of the city, the campus, the library and the journalism building. They attended and sometimes lectured in undergraduate and graduate classes. During their week in Athens, they gathered information about education in the Grady College, with special attention to the Telecommunications Department.

The two German journalists visited Atlanta and met Ron Martin, the editor of The Atlanta Journal Constitution, and toured the newspaper. They also visited CNN, accompanied by Todd Fantz, senior director of technology.

While having lunch with Grady students, the pair was asked about the German media coverage of the September 11 events.

"At the beginning we reported based on what we saw on CNN and what we got from the wire services. Then, as we got more information, we started making comments and localizing the news," Keuter said.

"I was on my way home when someone from the station called me and asked me to go back as soon as possible, and then I spent more than 16 hours in the newsroom," said Muecke. "In my opinion, there were many similarities in covering the September 11 events. Maybe the German media were more interested in questioning why did it happen than adding details to what happened. But above all, it has been an extraordinary message of solidarity."

The German journalists had the opportunity to observe how journalism students produce a broadcast news program. They also were given an overview of the Peabody Awards, administered by the Grady College, and visited The Red & Black, the independent student daily.

"Before coming to the United States, we knew something about Athens as a music center, but somehow we envied our fellows who had been sent to Hawaii," said Keuter. "But now, after our wonderful experience in Athens, I think we've been the lucky ones."

For the internship portion of the program, Keuter worked with a radio station in Eugene, Oregon, and Muecke worked with a radio station in Seattle.

Cox Center Program Coordinator Kornelia Probst-Mackowiak organized the program for the journalists. Dr. Tudor Vlad, visiting research scientist in the Cox Center, also served as their host and accompanied the group to Atlanta. Cox Center Director Dr. Lee B. Becker was in Papua New Guinea conducting a workshop during the time of the visit by Keuter and Muecke.

Cox Center graduate research assistant Patrick McConnell, a doctoral student in the Grady College focusing on international communication issues, also aided in the program.

Two Grady doctoral students, George Daniels and Heidi Edwards, have visited Germany as participants in the RIAS exchange.