For the last two and a half months, I had the chance to work with Deutsche Welle’s Research and Cooperation Projects (ReCo) Team – and I enjoyed every day of it.

Before I start my report, let me tell you a little more about my background: My name is Catharina, I’m 19 years old, a native of Cologne, and I completed my Abitur (= German A levels) last year. Right after, I joined a voluntary service called weltwärts – and spent six months in the Dominican Republic.

Even though I’ve always been interested in journalism and media production, it was while living abroad that I became fully aware of Deutsche Welle and its services. Upon my return to Germany, I decided I wanted to intern with the broadcaster’s ReCo Team (i.e. the media innovation managers) – and eventually had my first day at their Berlin office in April.

Here’s why I love the ReCos or “Innos”, as they’re still called sometimes: Their projects are about new, emerging technologies, which are always interesting, no matter what focus. Sometimes, you’re really close to daily business and the current needs of the broadcaster, for example when dealing with verification software and contributing to the fight against misinformation. Sometimes, you need to think far ahead and contemplate future needs, for example when reading up on blockchain technology. In general, the variety of topics and the work with partners from all over Europe fascinated me a lot.

Things that stood out during my ten weeks at DW:

  • Pop-up store: Virtual Reality Madness and Fader: It was only my second week at DW, when re:publica, a big internet conference, took place in Berlin. As a side event, the Fader Consortium (dedicated to using virtual reality for immersive storytelling in journalism) hosted a pop-up store. I could join the team, help organize the event, shoot my very first immersive story, and talk to all the interesting visitors!
  • Blockchain research: My first main task was connected to the Bloomen project. I was asked to put together a research collection on the topic of blockchain technology and its application in the creative industries. Before the internship, I had only heard about blockchain. After working on the topic for a couple of weeks, I actually started to understand the concept – and can now join the conversation. Diving deep into a completely new topic, analyzing countless articles, and discussing my findings with my colleagues was a rewarding task that made me see how much I love learning new things.
  • Global Media Forum: Every year, DW hosts a huge event called Global Media Forum in Bonn. This year’s focus was on “global inequalities” – a perfect topic in regard to my voluntary service in Central America. Just being at the conference and talking to the international participants was a great experience and a first for me. On top of it, I was invited to participate in a hackathon, hosted by DW and the BBC, and aiming at”visualizing the lack of balance in social, economic, and political matters” by using DDJ concepts (data-driven journalism) and AR (augmented reality). My team successfully developed a gaming idea for the AR track. And if that wasn’t enough, we received an “honorable mention” from the jury – and could present our idea in the plenary chamber at the WCC.
  • Daily lunch: My colleagues were an essential factor for the brilliant time I had at DW. At lunch, I always had the opportunity to engage in conversations. We talked about all kinds of topics, my study plans, and work at DW in general. I gained a lot of insights!

What else can I say? My internship at DW ReCO taught me a lot. Not only about VR and blockchain and big conferences, but also about the structure of an international media organization and team meeting policies, socializing at the office, and working nine to five. Or rather: ten thirty to six thirty, in true Berlin style.

Catharina Kreiling

Photo of Catharina at Global Media Forum 2018 courtesy of DW/GMF