The tour highlighted the importance of U.S.-German relations and offered the students the opportunity to meet with German politicians, tour German media outlets and develop professional contacts with both young American and German journalists.
The tour began in Munich, where students met with the international editor of Germany’s largest newspaper the Suddeutsche Zeitung. They also visited the Bavarian State Chancellery and the BMW factory, as well as touring the studios of a public youth radio station On3.
“The trip allowed us to see differences between German and American media and politics,” Bellm said. “We also learned about Germany’s commitment to renewable energy and its plan to close all its nuclear power plants by 2022.”
Phillips appreciated the differences but questioned whether American practices might better facilitate the development of online media.
“A desire to keep private news agencies competitive has led to limiting public broadcasting to using no more than one percent of their budget on online content, and prevents public broadcasting websites from archiving their work past seven days,” Phillips said. “While I can appreciate the viewpoint of private news agencies that don't have the benefit of steady funding, I'm not sure it would be worth the trade-off of limiting what my organization could do online.”
In Berlin the students visited the German Bundestag, the national parliament, where they met with a representative from the foreign affairs council. They also visited the German Federal Chancellery, the Federal Foreign Office and several media outlets. The students also visited the headquarters of Solon, a global leader in solar panel technology.
“We really wanted to give participants the opportunity to mix and mingle with like-minded people in Germany in order to let them create a network they can use after the short trip is over and that may be helpful later in their career,” said Kristina Jonek, deputy spokesperson for the German Embassy in Washington, D.C. “We therefore organized get-togethers with German journalism students and leading journalists of major news organizations.”