Studying, working, and running a newsroom in Berlin

Lorenzo Cervantes, who grew up in Belgium, started his M.A. Convergent Journalism last October and has already managed to enter two student-run publishing teams (Shifted News and obacht) at HMKW Berlin, the first one of which he co-founded with his course. He also works at upday (Axel Springer SE) in the area of content integration and app development.

Lorenzo at re:publica 18

Your first semester is not over yet and you have already been reporting on site on behalf of re:publica (Europe’s largest conference on digitalisation and society) as part of the student-run newsroom „Shifted News“.

How did you experience the event? Was it a challenge to be jumping into the deep and report for real, not just as an assignment?

At first, everyone was a bit overwhelmed. But we were happy that we were relatively free to do what we wanted, choose our own topics to report on. There was a lot of improvisation involved, it was a very fast-paced working environment. Thankfully, some of us had already gained experience with similar projects before, so I think we managed to produce a lot of good work.

 

I am very grateful to be part of this team.

 

What is it like to be part of such a diverse team, with students from roughly 12 countries working together?

Our course is so diverse, not only in terms of nationality, language, and beliefs, but also with regards to our academic backgrounds, e.g. we have people who have studied fine arts, cinema, fashion, marketing, linguistics and many more. So Shifted News could not only benefit from a broad variety of perspectives but also from the specific skills that come from each discipline.

I am very grateful to be part of this team. We are planning to keep collaborating as Shifted News, use it as a platform to build our portfolios and share freely what is of interest for each of us individually. Speaking from my experience at re:publica, I strongly believe we are able to multi-task as a team and deal with any challenges that’ll come our way.

 

What are your plans for the future? Do you want to become a full-time journalist?

I haven’t made my mind up yet, but I don't think I will become a full-time journalist. I definitely enjoy writing and would like to work on journalistic projects in the future, but I'd also like to write in other contexts. I have worked in translation before as well as in IT, so my main focus of interest is in linguistics and technology, and how the two areas can intersect. Over the last years, I have been involved with a variety of projects simultaneously and got used to this way of living.

 

I feel like a fish in the water here.

 

How are you experiencing life in Berlin? Was it easy for you to settle in? Do you want to stay?

To be honest: I feel like a fish in the water here. I have been in Berlin before to learn German, when I studied translation. I knew from the start, when I first came here, that I would end up in Berlin eventually, so I’m very motivated and happy to live in this multi-cultural city.

It makes so much sense that Shifted News was created in Berlin given its cosmopolitan atmosphere. This environment enables us to work on what really drives us. I haven't decided yet what I will do after my studies at HMKW. There is no reason for me to leave Berlin, but it would also be nice to live and work in Spain for a while, where part of my family is from.

 

What’s your advice for students who decide to come to Germany to study?

Don’t panic, learn German, don’t get scammed, buy a bike, be prepared in terms of housing, bureaucracy and so on.