Vol. 22 No. 1
Why the GOP Isn’t Dead Yet:
A Burns Alumni Dinner Discussion With POLITICO
By Tim Loh (Burns 2012)
After the waiters had whisked in the final dishes of salmon and glasses of wine, after the bilingual small talk had subsided and the lights dimmed for the New York Burns Dinner, a screen unfurled from the ceiling.
|Ambassador Philip Murphy congratulates the Burns Fellowshp on 25 years.
“Guten Tag,” said a smiling Philip Murphy, U.S. ambassador to Germany, beamed from Berlin. “I salute the Arthur Burns Fellows of the past 25 years.”
It was a highly modern start to the February 25 event, which took place on the 43rd floor of the Goldman Sachs headquarters. Overlooking a dazzling array of New York City skyscrapers and twinkling bridges, the evening carried an otherworldly air, as if the building might suddenly launch into space—or at least transport the 70 or so guests to Washington or the heart of Europe. But outside of the mingling, the reminiscing of times abroad and dispatches sent both ways over the Atlantic, the evening’s keynote address was decidedly domestic.
|Alumni Catherine Cheney (2011) and Gregor Peter Schmitz (1997) enjoy the reception with AICGS president Dr. Jackson Janes.
"For you Germans, you’re arriving in this country at a time of great ferment and drama in American politics,” said John Harris, executive editor of POLITICO, who adopted the persona of an armchair psychologist in his lighthearted, wide-ranging speech to make sense of the post-election political landscape.
Hoping to “comfort the afflicted and afflict the comforted,” Harris centered his remarks around why the Republicans—suffering from “morbid depression” and potential senility, he diagnosed—shouldn’t feel written-off as some assert. He explained why the reelected President Obama—prone to “flights of fancy” and “impaired cognitive reasoning,” he gathered—maybe shouldn’t feel as confident as he seems to.
|John Harris of POLITICO talks about the post-election political landscape.
“One way to think of the problem of the Republican party is the problem of stocky, older, white men,” he said, patting his stomach knowingly, as if to soften the blow. Citing the likes of Rush Limbaugh, Roger Ailes, Karl Rove and Grover Norquist, he said conservatives have fallen prey to an echo-chamber of their own creation, keeping party members out of step with the shifting American electorate.
“You can’t outsource your communications strategy to people who are only talking to each other,” he said, suggesting Republicans find a Clinton-like figure from their talented roster of young governors, who might allay the fears of voting Democrats, instead of searching for the next Reagan.
|Tetiana Anderson (Burns 2012) asks Harris a question following his address.
Meanwhile, while Obama has won repeated tactical victories over Republicans—“beating them like harp seals on the ice,” he joked—the president hasn’t secured big, strategic gains, Harris noted. In the recent tax debate, he said, Obama raised taxes for the top 2 percent, but essentially enshrined the Bush-era tax cuts for 98 percent of the country.
Turning optimistic, Harris suggested that the American political system exaggerates its partisan conflicts. He guessed it would take party leaders half an hour to hammer out deals over immigration and budgets if they’d only meet in an environment like the Burns Dinner itself.
|John F.W. Rogers, managing director, Goldman, Sachs & Co., welcomes guests to the company's headquarters.
“In reflecting the international spirit of the evening,” he concluded, “I’d say the best reason [to be optimistic about American politics] comes from Winston Churchill, which is that America always does the right thing—after having exhausted every alternative.”
Fortunately, with its 25 years of history and active alumni network, the Burns Fellowship program appears ready to maintain its groove without finding alternatives.
Kristina Shevory (Burns 2012), who contributes to The New York Times “At War” blog and was stationed last summer in Stuttgart, said the evening made her feel like she was back in Germany.
|Burns trustee Frank Loy with alumni Tim Loh (2012) and Kristina Shevory (2012).
“With all the German/Austrian wines, Spaetzle, Apfelstrudel, Linzertorte,” she said, “It felt like we were getting the team back together again.”
Harvey Dickson, a New York Times Magazine copy editor and 1990 Burns Fellow to East Berlin, agreed.
“The one constant over all that time has been Frank Freiling,” he said. “Our group is geographically diverse and seemingly impervious to organization and yet somehow we remain cohesive. That’s Frank’s gift to us. So seeing him in his impeccable suits makes me very happy.
“And I don’t want to sound like grandpa, but I also like meeting more recent alumni at these annual dinners—I get a chance to look at my much younger self.”
Tim Loh is a reporter with The Connecticut Post in Bridgeport, CT. He spent his fellowship last year at the Süddeutsche Zeitung in Munich.
|Harris addressing the dinner crowd at the
Goldman Sachs headquarters.
30th Annual German-American Conference
Now in its 30th year, the German-American Annual Media Conference took place on March 1 and 2 in Berlin. For many years now, it has also doubled as the informal selection meeting for the 30 Burns finalists. Among the speakers were IJP trustee and former Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier; Jörg Asmussen, a member of the board of directors of the European Central Bank; and Christoph Heusgen, the national security adviser to Chancellor Merkel. Diplomats, journalists and academics specializing in transatlantic affairs completed the roster of speakers. Burns patron and U.S. Ambassador Philip Murphy hosted a reception at his residence for the finalists and Burns alumni from the Berlin region.
Ambassador Philip Murphy addressing the 2013 German Burns finalists.
|Frank Freiling, Jörg Asmussen and Frank-Walter Steinmeier
|Ambassador Murphy and guests during the reception for the 2013 finalists and Berlin alumni.
Why Now is the Time to Publish Your Book:
A Burns Alumnus Perspective
By Steve Kettmann (Burns 1999)
I can look back now and laugh about it, but in 1999 when I decided to leave a staff reporter job after nine years at the San Francisco Chronicle to go to Berlin as a Burns Fellow—and, it was widely assumed, stay on afterward—I was startled at how nasty and incredulous some of my fellow journalists were. Many told me I was making a huge mistake. Better to stick with a sure thing, went the chorus, than take a big chance and leap into the unknown. As for most of us who were lucky enough to have the Burns experience, that risk worked out well for me. I spent 10 years based in Berlin, wrote a column for the Berliner Zeitung for a while as “an American in Berlin,” and started writing books, including several best-sellers.
Now I am taking another plunge into the unknown and, once again, my transition might have parallels with what other Burns alumni are pursuing—and might offer opportunity. With my fiancée Sarah Ringler, who has a background working for international organizations, we have co-founded the Wellstone Center in the Redwoods, near Santa Cruz, California. We offer weekend workshops such as my own “Find Your Voice” weekend writing workshop, sessions devoted to bringing couples together (through massage or cooking), or another on photography with Pulitzer Prize winner Kim Komenich. The Center is located in a beautiful and inspiring setting four miles up from the Pacific Ocean with forest all around.
We’re also publishing books under our Wellstone Books imprint. The New York-based publishing model that seemed inviolate as recently as a decade ago has shifted and will continue to go through a major reconfiguration. It has become very difficult to get a decent advance from a New York publisher, but with more and more book sales taking place online, there are new opportunities for people who know how to write and edit and have ways to reach at least a targeted audience. Our concept for Wellstone Books is to publish short books (of around 20,000 words in most cases), emphasizing personal writing that is not afraid to inspire.
For example, it was a natural fit to publish a book by Ken Korach, the excellent radio announcer for the Oakland A’s baseball team, about the inspiring life of former A’s announcer Bill King. King was a true renaissance man who taught himself Russian, sailed all over the world, served on the board of the Smuin Ballet in San Francisco, and could paint a picture with words as few ever have. Korach’s book, called Holy Toledo in honor of King’s signature call on the radio, will be published this April. We might publish more books relating to sports and the San Francisco Bay Area under the imprint Holy Toledo.
Bruce Jenkins, a longtime sports columnist for the San Francisco Chronicle and the son of Gordon Jenkins, a gifted musician who worked closely with Frank Sinatra, will be doing a Wellstone Books title on his love of music, all built around his experience of a particular song at a particular time and place and how that has always stayed with him. Don Dixon, producer of the first two REM records, plans to do a book in that series as well. We will also be looking for writers for our great mentor series.
With the boom in online book sales, there are many opportunities for others to carve out their own niche. My sense is that people crave not a journalistic approach in their reading material, but short books that speak directly and passionately about a subject of importance to the author. I will be offering a workshop this summer on how to bring a book idea from the early stages through to completion, publication and effective promotion. And I’m happy to answer questions if anyone wants to email or call.
I was lucky to have the chance to work with the great New Yorker writer Roger Angell. I conceived and edited a collection of his writing called Game Time, which led to my writing One Day at Fenway, which launched me on the path of writing multiple best-sellers as a co-writer/ghost-writer. So I’m not condemning the traditional publishing model. But having spent a decade getting a thorough look at the industry and where it is going, my advice is: If you have a passion to write a book, go for it. It takes stamina and commitment, but there are more opportunities than ever before to find a home for your book. There are risks and headaches, but if you can make it work, you will be glad you did.
Steve Kettmann spent his Burns Fellowship in 1999 working at the Berliner Zeitung. He is a regular contributor to The New York Times and Huffington Post. He is currently writing another book about baseball due out in spring 2014 from Grove/Atlantic. He contributed an essay to
Night Running, the first title from Wellstone Books.
Holbrooke Research Grants - Call for Applications
|Ulrike Langer (Burns 1994) used her Holbrooke Research Grant to report on new business models for the digital media age.
Internationale Journalisten Programme (IJP) and the Arthur F. Burns Fellowships are providing a special opportunity for journalists with a passion for research and storytelling around the globe.
The Holbrooke Research Grants offer stipends of up to €4,000 to as many as 10-15 print, broadcast and new media journalists. Grantees will be selected by an advisory board, including professionals and trustees working in journalism.
The grants were recently renamed to honor Richard Holbrooke and his outstanding service in the field of international relations and specifically the German-American relationship. Holbrooke was an American diplomat, magazine editor, author and investment banker. He served as the U.S. Ambassador to Germany from 1993-1994 and the Assistant Secretary of State for European Affairs from 1994-1996. He also helped form the American Academy in Berlin and was its founding chairman. Most recently, he served as the Special Representative for Afghanistan and Pakistan. He died in December 2010. These travel and research grants honor his legacy of cross-cultural exchange and diplomacy.
Who: All IJP and Burns alumni are eligible—both newsroom staffers and freelancers.
What: The grants support ambitious journalism projects including, but not limited to, the global economic crisis. Joint projects between journalists from different countries are encouraged, but individual projects will also be considered. A transatlantic perspective should be part of the project.
When: The deadline is ongoing throughout 2013 until funds are exhausted.
Selection Criteria: When choosing, we consider each candidate’s professional accomplishments and potential; his or her individual and organizational commitment; and the potential impact of the proposed journalistic project. For collaborative projects, each applicant should submit a separate application that incorporates the jointly developed project proposal. Click
here for details on what to submit.
Requirements: The program will only review completed applications endorsed by a news organization. Stories must be published or broadcast within four months of grant award date. Eighty percent of the amount of each grant will be paid at the outset of the project, with the remaining 20 percent to be paid upon publication or broadcast.
Sponsored by: The Holbrooke Research Grants are financed by contributions from Goldman Sachs and the Ford Foundation. Additional funding comes from the transatlantic program of the Federal Republic of Germany with funding from the European Recovery Program (ERP) of the Federal Ministry of Economics and Technology (BMWi).
The Arthur F. Burns Fellowship News is published four times a year by the International Center for Journalists.
Burns Program Staff:
Frank-Dieter Freiling, Director, IJP
Emily Schult, Program Manager, ICFJ
Maia Curtis, ICFJ Consultant
Leigh Burke, Burns Fundraising Consultant
Named in honor of the late former U.S. ambassador to the Federal Republic of Germany and former Federal Reserve Board chairman, the Arthur F. Burns Fellowship Program fosters greater understanding of German–U.S. relations among future leaders of the news media.
The Burns program was established in 1988 in Germany by the Internationale Journalisten-Programme (formerly the Initiative Jugendpresse) and was originally designed for young German journalists. In 1990, the fellowship expanded to include American journalists, making it a true exchange.
Each year 20 outstanding journalists from the United States and Germany are awarded an opportunity to report from and travel in each other’s countries. The program offers 10 young print and broadcast journalists from each country the opportunity to share professional expertise with their colleagues across the Atlantic while working as “foreign correspondents” for their hometown news organizations.
Fellows work as part-time staff members at host newspapers, magazines and radio and television stations. In addition to covering local news, fellows report on events for their employers back home, while learning more about their host country and its media.
This competitive program is open to U.S. and German journalists who are employed by a newspaper, news magazine, broadcast station or news agency, and to freelancers. Applicants must have demonstrated journalistic talent and a strong interest in U.S.–European affairs. German language proficiency is not required, but is encouraged.
1616 H Street, NW, Third Floor
Washington, D.C. 20006
The Burns Fellowship program is
administered jointly by:
Dr. Frank-Dieter Freiling
Once again we are in the process of selecting the new class of Burns fellows for this summer, now already the 26th class to participate. We have spent the past nine months celebrating a quarter century of excellence in media exchange. Hopefully some of you will be able to continue the celebration at the second Burns Dinner in San Francisco on March 27.
We have expanded our presence on the internet, but we are still missing some of you on our
Facebook alumni page
—please connect! You can also now follow us on our new Twitter account
. We have increased the resources for alumni in the form of additional grants and fellowships. The jury meets in March to select the winners of the Arthur F. Burns Awards 2012—two awards each with a 2000 Euro cash prize. The Richard Holbrooke Research Grants, in place for a couple of years, have been expanded to include the
Holbrooke Journalist-in-Residence Program
. We sent you the background information and application criteria a few weeks ago. And we are also considering a special research trip in the run up to the German federal elections this September, as we did to the U.S. political party conventions last year. There are plenty of opportunities for you to apply or join in!
We have also opened another door by selecting one fellow from a Canadian media organization to go to Germany and one German fellow to spend his or her fellowship working in Canada. The application and placement process is supported by the prestigious Massey College and its media fellowships at the University of Toronto. We will see how this initiative develops and hope that it will lead to a regular exchange of fellows with Canada.
Wishing you a quick end to a long, cold winter and all the best for your projects and plans in 2013. Stay in touch and hope to see you again soon,
Claudia Bill-de la Peña became the mayor of the
city of Thousand Oaks, CA, in December 2012. Her term ends in December 2013.
Marko Martin just published his new book Kosmos Tel Aviv.
Dominik Wichmann was promoted from deputy to editor-in-chief of the weekly magazine Der Stern in Hamburg. He will take the helm of the prestigious magazine in May.
Cherno Jobatey, who was one of the founding anchors in 1992 of ZDF’s daily “Morgenmagazin,” left the network at the end of 2012 and will now work as a freelance society reporter, still occasionally for ZDF and “Morgenmagazin.” Karin [Figge] Kekulé, anchor at Bavarian TV Bayerischer Rundfunk, was made a new member of the Verbraucherkommission Bayern, a group of experts from science, economic and consumer groups, which formulates action plans for consumer protection in the state of Bavaria.
James Bernsen has taken a new position as vice president of Crosswind Communications, an Austin-based public relations firm. Bernsen previously served as the communications director on the Ted Cruz for U.S. Senate campaign. He and his wife Stephanie just welcomed their first child, Diego, in October. Adrienne Woltersdorf will continue as the director of the Friedrich Ebert Foundation office in Kabul, Afghanistan, until January 2014.
Starting in August 2013, Adrian Feuerbacher will head NDR Info’s department for politics and current affairs. NDR Info, a radio program of public broadcasting network Norddeutscher Rundfunk (NDR), is northern Germany’s leading news radio station and has more than 600,000 listeners a day.
Max von Klitzing is expecting his second child soon and still works for his own production company Freeeye.tv out of Hamburg.
Christian Meier was promoted to editor-in-chief of the media portal MEEDIA.
Holger Fritsche was selected for another IJP exchange—the German-Dutch Fellowship. He will leave ZDF Neo TV to spend several months in 2013 in the Netherlands. Steffen Schwarzkopf now works for the television network N24 in Berlin and is expecting his second child soon.
Damaso Reyes will exhibit his work in Vienna at the U.S. Embassy’s Amerika Haus. The exhibition, titled “The Ties That Bind,” is made up of images from Austria, Slovakia and Hungary that explore how these three nations are changing as the European Union expands.
After five years based in Cairo (including a six-month detour in Dakar, Senegal), Holly Pickett moved to Istanbul, Turkey, on Feb. 2. She is looking forward to using that beautiful city as a launching point for stories in the Middle East, Central Asia, Africa, and Eastern Europe.
Dr. Roman Deininger is a correspondent for the state of Baden-Württemberg for Süddeutsche Zeitung. He is based in Stuttgart.
Steffi Dobmeier, a reporter at the daily Tageszeitung, was selected for another IJP fellowship and will spend two months working at the newspaper The Local in Sweden in 2013. Andreas Groβe Halbuer left the now defunct Financial Times Deutschland last October to join the capital bureau of the weekly magazine Focus as a reporter.
Cornelius Pollmer now works in the Dresden bureau of the daily Süddeutsche Zeitung.
Jonathan Stock now works as an editor for the weekly magazine Der Spiegel out of Hamburg. Takis Würger won the German reporting award, den Reporterpreis 2012, for his piece in Der Spiegel on German sharpshooters in Afghanistan, with whom he was embedded for three weeks last year.
San Francisco Alumni Dinner:
March 27, 2013
Kara Swisher, All Things D
Berlin Alumni Dinner:
June 4, 2013
U.S. Trustees (2010-2013)
Patron: The Honorable Dr. Peter Ammon, German Ambassador to the United States
Joyce Barnathan, President, International Center for Journalists (ICFJ)
Elizabeth Becker, Journalist and Author
Albert Behler, President and CEO, Paramount Group, Inc.
Amb. J.D. Bindenagel, Vice President, Community, Government and International Affairs, DePaul University
Rebecca Blumenstein, Deputy Managing Editor and International Editor, The Wall Street Journal
Marcus W. Brauchli, Vice President, The Washington Post Company
Amb. Richard Burt, Senior Advisor, McLarty Associates (Honorary Chairman)
Dr. Martin Bussmann, Mannheim LLC
Nikhil Deogun, Managing Editor, CNBC
David W. Detjen, Partner, Alston & Bird LLP
Dr. Hans-Ulrich Engel, CFO, BASF SE; Chairman and CEO, BASF Corporation
Dr. Frank-Dieter Freiling, Director, Internationale Journalisten Programme, e.V. (IJP)
Prof. Dr. Ronald Frohne, President and CEO, GWFF USA, Inc.
James F. Hoge, Jr., Director, Human Rights Watch (Honorary Chairman)
Robert M. Kimmitt, Senior International Counsel, WilmerHale
The Honorable Henry A. Kissinger, Chairman, Kissinger Associates
Christian Lange, CEO, President and Co-Founder, European Investors Inc.
The Honorable Frank E. Loy, Former Under Secretary of State for Global Affairs (Chairman)
Sen. Richard G. Lugar, Former United States Senator
Kati Marton, Author and Journalist
Wolfgang Pordzik, Executive Vice President, Corporate Public Policy, DHL North America
John F. W. Rogers, Managing Director, Goldman, Sachs & Co.
Garrick Utley, President, Levin Institute, SUNY
Stanford S. Warshawsky, Chairman, Bismarck Capital, LLC (Vice Chairman)
Legal Advisor: Phillip C. Zane, Attorney at Law, Baker, Donelson, Bearman, Caldwell & Berkowitz
German Trustees (2010-2013)
Patron: The Honorable Philip D. Murphy, U.S. Ambassador to Germany
Dr. Thomas Bellut, Director-General, ZDF
Erik Bettermann, Director-General, Deutsche Welle
Prof. Dr. Reinhard Bettzuege, Former Ambassador
Dr. Martin Blessing, CEO, Commerzbank AG
Prof. Maria Böhmer, State Minister, Member of Parliament, CDU/CSU
Tom Buhrow, Anchorman, ARD
Sabine Christiansen, Journalist, TV21 Media
Dr. Mathias Döpfner, CEO, Axel Springer AG
Thomas Ellerbeck, Chairman, Vodafone Foundation
Leonhard F. Fischer, Partner, RHJI Swiss Management
Dr. Rüdiger Frohn, Chairman, Stiftung Mercator
Emilio Galli-Zugaro, Head Group Communications, Allianz Group
Dr. Tessen von Heydebreck, Former Member of the Board, Deutsche Bank AG (Honorary Chairman)
Dr. Luc Jochimsen, Member of Parliament, Die Linke
Dr. Torsten-Jörn Klein, Board member, Gruner + Jahr AG
Michael Georg Link, State Minister, Foreign Office, Member of Parliament, FDP
Rob Meines, Meines & Partners, The Hague
Kerstin Müller, Former State Minister, Member of Parliament, Buendnis 90/Die Grünen
Mathias Müller von Blumencron, Editor-in-Chief, Der Spiegel
Rainer Neske, Board Member, Deutsche Bank (Chairman)
Dagmar Reim, Director General, Rundfunk Berlin-Brandenburg
Helmut Schäfer, Former State Minister, Foreign Office (Honorary Chairman)
Monika Schaller, Senior Vice President, Goldman, Sachs & Co.
Steffen Seibert, Government Spokesman
Dr. Frank Walter Steinmeier, Former Foreign Minister, Chair of the SPD Parliamentary Group
Tobias Trevisan, CEO, Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung
Lord George Weidenfeld, Former CEO, Weidenfeld & Nicolson
The Arthur F. Burns Board of Trustees in the United States and Germany acknowledges with gratitude the support of the following organizations and individuals who have made the 2013 Arthur F. Burns Fellowship program possible.
Sponsors in the U.S.
Alston & Bird, LLP
BMW Group USA
The Capital Group Companies Charitable Foundation
Deutsche Post DHL Americas
European Investors, Inc.
The Ford Foundation
The Ford Foundation/Institute of International Education
The German Marshall Fund of the United States
Goldman, Sachs & Co.
GWFF USA, Inc.
The Ladenburg Foundation
Paramount Group, Inc.
The Hon. J.D. Bindenagel
John and Gina Despres
The Hon. Frank E. Loy
Dr. Guenter and Elsbeth Roesner
Stanford S. Warshawsky
Sponsors in Germany
Robert Bosch Stiftung Bundesministerium für Familie, Senioren, Frauen und Jugend
Deutsche Bank AG
European Recovery Program (ERP), Federal Ministry of Economics and Technology
Goldman, Sachs & Co.
Vibro Beteiligungs GmbH