"What holds you back" - that question is the starting point for Life Links. Young people around the world represent both the target audience and protagonists for DW's new documentary-style format.
Life Links' viewers help develop the program from episode to episode with an emphasis on multimedia presentation throughout the project. The search for topics, research, production and broadcast at Life Links are all interactive processes that come together at www.dw.de/lifelinks. Users can tell their own stories and vote for issues they'd like to see covered in the show.
DW reporters call upon followers on Twitter and Facebook to help them with research, and they take up users' questions. Via mobile reporting, users are involved on site during filming. Using social media and the Life Links website, reporters present articles, images, audio and video of their encounters with those featured in the show.
"Life Links is an attractive element within the further development of our programming. We have put together a young, bilingual team that is coming up with concepts for new offerings tailored to a young audience. Life Links is the first format to evolve out of that innovation process," says Director of Programming Gerda Meuer.
Three people - three stories. One unifying element
In each edition, Life Links draws together three fates that seem, at first glance, to be completely independent of one another. Online and on TV, users and viewers can experience how young people scattered around the globe deal with similar problems. Although their social surroundings and other aspects of their lives may differ widely, the protagonists in the show have a personal challenge in common.
What connects a North Korean living in South Korea with a Roma in Paris and a German rapper with Egyptian parents? What is stopping them from being who they are, and how do they still take control of their lives? The users and producers behind the first edition of Life Links are looking for answers to these questions.
Ultimately, the three stories come together in the TV report to form a global narrative. When the show is broadcast, a social stream on the Life Links website will bundle user's comments under the show's hash tag; and using the mobile version of the website, users can comment on it on a second screen. The documentary is expanded online with multimedia elements - such as material not broadcast in the show or additional information and facts.
The website www.dw.de/lifelinksgoes live starting Tuesday, October 14. DW will broadcast the 30-minute, English-language TV show for the first time on Saturday, October 18. After that, it will be broadcast around the world every two weeks. Life Links is supported by Germany's Federal Foreign Office.