(Tomáš Randýsek, ifa editor at LandesEcho Prag, Photo: ifa / Grimke)

Social Media Platform Mind_Netz

Journalists from German Minorities Link up in Prague

In May 2017, journalists from German minorities’ newspapers and radio stations in Central and South Eastern Europe, as well as Russia and Kazakhstan, came together for a (net)working meeting. Most met in person for the first time, but the majority has known one another before, thanks to their collaboration with Mind_Netz. Since November 2016, journalists from the German minorities’ media have been cooperating on the joint social media platform, in partnership with Mind_Netz’s editors at the ifa in Stuttgart. On its facebook, VK, and Twitter presences, Mind_Netz curates the most intriguing contributions from German minorities’ media, targeting a young and international audience. “Through Mind_Netz, members of one German minority can learn about Germans in another country more easily,” notes Anastasia Bushueva, journalist with Moskauer Deutsche Zeitung (Moscow German Newspaper). The meeting aimed at making collaboration more dynamic and more determining what the most interesting topics for Mind_Netz’s readers could be.

There are plenty of interesting topics to cover.  Philipp Hochbaum, journalist with Deutsche Allgemeine Zeitung für Rumänien (Romania’s German Newspaper), for instance, is researching for an article on the country’s current vaccination fatigue and high number of measles outbreaks. “Romania is debating about making vaccinations mandatory now,” says Hochbaum. This debate is also highly discussed topic in Germany. “Very often, the central-eastern European countries and Germany have quite similar debates. Unfortunately, we usually learn only little about them, due to the language barrier,” says Marita Grimke, chief editor of Mind_Netz. “It is one of the platform’s strengths that it provides an authentic insight into the developments in the countries in Central Eastern Europe and the Community of Independent States (CIS) in the German language.”

The specifics of publishing for Facebook and the like was another focus of the (net)working meeting. The majority of the newspapers represented in Prague are familiar with publishing for social media and most editors have run successful social-media presences for their own media for some years. Yet, it is important to be aware of the latest trends and to continuously improve one’s presence. “To advance my newspaper, I want to make better use of the opportunities that Mind_Netz and the social media as a whole have to offer,” Rudolf Urban says, who is editor in chief of Wochenblatt.pl (German Weekly), the German minority newspaper in Poland. The social media expert Helge Haas, director of programmes for young audiences at Radio Bremen, trained the editors during the Prague meeting. “It is important to intrigue the reader about an article in just a few simple sentences,” Haas explains. “On facebook, short videos as well as personal and emotional stories are currently the most popular posts.” Mind_Netz follows this trend: In the new segment “Menschen von Mind_Netz” (Humans of Mind_Netz), the editors present people from the German minorities and their stories.