DW has been involved in media development since 1965. That year, a training center for radio broadcasting was founded in Cologne as a means of fostering media development in Africa, Asia and Central and South America.
The television equivalent, which had the same goal, was created as a result of a cooperation agreement in 1970 between then-existing broadcaster Radio Free Berlin (SFB) and the Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ). In 1996, the television training center became affiliated with DW.
From January 1, 2004, all of DW's training programs were concentrated under one roof in the newly founded DW Akademie, which is in charge of everything at DW connected to journalistic training. DW Akademie quickly placed its emphasis in new areas. In June it launched a traineeship program for young journalists from the DW broadcast regions. Nine trainees, from countries such as Afghanistan and Tanzania, China and India began learning the skills and tricks of the journalistic trade in Bonn and Berlin. The traineeship still provides a sure source of new talent for DW's 30 language departments.
DW Akademie also offers media training programs for clients from companies, organizations and institutions. During these training sessions, participants take part in simulated interviews in modern radio and television studios and learn how to cope with the media in a professional way.
Long-term cooperation with local partners
The projects' aims were also changing. While the Akademie's work had previously concentrated on training journalists, technical experts and media managers, its consultations began increasingly focusing on aspects such as the economic viability of the media, the development of up-to-date programs of study and traineeships for journalists and on providing disadvantaged segments of society with access to information. In Africa, Asia, Latin America, the Near and Middle East, as well as in Europe and Central Asia, DW Akademie counts on long-term cooperation with its local partners.
In 2004, DW Akademie supported public broadcaster Radio Television Afghanistan (RTA) in Kabul in establishing an international newsroom. A group of young journalists, most of them graduates of Kabul University, were trained by DW Akademie on location in the fields of journalistic and technical skills for television. Thanks to these efforts, RTA could independently produce and broadcast international television news for the first time in the summer of 2006. The entire leadership of RTA, including managers from regional stations, completed a management training program in Bonn.
„International Media Studies“
In 2009, DW Akademie launched the two-year bilingual master's program International Media Studies, in cooperation with the University of Bonn and the Bonn-Rhein-Sieg University of Applied Sciences. Almost 700 applications from all around the world poured in at DW, and in September 22 students from 13 countries began the program. They were from Ethiopia, Portugal, Brazil, Russia, China, Serbia, Ukraine, Georgia, Venezuela, Jordan, Vietnam and Kenya. Six Germans were also enrolled.
The graduate program links the disciplines of media and development, journalism, communications and media management in a unique way. This program is particularly tailored to young journalists and media managers from developing and transition countries.
E-Learning and Social Media
DW Akademie is also continually breaking new ground, for example by experimenting with combining e-learning and social media to create a successful method of teaching and learning. In November 2012, the Akademie launched its first open online course: the Online Media Summit. It combines online resources and social media and targets citizen journalists and bloggers from the Arab World. For six weeks, the participants exchange ideas online on the responsible use of sources on the Internet, on the new possibilities provided by database journalism and on the topic of Internet censorship. The lingua franca of the project is Arabic and there is also an English-language website. The Online Media Summit is open to participants from North Africa and the rest of the Arab world. It is free to take part in.
The leading organization for international media development
Today, DW Akademie is Germany's leading organization for international media development. It supports the development of free and transparent media systems by strengthening journalistic quality and media competency. It provides aid for the reconstruction of the media in post-conflict regions and contributes internationally to the training of media professionals.
The goal 0f media development is to strengthen the independent and free media, particularly in developing and transition countries as well as emerging economies. Experts from DW Akademie advise directors, train young journalists and professionalize media technicians. Courses usually take place on location with the partners; occasionally some training projects are also provided in Germany. Currently, DW Akademie provides training to around 5,000 media professionals from all continents every year.
The Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ) is the Akademie's most important partner and financial backer. The Akademie also carries out international projects in cooperation with the German Federal Foreign Office, the United Nations, the European Union and private and political foundations.
It isn't rare for DW Akademie course graduates to become decision makers in their home countries, and to remain opinion leaders on issues regarding Germany.