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Journalism Students Spent A Week In Cologne As Interns

Mayya Afanasyeva talks about the experience of cultural exchange with the Cologne School of Journalism.

Journalism Students Spent A Week In Cologne As Interns

Every year students from Higher School of Economics and Cologne School of Journalism participate in the exchange program. This year has been no exception, and German students came again in June. They listened to the lectures of Faculty of Communications, Media and Design, visited local media outlets and walked through Moscow. In the beginning of December, a group of 18 students-journalists from HSE went to Cologne or Köln for the same experience and spent a week there.

On the first day of the program students went to Cologne School of Journalism to meet students and listen to the director's introductory lecture. The school, founded in 1968, educate journalists with a focus on politics and economics. It is one of the renowned schools of journalism in Germany. The program lasts for four years and is linked with a bachelor's degree at Cologne University in Economics or Social Sciences. During their studies, students work together with national media outlets.

Later they went to the historical center of Cologne for a tour of Cologne Cathedral and the City itself.

Cologne is located on the river Rhine for 2000 years, but recently archaeologists have discovered some settlements of the Celts, who lived on this territory more than 5000 years ago. One of the oldest cities in Germany, it played an important role in the history of Europe, starting with the Roman Empire. The name of the city came from the Romans’ settlement, which was named Colonia Claudia Ara Agrippinensium in 38 BC.

Agrippina is considered to be the city-founder, when she asked her husband, Emperor Claudius, to assign the status of a colony to city as it would enter to the rank of imperial ones. In abbreviated form the city was called Colonia Agrippinensis, and by the Middle Ages there remained only “Colonia”, which was for the local common language as “Cologne”. Italians even now jokingly call Cologne the most northern city of Italy.

Cologne Cathedral is one of the main Catholic churches in the country. It occupies the third place in the list of the tallest churches in the world, besides, it is included to the list of the World Heritage Site (UNESCO). The architecture of cathedral is represented in the Gothic style as its architect Gerhard von Riehl was inspired by the French traditions of that style. The building was set up in 1248, but from 1437 there was a big break for almost a half of century. Constructing was resumed again in 1842 and already in 1880 Cologne Cathedral appeared in all its beauty and majesty. The 157 meter high cathedral had become the tallest building in the world for 4 years after the opening.

On the second day of the program students went to the headquarter of METRO Cash & Carry in Dusseldorf, where they attended lectures about Corporate Communications, Corporate Strategy, Public Policy and Corporate Social Responsibility by the top managers of company. Metro is a German global diversified retail and wholesale/cash and carry group. It has the largest market share in its home market, and is one of the most globalized retail and wholesale corporations.

Then students went to the office of the daily business and politics newspaper Handelsblatt. The Handelsblatt (Commerce Paper) is the leading German-language business daily media. It is published in Düsseldorf by Handelsblatt Media Group which also provides the weekly magazine "Wirtschaftswoche" ("Business week"). It had a tirage of 127,546 daily copies in 2018 and has a variety of digital products.

Students had a discussion with Julia Rotenberger, editor in the team conversion and engagement. She showed the students the office and how all work inside. Then the students had free time for walking through the historic city center until the train to Cologne.

The third day of the program is an acquaintance with Germany’s major radio, based in Cologne.

Deutschlandradio is a national German public broadcasting radio broadcaster. It operates four national networks: Deutschlandfunk, Deutschlandradio Kultur, Dokumente und Debatten, and Deutschlandfunk Nova. Deutschlandfunk (DLF) is broadcasting national news and current affairs, news and documentaries, which are covering politics, economics and science. Deutschlandradio Kultur (abbreviated to DLR Kultur or DKultur) is the culture-oriented station. Deutschlandfunk Nova is a spoken word station, targeting a younger audience and broadcasting only digitally. Students were told about the radio broadcasting grid, programs, and a tour of the studios. After that they went to the School of Journalism to see presentations of media and journalistic projects by students.

On the fourth day of the student program there was a trip to Bonn. Students took a guided tour of the permanent exhibition of Haus der Geschichte (House of History) about the German history since 1945. After the museum they went to Deutsche Welle (German Wave) or DW, Germany's international broadcaster. The service is aimed towards audiences outside of Germany and is available via television, radio and the Internet. DW Radio broadcasts news and information in thirty languages ​​and the satellite television service consists of channels in English, German, Spanish and Arabic. DW also offers regularly updated articles on its online news website and runs its own center for international media development, DW Akademie. The broadcaster's stated goals are to convey Germany as a "liberal, democratic state based on the rule of law", to produce reliable news coverage and to provide access to the German language. In the end of the evening students of HSE and Journalism school gathered together for a farewell dinner in the traditional German restaurant.

On the fifth day a lecturer of School of Journalism Olaf Wittrock gave a lecture for HSE students on how media are organized in Germany. This market is divided fairly across all 16 federal states, not just in Berlin, the capital of Germany, which may be a customary for some countries when the general media outlets are based in large cities. Television remains the largest media to consume, newspapers’ sales are declining, but readers continue to buy them. What it is surprising and different from our country, the Germans tend to trust news on  television and newspapers more than on radio and especially online media.

The last sixth day of the student program was free for sightseeing, museums and shopping.

Cologne is a tremendously beautiful city in which different eras, technological media and traditions, beloved by the residents themselves, boldly coexist. Such cultural exchanges let students immerse in the life of the country, improve communication skills and broaden the horizons.

Text by
Mayya Afanasyeva