Where to Watch the World Cup

If you couldn’t already tell, Jeremy Hart and I are just a tad excited about our upcoming trip to Leipzig. It’s unreal to think we’ll already be in Germany this time next month – our flight is actually in less than a month!

We’ve been preparing for the trip, specifically researching the sights and sounds of the city of music. While there are endless places to explore, I’m honestly still wondering where to watch the World Cup. Yes, I will be studying abroad during the World Cup. What else could a tourist ask for?! I hear the bar scene is out of control… so I had to investigate the hot spots.

Lost In Leipzig says Gottschedstrasse, named after Johann Christoph Gottsched, was the area to be when the city hosted the World Cup at Red Bull Arena in 2006. Gottschedstrasse, located in Zentrum-West, contains countless bars and restaurants. And, since Lost In Leipzig’s full post was written less than a year ago, I would assume it’s still worth hitting up. Check out a few places on the street:

Luise Cafe am Gottschedstrasse courtesty of Lost In Leipzig

An Nam Restaurant am Gottschedstrasse courtesy Lost In Leipzig

More outside seating in the “theatre district” around Gottschedstrasse courtesy of Lost In Leipzig

ESPN and Spiegel offered additional suggestions for game-watching – and other fun places to see while in Leipzig. Apparently I’ll have to look into Auerbach’s Keller in Madlerpassage off Grimmaische Strasse for traditional, historical restaurant experience, while still find time to adventure through Augustusplatz.

Oh, you want to  find out actual information about the World Cup? Here, BBC Sport‘s got you covered. Viel Glück und viel Spass!


Get the Leipzig Look

I’ve mentioned in previous blogs about studying abroad this summer in Leipzig, Germany. The preparation involved in leaving home is just as extensive as I’d imagined, and unfortunately, my wardrobe will always remain at the top of my packing concerns.

Here I am last year, decked out in America gear. Talk about looking like a tourist! Hey, it happens.

Here I am last year, decked out in America gear. Talk about looking like a tourist! Hey, it happens.

While I can’t wait to explore outside the United States, I’ve been warned about being an American sticking out like a sore thumb.

I don’t want to lose my identity when I travel overseas, but as suggested, it wouldn’t be a bad idea to attempt blending in with the Germans. And for a college girl traveling – I can’t lie – the luggage I bring is vital.

Professors and others with international experience advised against wearing bright colors, white tennis shoes or very showy clothing. I trust their judgment, but I  thought I’d investigate further myself.

Various packing list websites proved to be quite useful, but I needed more visuals.

LOOKBOOK is an online platform for everyday fashionistas to share, inspire and discover new shoppable styles and photography. While I’m not sure if I’ll ever contribute to the site, it provided me with the best look at the German glam!

To view LOOKBOOK’s full #berlin collection or promote some of its looks, click here.

Anchors Abroad: An Interview with Brent Goff

From his beginnings at the University of Missouri School of Journalism, Brent Goff has made his mark across national and international news platforms.

DW's AGENDA with Brent Goff

DW’s AGENDA with Brent Goff

Goff’s broad news presence ranges from CNN in Berlin and Washington, Time Magazine in Germany and German radio stations to news outlets in the U.S., NewsChannel11 in North Carolina and mid-Missouri’s own KOMU-TV.

Now, he is considered one of the best known faces at Deutsche Welle, Germany’s international broadcaster.

With a passion for politics and foreign affairs, Goff hosts his own DW talk show, “AGENDA,” and he is also DW’s main anchor or presenter.

He shed some light on his transition from the U.S. to Germany, along with varying positions he’s held in the journalism field.

Rachel Wittel: Your career seemed to take off quickly after working at KOMU and NewsChannel11 in North Carolina. What drove you to make the move over seas?

Brent Goff: I had always been interested in reporting overseas. While working on my MA at Georgetown University in WashingtonDC, I worked part-time for CNN International. Frank Sesno was the bureau chief at the time and he encouraged me to go abroad. I worked as a producer for CNN in Berlin after I finished my MA at Georgetown. And once I was in Berlin, I knew that international news was the place to be!


DW’s “Talking Germany” presenter Peter Craven interviewing Goff

I’ve heard it tends to be easier starting out as a reporter in order to remain a reporter and possibly move up to an anchor position. That’s not at all the case in your path. How did you decide to make the switch back to reporting after producing and also working in print and radio? Then taking on anchoring roles?

There are no rules in this business when it comes to charting a path. My path may appear to be unusual, but once you talk to other journalists who have worked abroad as reporters, anchors, in print and radio, you quickly realize that they all have unique stories about how they ended up where they are.

You earned a Bachelor’s in German, Journalism and Political Science [at MU] – wow! What role has German played in your life and career choices? Similarly, what intrigued you most about German to continue studying and working in that business?

I had learned Latin in high school and I wanted to try something different when I arrived at Mizzou. German was my first choice because I had always been interested in Germany’s rich history with its glorious high and tragic lows. I was a Fulbright Scholar in Hamburg in 1995-96. I assisted in lecturing journalism courses at the university in Hamburg–in German! But my language abilities served me most once I arrived in Berlin. Speaking the language opens up so many doors…and one of those doors was at Germany’s international broadcaster, Deutsche Welle.

What should reporters in the U.S. investigate or focus on in Germany? What important factors tend to be missed in newscasts?

Journalists in the US who report on Germany should not rely on cognitive crutches. Too often we use what we know to explain what we don’t know. That translates into an abundance of stories about Oktoberfest, German beer, Nazis and the Holocaust. Germany is Europe’s most powerful country. It is a global exporter, second only to China. And its geopolitical influence around the world is enormous. Obama calls Merkel everyday to find out what Putin is doing! All of that needs to be reported….in addition to Bavarian beer lovers!

AGENDA's Goff giving commentary on DW's Insider blog

AGENDA’s Goff giving commentary on DW’s Insider blog

Please correct me if I’m wrong, but it seems like you’re working your dream job now! From what I can tell, your talk show – “AGENDA” – allows you to anchor while reporting on political issues not only in Europe, but across the globe. How did you get to this point? Is this what you’ve always wanted to do? What’s your next move?

I love hosting my own talk show! AGENDA started in 2012 as an experiment. We wanted to combine the elements of a hard talk one-on-one interview with the breadth of a news magazine. The result was 3 guests talking about 3 headlines of the week. The show has just been nominated for an international Emmy in current affairs. There are other projects in the pipeline. Perhaps that is the part of this profession that can be a “dream.” News and consumers of news are changing constantly. We have to keep up with that change. That means never a dull moment—for me, a dream come true everyday!

For more biographical information about Brent Goff, click here.

To see related blogs I’ve written featuring Goff’s work, click here.

Paczkis: Food For The Soul

Paczkis: Food For The Soul

I realize Paczki Day 2014 has passed, but who can completely block the sweet, sugary treat from their mind? I know I can’t, and I won’t try to either.

Paczki Day 2014 in Chicago, courtesy of Chicago Now

Paczki Day 2014 in Chicago, courtesy of Chicago Now – Show Me Chicago

I’m a Chicago-born girl who grew up in a very Polish family – I’m sure you can already tell where this is going. We celebrate Fat Tuesday like the Fourth of July or Christmas, and when it comes to my family, those events can get rowdy. If you don’t go to your local bakery or grocery store to buy paczkis, I would advise you to stay as far away from my family as you can that holiday.

Now, I assume not all of you are familiar with paczkis. What are they? How is that word even pronounced? Paczki is pronounced like “poonch-kee,” and they are essentially made up entirely of dough, sugar and fat. In fact, the word literally translates to “little doughnut” or “little package.” Great, right? Almost every news outlet puts out a story like this whenever Paczki Day rolls around, talking about recipes, how many calories are in the sweet treats and, of course, where to buy them.

Paczki Day 2013 in Chicago, courtesy of Huff Post and the AP

All for one and one for all on Paczki Day 2013 in Chicago, courtesy of Huff Post and the AP.

The article I linked to above is from International Business Times, and the author provides some history and recipes if you’re interested. Like this news article and others, blogs are posting similar stories. For example, a Chicago Now blogger shared where to find the perfect paczkis in Chicago during this year’s event. Even Polish bloggers flourish in sharing recipes. I don’t speak or read Polish – except “zimne piwo,” of course – but please, go for it if you can!

Although both writers’ information is relevant and will make you drool by the time you get through their articles, much of the history is missing.

Karnawal in Poland, courtesty of polandsite.proboards.com

Karnawal in Poland, courtesty of polandsite.proboards.com

Fat Tuesday fell on March 4, 2014, and as usual, Ash Wednesday followed the event. Paczki Day goes hand-in-hand with Lenten tradition, which I believe many people fail to realize. Fat Tuesday, Paczki Day or Mardi Gras all serve as the last day to indulge before Lent officially begins.

All the way back to the 16th century, people were forbidden to eat foods like fruit preserves, butter and eggs during this religious season, so cooks used the last week of Karnawal as a last gluttonous hurrah to get rid of all of these ingredients. Genius!

Karnawal begins on Fat Thursday, or Tłusty Czwartek, and then ends on Fat Tuesday, Sledziówka or Ostatki. And honestly, by the time this week of partying and eating is over, you will want to start fasting for Lent. Then, as mentioned, Roman-Catholics roll into church with jelly-filled bellies, receive the sign of the cross in ashes on their foreheads, and make a promise to God and themselves to better themselves during this time of Lent.

I really do love these traditions and how they’re all grouped within a week of each other. These beliefs and traditions bring cultures and people of faith together across the world, and that’s something quite special. It teaches through faith that you are allowed to have a little fun, but then still have to pay your dues to yourself, God and the church.

Is Less Face Time More Effective For News?

Newscasts in the United States rely heavily on made-up men and women with deep, enticing voices to present the best, most current news to viewers across the world.

NBC's Brian Williams

NBC’s Brian Williams

NBC Nightly News‘ Brian Williams is the face, voice and main icon for the network, representing one of the most reliable sources broadcasted on television. Audiences trust him, interpreting news through expressions and tone.

However, this does not seem to be the case when it comes to news-watching on Deutsche Welle (DW), a global media forum featuring multiple languages like German – if you couldn’t already tell by its name. Watching DW’s live stream was visually stimulating, but not in the way Americans are used to.

DW's Brent Goff

DW’s Brent Goff

I watched “Germany Today” followed by “The Journal,” along with newscasts by DW’s main presenter Brent Goff. Notice I said “presented” rather than “anchored.” Normally, when you watch a U.S. newscast, an anchor like Brian Williams welcomes you and leads viewers through the show. The segment “Germany Today” merely started with the male presenter saying, “Here’s what’s happening today,” and the newscast was off.

Interestingly enough, I spoke with Goff through Facebook, and he agreed with he differences in U.S. and European news anchors, especially since he’s an MU grad as well. DW’s newscasts are extremely informational, but again, less personable.

A “package” is what broadcast journalists refer to as a story with video, interviews and the reporters voice speaking over it all. DW’s newscasts generally consisted of package after package, along with other national stories presented as voice overs layered on video. Click here for an example of one of my own, published for KOMU-TV in Columbia, Mo.

Those packages and stories were broken up only by music sounds and transitions. We don’t see the presenter’s face at all, whereas Willams gets face time every 30 seconds to two minutes, depending on the story.

Now, DW produces newscasts more similar to what we’re used to in the states as well, but the fact that other faceless shows also exist is intriguing. Below is a DW newscast that uses more anchoring like a Nightly News segment, showing Goff’s Missouri roots.

While the anchors lead the show more in this example, I still don’t find them as conversational as I’ve been taught (trying) to be. Feel free to check out one of my newscasts below. I’ve been working on facial expressions and tone to improve my delivery of the news.

If you’re not sad during a sad story or express any inappropriate expressions while anchoring, audiences lose faith and respect in you, just like that. However, if you master these methods, the rapport you establish with your viewing area can benefit you and skyrocket your show up the ratings.

I’m wondering what is more appealing to viewers because many people do relate to local and national anchors, feeling like they’ve grown up with them or known them for an extended period of time. Without that face time, you lose the personal element of the news, even if it may be distracting during a flub, at the very least.

DW presents the facts just like U.S. networks do, but I wonder what actually suits audiences better and provides the best platform for news consumption. There are so many positive reviews of DW online that I had trouble finding any other opinions out there about its coverage.

Bach to the Basics

I plan to engulf myself into a completely foreign land and culture this summer. Even though I’ve studied German since junior high school, I never had the chance to make it across seas. Now, the time has come. Leipzig, the city of music, is my summer destination.


Photo courtesy of Oliver Hartung for the New York Times

Because Leipzig is known to be such a vibrant city, I wanted to familiarize myself with some of its musical sites and sounds, or at least some upcoming concerts. A New York Times article, while a bit dated, shows Leipzig as a huge art hub, and I don’t see this scene dwindling in popularity anytime soon. Songkick showed more than 400 shows coming to Leipzig, and naturally, I YouTubed as many as I could. Just as expected, I found a range of bands varying from folksy, fun tunes to electronic ragers.

Obviously every band wasn’t German-speaking, but my curiously leaned more toward those that were. Next year will be the 330th anniversary of Johann Sebastian Bach’s birth, so hopefully I’m traveling into a musical whirlwind – or these days some electronica rather than graceful compositions. However, there’s more than just electronic music, don’t worry.

Whether you fancy classical music or modern alternative music, it can all be found right in Leipzig. The Bach Museum plays instrumentals and hymns of Bach’s work, while the Werk II moves away from that style and into hosting popular multicultural events. To find more music like the links I posted, I think the UT Connewitz and Conne Island seem most appealing. The UT Connewitz shows modern, alternative films and Conne Island features hip-hop, ska, and again, more alternative.

Bach’s birth isn’t the only reason for Leipzig to celebrate at these venues either, keeping the music industry going strong. In June of this year, it will also be his son Carl Philipp Emanuel Bach’s 300th birth anniversary. In honor of this event, along with  anniversaries for Felix Mendelssohn and Richard Strauss, a series of events and exhibitions will open, adding to already-standing museums and complimenting other festivals like Bachfest Leipzig.

For the full report, click here.