Saturday, 03 May 2014 00:00

From beggars to bus stations, cheese crackers to the mafia

Written by

 yjaThis month, a group of talented writers from across Europe converged on Berlin to attend a workshop celebrating our inaugural Young Journalist Award. The articles that had won each participant a place at the table spanned subjects as surprising and various as Europe itself: from beggars to bus stations, cheese crackers to the mafia.

And it was these intriguing articles formed the basis for the first half of our intense two-day workshop. On Friday evening, each participant in turn introduced the concept behind their submission and described the inspiration and research that lay behind it. In the workshop itself there was time for scarcely more than a teaser. But even these brief introductions engendered conversations that would long outlast that session: deep into the evening's award ceremony, snatches of debate over the articles' subjects could be overheard as participants tucked into homemade salads and wine.

The following day we welcomed into our midst Adam Reichardt, editor of the excellent New Eastern Europe magazine. His two-hour talk gave our young journalists valuable insights into the mentality and expectations of an editor – "a gatekeeper," as Adam put it, half author and half audience. Armed with Adam's wisdom, the workshop set about on a collaborative editing session, critiquing one another's articles and debating questions of style.

Finally, on Saturday evening, came the surprise package of our workshop weekend: without warning our intrepid reporters were sent out onto the streets of Berlin to hunt down a story on the subject of 'what makes a contemporary European'. It was a hectic few hours, but somehow every one of the participants returned with a quirky angle on the topic and the sapling of an excellent piece.

When our participants were asked what they would remember about the weekend, they mentioned many things, but one response kept on recurring: the chance to meet such an inspiring group of writers. E&M did all we could to make the workshop fun and fulfilling, but ultimately it was the journalists themselves who made the weekend such a memorable event. We couldn't agree more with Adam Reichardt's concluding remarks: knowing that such brilliant and passionate Europeans are out there, stretching themselves to connect with one another and with a world beyond their national boarders, is enough to inspire hope about the future of Europe.

Very many thanks to the generous Körber Foundation for making this workshop possible, and to the Hertie Foundation for providing the venue. All of the shortlisted articles will soon be available in a beautiful print edition of E&M, along with seven musings on 'the contemporary European'. Stay tuned!

Last modified on Tuesday, 08 July 2014 17:31

If the Editorial team had an actual office it would have to stretch from the corner of Britain to the edges of Spain, Sweden, Germany and beyond. (With frequent trips to America too) .  The term 'from the editorial office' then, is very much a figure of speech. 

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