The only constant in life is change.
After turning my back on journalism and being a multifaceted author and becoming an English teacher at the beginning of 2018, this intensive professional experience has come to an end in October 2021. It has become apparent that working as a regular teacher in one of Berlin’s many challenging inner-city schools is not an art I am willing or able to master. My respect goes to all those who pursue this profession despite the health and psychological consequences.
The profession of teaching in the so-called ‘Brennpunkt-Schulen’ is one of the most demanding and important professions that exist in our society. Unfortunately, there is no adequate training for lateral entrants, because the training is tailored to teachers-in-training who have studied for a teaching degree. Career changers already have professional experience in different areas, have not studied the job (so they are not familiar with teaching concepts, interacting with students, methodology, didactics and pedagogy) and have completely different ideas about teaching, which are all not addressed in their training.
Nevertheless, in my time as a teacher at primary schools, lower secondary schools, intermediate schools and even grammar schools, I have learned a lot about my students, about their needs, their wishes and about how they are ultimately left alone by the system, even though the schools themselves try very hard to solve the problems. But it is not within their capabilities to solve problems whose causes lie elsewhere and which only society as such can solve.
So I gave up the teaching profession – for the time being – to pursue other goals. Be it to work with these disadvantaged young adults in a different context, to support them, for example, in achieving a school-leaving qualification in a second attempt or to generally get a grip on their lives, whereby sport – I have a coaching licence and am an active sportsman myself – also plays a role.
Combined with getting back into writing, this could be a rich, creative and exciting mix.
Until I decided to change my profession, my journalistic work focused on reporting from the film & TV industry for the trade magazines Blickpunkt:Film, Medien Bulletin, Professional Production and Film & TV Kameramann.
I travelled on three continents in the course of my work and spoke with studio bosses, producers, directors, scriptwriters, film festival directors, members of funding bodies, directors of photography, sound engineers, manufacturers of technology such as digital film projectors, digital cameras, microphones and lighting, television editors, politicians, cinema operators, service providers for digital live transmission technologies and wrote about their work.
It was an exciting time, in which a lot has changed and a complete change of technology – from analogue film/television/cinema to digital – took place, which I was allowed to report. On behalf of the Main Association of German Cinemas (HDF) and the Filmförderungsanstalt (German Federal Film Board), I also wrote a manual on the digitalisation of cinema for cinema operators. And later for HDF another manual about the use of social media for marketing purposes.
I started with film reviews and first articles on other aspects of the film industry. From 1985 to 2017 I accompanied the Berlin International Film Festival writing about it. From 1995 I wrote for Blickpunkt:Film. From 1998 on, I was Berlin correspondent, which included the surrounding state of Brandenburg, where Studio Babelsberg is located – but I also reported from remote places like Hong Kong or Dubai.
At the same time, I also wrote about these topics for a target audience outside the industry, such as for readers of the Berlin daily newspaper Der Tagesspiegel, the Berlin city magazine zitty, which was discontinued in June 2020 after 43 years, or the foreign trade journal ChinaContact. Text examples can be found under articles or in the archive.
Additionally, I wrote press booklets for film and television productions – for example for public broadcaster NDR, the German branches of Sony Pictures Releasing and Studiocanal as well as German distributors Senator Entertainment or Tobis – as well as press and PR materials for the Hong Kong Trade Development Council, the Topswing Golfschule and for the talent and PR agency Barbarella Entertainment.
Later I expanded my activities to include editorial support for websites and social media appearances, which added new and exciting subjects. For the Protestant Lung Clinic in Berlin-Buch, I was responsible for the two newsletters Lungenpost and Lungenbrief and for the Berlin medical tourism service provider PGD International I produced all editorial content for the homepage and all social media activities in English.
At the beginning of my journalistic career I had the privilege of participating in the unique experiment Newstalk 93.6 from 1996 to 1998 as the producer responsible for the weekend programme. Newstalk 93.6 was an attempt to bring the model of US talk radio to Germany.
In the late summers from 2008 to 2013 I worked in the programme and conference editorial department of the international media congress medienwoche@IFA, the forerunner of the MEDIA CONVENTION Berlin (MCB).