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June 2012 Newsletter
Vol. 21 No. 2

In Praise of Journalism
By Moritz Honert (Burns 2011)

Admiral James Stavridis surprised attendees with the topic of his speech at the annual Arthur F. Burns Fellowship Dinner in Berlin on June 6, marking the 25th anniversary of the program. His keynote speech did not address the question of Russia or NATO or even the state of German-American relations, though many would have expected that topic from a person introduced as “a true friend of Germany” by the U.S. Ambassador to Germany Philip D. Murphy.

Instead NATO’s Supreme Allied Commander Europe offered a tribute to journalism for the approximately 150 Burns alumni, board members, guests and the 25th class of fellows who had gathered in the atrium of Deutsche Bank’s Berlin headquarters. The admiral called journalism both an art and a science, but noted that this view was not shared by many these days.

Admiral Jim Stavridis, NATO Supreme Allied Commander Europe
According to a list of the most popular professions that Stavridis found in The Wall Street Journal, reporters are ranked at position 184—far behind careers such as shoe repair man, sewage plant operator or nuclear plant decontamination technician.
Nonetheless, Stavridis underlined that a free press is one of the fundamental values of our society. He quoted Salman Rushdie, the author who received death threats after the publication of his novel The Satanic Verses, who claimed that “Free speech is the whole thing… Free speech is life itself.”
Sadly, the opposite is also true. As Stavridis announced, so far this year, 61 journalists have died while practicing their profession, making 2012 the most dangerous year for journalists since these statistics were recorded starting some 20 years ago.

U.S. Trustees Dr. Martin Bussmann, J.D. Bindenagel, Elizabeth Becker, Richard Burt   
Admiral Stavridis ended his speech with two appeals: First, without naming any specific stories or names that had “frustrated him sometimes,” he urged journalists always to stick to the truth—not to inflate a story or make it fit a pre-existing idea. He called Ernest Hemingway, with his “clean and pure” style, a perfect example to follow.
Secondly, Stavridis addressed some of today’s biggest challenges for journalists, including the vast growth of the Internet as well as the overall availability of smartphones. Stavridis discussed how one could see both sides of this development clearly during the Arab spring. On the one hand, there was a plethora of courageously gathered information. On the other hand, how to verify all the data, pictures and news presented an enormous challenge. Today, the media’s job is to link all of this available information with the professionalism that distinguishes good journalism.

A few of the 2012 German Burns Fellows.   
Before leaving the stage, Admiral Stavridis remembered the American editor Henry Luce, who once answered the question of why he became a reporter by explaining that he wanted to come as close as possible to the heart of the world. “I salute you because you do that,” Admiral Stavridis concluded, addressing the audience.
Frank-Dieter Freiling, director of the Burns Fellowship program, then saluted him. Freiling thanked Stavridis for his “remarkable and unexpected” speech—and closed by predicting a future career in journalism for the admiral himself, with newspapers eagerly awaiting his commentaries.
Moritz Honert is a reporter for Der Tagesspiegel in Berlin. He spent his fellowship in 2011 at the Chicago Tribune.

German Trustee Erik Bettermann, U.S. Trustee Richard Burt, Admiral Stavridis, dinner co-host Thorsten Strauss of Deutsche Bank, State Secretary Emily Haber and Ambassador Philip Murphy    

2011 Burns and Kennan Award Winners

The 2011 Arthur F. Burns Awards honored articles on a range of issues—from surfer culture to nuclear power. The German Foreign Minister awards the prizes to one German and one American Burns alumni, who published an outstanding story during 2011 on a political, economic or cultural issue in the partner country or on transatlantic relations.

The 2,000-Euro prize for the best German contribution went to Gordon Repinski (Burns 2011), a reporter in Der Spiegel’s Berlin bureau, for “ Der Fall Irons (The Irons Case),” published in sonntaz on November 5, 2011. The story is about the short, high-octane life of surfing legend Andy Irons who, unable to handle his early stardom and the glamour of the surfer scene, died of a drug-induced heart attack at age 32. Repinski spent part of his Burns Fellowship last year in San Diego exploring the dark side of a “much too cool world, in which the party must never end.”

Award winners from left: Aaron Wiener, Hans-Dieter Gelfert, Gordon Repinski   
Aaron Wiener (Burns 2010) won the best American contribution for “ How Germany phased out nuclear power, only to get mugged by reality,” published in The New Republic on October 31, 2011. Protecting the environment is not just a matter of politics in Germany, but also often a matter of faith. Environmental protection has become standard public policy over the past 30 years in the German Republic. But Wiener describes the unexpected and dramatic consequences of the abrupt change in energy policy by Chancellor Angela Merkel and the errors of all the parties involved—from the nuclear energy lobby to the environmental protection movement. His article is non-polemic and highly informative.

Two German journalists and one American received honorary mentions. Justus Bender (Burns 2010) was honored for his article “ Mr. President, es wird ein leichter Tag (Mr. President, it will be an easy day),” a remarkable portrait of the lives and impressions of the Florida second graders who were meeting with President George W. Bush ten years ago when the airplanes crashed into the World Trade Center towers. The article was published in the Frankfurter Allgemeine Sonntagszeitung on September 4, 2011. Stephan Seiler (Burns 2011) was honored for “Liebe zum Abgewöhnen (Weaning off love),” his moving story about evangelical Christians in Texas who try to “heal” homosexual and bisexual youth through prayer under the motto “pray away the gay.” His story ran in a special October edition of Max.

Jury member and Burns alumnus Dominik Wichmann, Der Stern, and State Secretary Emily Haber introduce the 2011 award winners.    
U.S. journalist Anton Troianovski (Burns 2011), a reporter at The Wall Street Journal, received an honorary mention for his amusing and informative story titled “ Germans face off in hairy debate over whisker do´s and don´ts,” published on September 23, 2011. The story is about a rift within the German community of competitive beard enthusiasts. The well researched short story about bearded men and the intricacies of their club, the Association of German Beard Clubs, offers a wonderful insight into a very German cultural phenomenon.

The George F. Kennan Commentary Award is given annually to a journalist who has published a commentary in a German publication during the past calendar year. The content of the commentary must be a remarkable exploration of issues concerning the United States or the transatlantic relationship. The award includes a 2,000-Euro check.

The jury awarded the 2011 prize to Hans-Dieter Gelfert, a professor emeritus for English literature at Free University Berlin, for his commentary “ Die widersprüchlichen USA—Zwischen Religion und Aufklärung, zwischen Tea Party und Occupy Wall Street: Warum die Amerikaner so sind, wie sie sind (The contradictory USA—Between religion and enlightenment, between Tea Party and Occupy Wall Street: Why Americans are as they are).” The article was published on November 5, 2011, in Der Tagesspiegel. The author pieces together various facts about the mentality of Americans to elucidate why they behave the way they do on certain issues. He conveys a real depth of understanding that has a powerful impact on readers. If it is true that we are in danger of being “over-newsed but under-informed,” then Gelfert’s analysis serves as an excellent antidote. His article becomes a strong plea for the value of journalism in the digital Twitter age.

The jury for both awards was composed of journalists Sabine Christiansen, Dr. Christoph von Marschall (Tagesspiegel), Claus Strunz (Axel Springer), Stefan Kornelius (Süddeutsche Zeitung) and Dr. Dominik Wichmann (Stern), as well as Dr. Frank-Dieter Freiling (ZDF) and Petra Stoeckl (Foreign Ministry of Germany).

Alumni Spotlight: Damaso Reyes
Damaso Reyes (Burns 2007) has been photographing in Europe for many years as part of his project "The Europeans," documenting the many changes across the European Union. Below are a few of his photos. To see more of his work, click here.


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 2012 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.
Where: Please send your application to or
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).

2012 Burns Fellows
(Host media in parentheses)
Jochen Brenner, Reporter, Der Spiegel, Hamburg
(Mother Jones, San Francisco, CA)
Johannes Gernert, Editor, Die Tageszeitung, Berlin
(Oakland Tribune, Oakland, CA)
Rieke Havertz, Editor-at-Large, Die Tageszeitung/, Berlin
(Christian Science Monitor, Boston, MA)
Christoph Hickmann, Correspondent, Der Spiegel, Berlin
(Chicago Tribune)
Sonia Kennebeck, Reporter, NDR TV (Panorama), Hamburg
(CNN, Atlanta, GA)
Moritz Küpper, Reporter, Deutschlandfunk (Radio), Köln
Veit Medick, Reporter, Spiegel Online, Berlin
(The Miami Herald)
Bettina Meier, Freelance Editor, RBB Inforadio, Berlin
Tobias Peter, News Editor, Kölner Stadt-Anzeiger, Köln
(The Philadelphia Inquirer)
Jonathan Stock, Freelance Reporter & Correspondent, Berlin
(ProPublica, New York, NY)
Takis Würger, Reporter, Der Spiegel, Hamburg
(The Austin Chronicle, Austin, TX)
(Host media in parentheses)
Tetiana Anderson, Freelance Reporter/Producer, CNN, NY-1, Yonkers, NY
(, Berlin)
Andrew Coombes, News Producer, Al Jazeera English, Washington, D.C.
(Stuttgarter Nachrichten, Stuttgart)
Connor Donevan, Production Assistant, NPR, Washington, D.C.
(MDR Radio, Halle)  
Bruce Falconer, Senior Editor, The American Scholar, Washington, D.C.
(Der Tagesspiegel, Berlin)  
Timothy Loh, Reporter, The Connecticut Post, Bridgeport, CT
(Süddeutsche Zeitung, Munich) 
Kristina Shevory, Freelance Reporter, The New York Times, Austin, TX
Rachel Stern, Associate Local Editor, AOL/Patch, Palo Alto, CA
(Spiegel Online, Berlin)  

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.
International Center
for Journalists
1616 H Street, NW, Third Floor
Washington, D.C. 20006
Tel: 1-202-737-3700

Internationale Journalisten-
Postfach 1565
Tel: +49-6174-7707
Fax: +49-6174-4123 

The Burns Fellowship program is
administered jointly by:


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Frankly Speaking
Dr. Frank-Dieter Freiling

Dear Alumni,

2012 is a big year for Burns—the 25th class is getting ready to start their fellowship. Nearly 500 journalists have participated in the fellowship so far. The Arthur F. Burns Dinner in Berlin on June 6 reminded us how diverse the Burns alumni family is, but united through this common experience. And it really is a family—the last alumni left the dinner’s after-party in the early morning hours.

Admiral Jim Stavridis, NATO’s Supreme Allied Commander Europe and guest of honor in Berlin, surprised the audience of alumni and trustees by giving a speech on the value and relevance of the media (more on that and many photos in this newsletter). The new class of German fellows was cheered, and the Arthur F. Burns and George F. Kennan Awards were presented by alumnus and jury member Dominik Wichmann (Burns 1995) and State Secretary Emily Haber. She stood in for Foreign Minister and former trustee Guido Westerwelle, who was in the Middle East that evening, but sent his best wishes to fellows and alumni.

Continuing the celebrations, the Washington Burns Dinner will take place on July 25, with a second San Francisco Burns Dinner shortly after. After the Washington Dinner, the new fellows will start their turn on either side of the Atlantic, hopefully with help from all of you—giving advice and comfort when needed.

I hope to see many of you next in Washington and wish you a great summer, full of sun and interesting stories from both our countries.


P.S. So far nearly 300 have joined the Burns Facebook page for alumni, but some are still missing. If you haven’t signed up, do it now to stay in touch with all of us.
Alumni News
Starting in mid-July, Klemens Semtner will be posted to Athens where he will serve as deputy head of mission at the German embassy. Since August 2011, he has served as head of the Transformation Partnership Task Force in the Federal Foreign Office.

Ralf Weitbrecht, sports editor at the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, was re-elected as the second president of Frankfurt’s association of sports press. He has held the office since 2004.

Tasso Enzweiler is the managing director of Ketchum Pleon GmbH in Düsseldorf. Elisabeth Niejahr, as part of her work on education issues, published Alles auf Anfang: Die Wahrheit über Patchwork (Aufbau).

Stephan Millies left Germany and is now working as Bazaarvoice’s product manager for ratings and reviews out of Austin, TX. Wulf Schmiese, morning anchor at ZDF TV in Berlin, is the proud father of a third son, born at the end of May.

After ten years as a correspondent in Asia for Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, Jochen Buchsteiner will now report from London. Jan Heidtmann switched within the company from deputy editor of Süddeutsche Magazin to the reporting team of the national desk at the daily Süddeutsche Zeitung.

Richard Precht is starting his own talk show at ZDF TV this autumn.

In addition to his job at Brain Script GmbH, Nikolai Behr is a professor at the Macromedia Hochschule für Medien und Kommunikation in Munich. James Bernsen was married in 2011 and he and his wife are expecting their first child in November. He is currently the communications director for the Ted Cruz for U.S. Senate campaign in Texas. In honor of Marc Fischer, who died last year, a collection of his articles were published under the title Die Sache mit dem Ich (Kiepenheuer&Witsch).

Peter Riesbeck works as a political correspondent in Brussels for the syndicated newspapers Berliner Zeitung and Frankfurter Rundschau.

Henning Hertel recently joined ARD as editor for He is still based in Berlin.  
Tibet Sinha became the deputy head of the foreign affairs department at WDR in June.

Georg Matthes will leave Berlin to join Deutsche Welle’s Brussels bureau in August. Damaso Reyes’ photographs, which are part of his project titled “ The Europeans,” were recently featured on The New York Times Lens Blog.

Christian Salewski and Fredy Gareis (Burns 2009) won the Journalistenpreis Politik & Kultur, given by the German Kulturrat and Deutschlandradio, for a joint reporting project titled “ A Picasso for Palestine,” published in the weekly Die Zeit. In addition to his regular radio work for U.S. media, Shant Shahrigian has been freelancing for more than a year for Deutsche Welle, coordinating their English social media accounts out of Bonn.

Gordon Repinski left Tageszeitung in May to join the weekly Der Spiegel as a correspondent in its capital bureau, covering mostly the SPD. In order to participate in the Burns Fellowship last year, Susan Valot left her post as Orange County bureau chief at KPCC Radio, a Los Angeles NPR affiliate.  She has worked as a freelancer since returning home, regularly filing stories for various public radio outlets, including NPR’s “Only A Game.” This past May, Susan traveled back to Berlin to accept a 2nd place RIAS Berlin Kommission award for her radio story about L.A. artists who left Southern California for Berlin’s art scene. She produced the story during her Burns Fellowship. The award commended Valot’s story for contributing “significantly to mutual understanding between the people of the Federal Republic of Germany and the United States.” While in Berlin, she caught up with fellow Burns alumna Anne Allmeling.

Before starting his Burns Fellowship, Christoph Hickmann left the Berlin bureau of Der Spiegel to join the daily Süddeutsche Zeitung in its capital bureau.

Upcoming Events
Washington Dinner:
July 25, 2012
German Ambassador's Residence
2012 Fellowships:
July 24 - Sept. 28, 2012
San Francisco Alumni Dinner:
(Exact date TBA)

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, Executive Editor, The Washington Post
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, 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
Erik Bettermann
, Director-General, Deutsche Welle
Prof. Dr. Reinhard Bettzuege
, Former German Ambassador to Brussels
Dr. Martin Blessing
, CEO, Commerzbank AG
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
Rüdiger Frohn, Chairman, Stiftung Mercator
Emilio Galli-Zugaro
, Head Group Communications, Allianz Group
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
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
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 2012 Arthur F. Burns Fellowship program possible.

Sponsors in the U.S.
Alston & Bird, LLP
Robert Bosch Stiftung
The Capital Group  Companies Charitable Foundation
Comcast NBCUniversal
Deutsche Post DHL Americas
European Investors, Inc.
The Ford Foundation
The Ford Foundation/International Institute for Education
The German Marshall Fund of the United States
Goldman, Sachs & Co.
The Ladenburg Foundation
Mars Incorporated
Paramount Group, Inc.
Individual Contributions
Elizabeth Becker
The Hon. J.D. Bindenagel
John and Gina Despres
David Detjen
The Hon. Frank E. Loy
Stanford S. Warshawsky

Sponsors in Germany
Allianz SE
Auswärtiges Amt.
Bundesministerium für Familie, Senioren, Frauen und Jugend
Deutsche Bank AG
European Recovery Program (ERP), Federal Ministry of Economics and Technology
Goldman, Sachs & Co.
Siemens AG

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