Six weeks of intense work have come to an end and now they are finally here: 13 texts, in German and in French, on a wide range of topics written by the 13 participants of the text editorial team. During the whole time, the work of the text editorial team was very successful and always marked by productive and interesting discussions and exchanges.
As editors-in-chief of the text editorial team, we do not only seek to teach the participants the basics of journalistic writing. We also want to raise awareness for the question how to deal with racism and populism in journalistic work. During our one-day workshop at the end of October 2021 in Freiburg, the participants got to know different types of journalistic texts such as reports, commentaries, critiques, or interviews and learn what distinguishes them from one another. We talked a lot about the conscious use of language – also and especially – in writing. The topic of non-discriminatory language was particularly important. A valuable help was the glossary provided by the New German Media Makers with its formulation aids for journalists.
At the end of November, the second “offline” text editing workshop took place in Freiburg. We invited a guest speaker: Philine Sauvageot, editor and presenter at SWR2 and Deutschlandfunk. She talked about her journalistic profession, explained how the world of journalism works and how journalism deals with topics such as racism and populism. The topic of journalistic objectivity and the ways in which journalist can also be activists was also brought up. Philine Sauvageot discussed topics such as gender, feminism and the so-called canel culture, which are often instrumentalised by populists in the media.
Text editorial team
The editorial team in 2020
Last year, the editorial team of “Voices against racism and populism” looked different. Six volunteers, two countries, one goal: to stand up against racism and populism with German-French blog contributions.
“Say, what is going on?” – Rudolf Augstein once insisted. The founder of one of the most read German news magazines, Der Spiegel, turned this into a guiding principle for the journalists in the editorial staff. Say what is going on. That sounds so simple, but it’s not always that easy. Especially when you write a journalistic or autobiographical article for the first time. Especially when the topics are so sensitive and at the same time so urgent.
Project and editorial team
In cooperation with the Studierendenwerke Karlsruhe, Strasbourg, Mulhouse and Lyon, the Studierendenwerk Freiburg asked students to submit reports on their experiences and opinions on the topics of racism and populism. As a result, an editorial team was formed, consisting of German and French volunteers from the student unions and universities of the respective locations.
Bilingual editorial work that crosses borders
Of special importance and value to the editorial work, accompanied and guided by the German youth press project politikorange, was a joint introduction of the principles of discrimination-sensitive language and racism-critical reporting by the journalist Gilda Sahebi from the Neue Deutsche Medienmacher*innen e.V.
The students and volunteers wrote opinion pieces, reports as well as personal testimonials – independently as well as in groups. The authors of the submitted testimonials were contacted directly by our editors-in-chief and then worked independently on their texts. Some of the testimonials were edited by the seven editors together with the student authors. Other members of the editorial team also decided to write their own, personal texts – in French and German.
In their contributions, the participants talked about their own experiences of racism, about childhood and growing up, resistance, clichés and strong racist stereotypes. Many of the thematically wide-ranging texts are united by their thoughtfulness. They comment on a society that doesn’t always show solidarity – even if there is an obvious need for it, as for example the Covid crisis has shown.
One student focused America and Donald Trump’s politics. This blog also talks about right-wing networks that roam the online world like wolves in sheep’s clothing and about anti-Semitic slogans that are currently articulated at Corona demonstrations. In one interview, the topic of abortion in Ecuador was raised. Another author asked herself what being white means and how someone can talk about racism from this point of view.
The participants wrote about topics that they consider important, topics that touched them. They said what is going on. They asked how it got this far and how it could be. They wrote about what concerns and shapes them. Reading the texts produced in this project is worthwhile, not least to sharpen one’s own perspective on the issues of racism and populism – to understand what is going on.
The work in the bilingual editorial team was accompanied by a huge mutual learning process for all of us in many ways: on a linguistic level, by learning new vocabulary and journalistic expression and on a socio-political and cultural level through new approaches and insights into topics that move and connect us all in one way or another.
Translation Christina Braun