2007 U.S.-Austria Fellows Prepare for Exchange

Sep 12007

Two Austrian and two American journalists – the first four participants in the newly created U.S.-Austrian Journalism Exchange Fellowships – are preparing for an exciting six weeks spent in each other’s countries, reporting for host and home media outlets and meeting experts in business, politics and media.

The fellows are Christoph Pranter, foreign desk editor at Der Standard in Vienna; Michaela Roithmayr, editor and moderator at Life Radio in Linz; Sheila Lalwani of Oak Creek, Wis., a reporter for the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel; and Jacob Resneck of Saranac Lake, N.Y., staff writer at the Adirondack Daily Enterprise.

"This is not just an award for the journalists, which will broaden their perspectives, but this is also good for journalism and the quality of media overall," said Dr. Meinrad Rahofer, director of the Kuratorium für Journalistenausbildung in Salzburg. He started the fellowship program along with Mario Scherhaufer, program director at the International Center for Journalists (ICFJ) in Washington, D.C.

For journalists, who mold public opinion, an exchange program of this kind is particularly useful. "There is no better way to overcome stereotypes and really get to know a country," said Susan McCaw, U.S. ambassador to Austria.

Approximately 60 highly qualified journalists, half American and half Austrian, applied to the fellowship program. Participants were selected by a jury that included representatives from ICFJ, the Kuratorium für Journalistenausbildung, the Verband Österreichischer Zeitungen (Association of Austrian Newspapers), the Rundfunk & Telekom Regulierungs-GmbH (Austrian Regulatory Authority for Broadcasting and Telecommunications), and the Bundeskanzleramt (Austrian Federal Chancellery).

The four journalists will begin their fellowship by meeting in Washington, D.C. in February for a joint orientation. The Americans will then head to Vienna for more orientation and newsroom attachments, while the Austrians do the same in the United States. The attachments will last until the end of March, and the program officially concludes with a few more days of joint meetings in Vienna.

The exchange program is financed by the Austrian Chancellery, Verband Österreichischer Zeitungen, Rundfunk & Telekom Regulierungs-GmbH, U.S. Embassy, OMV and Böhler-Uddeholm.

For more information, visit the websites of the Kuratorium für Journalistenausbildung or ICFJ.