Journalism in action: Laura Mühlenmeier on her studies and her favorite practical projects

An exciting course of study at a familiar university, lots of friends from all over the world and plenty of inspiring input: Laura Mühlenmeier (M.A. Convergent Journalism) has found a new creative home at HMKW Berlin. In this interview, she told us why she enjoys being part of the Talent Campus_Video workshop so much and what defines good journalism.

And action...! Laura Mühlenmeier working behind the camera

And action...! Laura Mühlenmeier working behind the camera

What comes to mind when you think about your studies at HMKW?

When I think of HMKW, the first thing that comes to mind is the red brick building. Then there's the small-town feeling you get when you see the same faces over and over again in the white-lit hallways of the university.

Why did you decide to study “M.A. Convergent Journalism”? And what made you choose HMKW Berlin?

I was looking for a combination of practice and theory in my master's degree. In my bachelor's degree in political science at Bielefeld University, it was mostly theory and methodology, a good foundation, but not the craft that would probably help me in my career path as a journalist. In addition, the program appealed to me because it is offered in English and combines the related practices of journalism: print, online, radio, and TV. I was not aware of HMKW as such before. After I was given a tour of the hallowed halls of my current university, the rather small building and the TV studio by student advisor Verena Nüßmann, I had the feeling: I see me spending the next two years here.

Did you get any work experiences prior to your master studies that you would like to share with us?

Before starting my master's degree at HMKW, I had already worked as a freelancer for the local radio station Radio Lippe in Detmold, as well as for the WDR Studio Bielefeld for the local news WDR 2 and for Campus TV University Bielefeld. I wanted to take all this experience with me to the capital. In January 2020, I started working at rbb's visitor service. In a seminar already during my master studies, I then got to know the cameraman Adil Bradlow, through whom I acquired many additional practical skills in broadcast journalism.

Which seminar/project did you like the most so far?

I like Business & Politics and the Talent Campus_Video project the most. Business & Politics is most likely due to my interest in world politics, which we can discuss every week anew with our most diverse opinions precisely because of our great diversity of countries in our course. That makes us as a group very special: We are all very different, but also a team. And the small courses at HMKW allow this particularly well.

What is it like to be part of the workshop Talent Campus_Video? What do you like most about it?

At Talent Campus, I can contribute my own ideas and creativity to a great extent. Here I have the opportunity to implement ideas independently with my fellow students. Through Talent Campus_Video, I have been able to make very special friends across all courses of study, through activities such as a shoot at 3 a.m. at the Foreigners' Registration Office in Charlottenburg, filming the sunrise from the Drachenberg over Berlin, or through a day trip to Grünheide to visit Tesla. I am very grateful for that! But also for the people who created this project in the winter semester 2019 and give us the opportunity to do all of this: Jost Listemann, Felix von Stutterheim, Sarah Kraft and Alexander Nofftz. Through the joint work and support as well as the mutual encouragement and challenges, I was able to learn and try out a lot.

 

What is it like to live in Berlin? Was it easy for you to settle in? Would you like to stay?

I never wanted to live in Berlin. My dream was always Hamburg, in the north, by the sea. Until I decided to move to Berlin for HMKW, I had only been to Berlin twice, once for a Bruce Springsteen concert in the Olympic Stadium and once after my student exchange in 2012. With my fellow students at HMKW, I quickly made great friends - exciting people from countries and cultures I hadn't met before. And now I get butterflies in my stomach when I come back to Berlin from East Westphalia-Lippe, my home region, because I know: Berlin is my home. So yes, I would like to stay here for now.

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

In my future, I definitely want to work full-time as a journalist. With my job, I want to contribute to freedom of speech, democracy and diversity, to give people a voice. We'll see how exactly I will implement that. But preferably in form of videos.

What’s your advice for students who decide to study at HMKW?

Bring your own initiative. And commitment. And enjoy communicating, enjoy trying out new things. The master's degree will give you a lot of new experiences. But if you want to go beyond that, to get even more fun out of journalism, you need your own personal initiative.

Which characteristics should students have who want to study „M.A. Convergent Journalism“?

Be open, curious, accept new opinions from other cultures, even if the opinion may not correspond to your own world view at first. Get out of your bubble, listen to people who don't belong to it. We have all grown up differently and have been shaped by different languages, customs, educational methods and media worlds. If there's one thing I've learned, it's how important it is to respect each other in every way. And that's what journalism is all about, not reporting on one's own or familiar opinion, but giving every person a voice.

Thank you very much for the interview. We wish you all the best for your studies and your work at the Talent Campus_Video.