22 young journalists from Latin America and Germany are gearing up for the 2014 World Cup soccer championship in Brazil. The "Once Amigos" project will have them reporting on stories involving this major sporting event.
You might think they're like two international soccer teams: 11 journalists from Germany and 11 from Latin America. But the 22 journalists will in fact be working in mixed pairs during the two-year DW Akademie project "Once Amigos" ("Eleven Friends"). They'll be getting to know Germany, Brazil, one other Latin American country and, of course, each other.
The first of the project's five modules was launched in Bonn in early December. After an introductory week with several excursions they practiced hands-on multimedia skills. They've since created a blog "Once Amigos" with the slogan, "Discovering the stories behind the ball - Brazil 2014". One of their first reports looks at the female "ultra fans" and was researched by Franziska Ritter from Berlin and José Gallo from Montevideo.
Researching in Germany and Latin America
More than 200 Latin American journalists and numerous German journalists applied for this program financed by Germany's Federal Foreign Office. Prerequisites included advanced Spanish skills, initial journalistic experience and a high interest in working in an intercultural context. "We made a point of not picking sports journalists because we wanted participants to be telling the stories in and around the sport itself," says project manager David Olmos. It goes without saying, though, that all 22 participants are extremely interested in soccer.
The participants will meet up again in June in Brazil. Then at the end of 2013 each team will be researching in the home country of the Latin American teammate. They'll be showing how soccer and the upcoming World Cup are being perceived and to what extent they're having an impact on the country's culture and society. During the World Cup itself, the teams will be reporting from various locations throughout Brazil.
Olmos says this exchange will create new networks and contacts. "I'm hoping the participants will learn as much as they can from each other, that they'll try out new formats and topics, and that at the end of the project they'll realize how many different ways there are for producing good journalistic work."