International Students Testimonies

Freelance editor at Reuters: Lukas Kuite on his entry into journalism

Lukas Kuite acquired a Bachelor of Arts in Journalism and Corporate Communications at HMKW Berlin and Cologne. After gaining initial work experience at local and regional newspapers as well as the radio station SWR4, he has now joined the well-known news agency Reuters as a freelance journalist. In this interview he talks about his greatest professional challenges, his plans for the future and gives students practical advice for their entry into journalism.

Lukas Kuite (25) is now working as a freelance journalist for the Reuters news agency.

Lukas Kuite (25) is now working as a freelance journalist for the Reuters news agency.

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

Practical work, lecturers from the industry and quick ways into professional life.

You acquired a Bachelor of Arts in Journalism and Corporate Communications at HMKW Berlin. What is your current job position?

As a freelance journalist at the Reuters news agency in Berlin.

Did you get any further work experiences prior to your current position that you would like to share with us?

Allgemeine Zeitung Namibia, Kölner Stadt-Anzeiger, Märkische Allgemeine Zeitung in Potsdam and Berliner Zeitung. Also I did an internship at SWR4-Radio in Stuttgart.

When did you figure out your preferred career path?

I wanted to be a journalist while I was still at school. The reasons for this were on the one hand my political interest, on the other hand good grades and fun in the subjects German and History.

Why did you decide to study “Journalism and Corporate Communications”? And what made you choose HMKW Berlin?

I only had an high school average of 2.6. The NCs on journalism, for example at the TU Dortmund University, were 1.3 or higher. I didn't want to study Communication Science because I wanted to work in a practical way. At a job fair in Düsseldorf, Mr. Ostler got me interested in studying at the HMKW. A student loan then made my decision easier. To this day I am glad to have studied at HMKW. Because otherwise nothing would have turned out the way it did.

Which contents of your studies are part of your current job? How do your studies help you in your work routine?

I work mainly in the editorial department. There I research, edit and record online videos for our clients. From time to time I also go along on appointments as an assistant / interviewer and sometimes I have to operate the second camera. We learned the operation, the eye for image details and the technical skills during our studies. Furthermore, it was good to be able to use journalistic forms of presentation. I was able to implement these immediately in my jobs at local and regional newspapers. Furthermore, I would most likely never have had my chance at Reuters if we hadn't gone on a field trip to the Berlin office in 2016 with the university. We were also taught to "network" and maintain contacts, which is very important in this industry.

 

What are your plans for the future?

I am studying a second Bachelor's degree (political science at the Free University of Berlin) on the side. I will probably finish it in 2021. After that I want to go abroad. Combining travelling and journalism is one of my main goals for my future professional life. In 2018 I made a documentary about rhino trade in Namibia with Stefan Ehrhardt (also a HMKW graduate) on my own initiative. I enjoyed it so much that it hardly felt like work. And that's how it should be, right? To earn money this way in the future, I imagine to be extremely cool. I started working in journalism when I was 20. What I've learned in those five years is that dreams can push you to the extreme. But I still won't be able to say what will be in five years. As long as you have a rough idea of what you want to do, the rest will come naturally anyway. But one thing is almost certain: I would like to acquire a master's degree in politics.

 

What do you like most about your current job position? What is your biggest challenge?

The claim at Reuters is to be 100 percent error-free. The motto that day one has given me is, "If in doubt, leave it out." If there is even a hint of doubt about a source/information/statement, delete it from your post/text! Flawless and transparent journalism: This is what I demand of myself and of the quality journalism of our time. Digitalization has also brought with it a lot of mistrust. The media depend on the information we provide them. And citizens depend on the information provided by the media. If our information is not "on point", the whole media system makes no sense to me. Then we live in a world of misinformation. To share this responsibility pushes you every day anew. To be able to work at Reuters as a 25-year-old fills me both with pride and humility. Pride and humility can also be a source of motivation.

How was the job hunt?

Very good.

What would you tell fellow students that study at HMKW?

Try it out! Get job experience through internships as early as possible. With every additional line in your CV, your chances of getting better positions in more prestigious media houses increase. There are few jobs in the media industry that pay well. To get there, you first have to make a real effort. It takes 1-2 years, but then it pays off financially with a good working student job. My formula is: internships - working student - get a permanent or freelance job.

Which characteristics should students have that want to study „B.A. Journalism and Corporate Communications“?

Ambition, a high standard of self-expression and humility. Arrogance will get you nowhere. Remember, you're nobody. Your status is something you have to earn.

Mr. Kuite, thank you very much for the exciting interview. We wish you much success and all the best for your future.

At Reuters, Lukas Kuite is mainly responsible for the sound design of videos. His tasks include researching, writing and voiceover of the text as well as video editing.