As part of a growing relationship with German broadcaster Deutsche Welle, a Wartburg College contingent will attend DW’s Global Media Forum in Bonn June 25-27.
President Darrel Colson; Dr. Penni Pier, professor of communication arts; Travis Bockenstedt, lecturer in communication arts, and Shelby Granath, a senior communication arts major from Rockford, Ill., will join 1,500 international journalists, educators, and dignitaries at the conference on “Culture/ Education/Media: Shaping a Sustainable World.”
DW (“German Wave”) produces TV, radio, and online content in 30 languages, promoting intercultural dialogue to a worldwide audience of nearly 90 million. The June forum focuses on a different topic each day: “Ratings Versus Quality,” “Globalization — Friend or Foe of Cultural Diversity and International Dialogue” and “Education and Sustainable Development.”
Erik Bettermann, Deutsche Welle director-general, issued the invitation to attend the forum. He recently received an honorary degree in literature and letters from Wartburg at the college’s Commencement ceremonies.
Colson will speak on panels devoted to new media’s impact on education and the media’s role in reconstruction in areas of unrest.
“All the sessions are quite exciting, trying to get people to embrace 21st century technology, particularly when capabilities are distinctly different in the northern and southern hemispheres,” said Pier, who chairs the communication arts department.
“In sub-Sahara Africa, there’s been in an increase in mobile devices, although they don’t have satellite and cable capabilities to the extent available in the north. But with mobile devices on the upswing, their ability to generate news and a voice will bring more awareness of their political and civic activities.”
DW is providing Wartburg with a free booth with a video about the college at the forum’s marketplace.
“That’s quite a gift because of the thousands of influential people who will be there,” Pier said.
DW and Wartburg, which was founded by German immigrants, have been forging ties since Bettermann first visited the campus in October 2011 and offered Granath an internship at DW’s Washington D.C. bureau, where she worked this spring.
“If this relationship really takes root,” Pier said, “we could have an opportunity to send students to Bonn or perhaps, if some student is interested in Spanish, to Latin America to work for a DW bureau. The possibilities are endless because of the number of affiliates around the world connected to DW.”
Following the conference, Colson will visit “new friends of the college in Berlin,” according to Pier, who will remain in Bonn with Bockenstedt and Granath to study DW’s operations.
“Deutsche Welle will be a great partner for us,” Bockenstedt said, “particularly when it comes to how they handle content distribution. They have a multi-platform system across different languages called ‘POPE’ — ‘Produce Once, Publish Everywhere.’”