Fellows selected for RTDNF German/American exchange

May 31, 2017 11:00

RTDNF and the RIAS Berlin Commission have selected 14 producers, reporters, and editors from across the country to become Fellows in Europe in the middle of September during the height of the German election campaign. It will be the largest group of American broadcast journalists dispatched to Europe in many years as part of the longstanding RTDNF/RIAS partnership, a reflection of the high interest in the German election and program restructuring.
This is the 24th year of the partnership between the RTDNF and RIAS, which has sent more than 700 Fellows to Germany.
The fall 2017 German/American Journalist Exchange Program will run from September 17 – 30 and include stops in Brussels, Berlin, Potsdam, Wittenberg and Hamburg. Sponsored by the RIAS Berlin Commission, it will feature briefings with top-level German political and media players, meetings with international journalists and with officials at the European Union headquarters and NATO headquarters.
“It’s going to be an exciting time to be in Germany in the week before the election and in the week right after it,” said RIAS Berlin Commission executive director Erik Kirschbaum. “There’s a lot at stake for Germany and Europe, as well as the United States. Many of the fellows selected are planning to do reporting before, during and after the election during the fellowship – which is something we encourage and try to support as much as possible.”
The journalists selected for this program are:
  • Stephanie Carr, producer, 41 Action News, Kansas City, Missouri
  • Iris Carreras, associate producer, CBS News, New York
  • Viviana Hurtado, anchor/reporter, WTOL, Toledo, Ohio
  • Allegra Johnson, reporter/producer, Sheridan Broadcasting Networks, Pittsburgh
  • Elizabeth Johnson, senior digital editor, CNN, Atlanta
  • Lane Luckie, reporter/anchor,  KLTV, Tyler, Texas
  • Heather Maxwell, producer, VOA, Washington DC
  • Scott Saloway, headline writer, MSNBC, New York
  • Alex Stambaugh, content producer, CNN, Atlanta
  • Simon Thompson, reporter, KRWG, Las Cruces, New Mexico
  • Clare Toeniskoetter, reporter, Marketplace, New York
  • Benjamin Warwick, assignment editor, KCNC, Denver,
  • Stephanie Wolf, reporter/producer, Colorado Public Radio, Westminster, Colorado
  • Edgar Zuniga, producer, Telemundo News, New York
“There could not be a more important time for our Fellows to be traveling to and reporting from Germany and Europe,” said Mike Cavender, RTDNF Executive Director.  “The change in approach by President Trump toward our Allies in the EU has created an uncertainty around the world which requires American journalists to be more knowledgeable than ever.  The RIAS program provides them vital tools to aid in that understanding.” 

Since 1994, RTDNF has administered this media fellowship as part of its German/American Journalist Exchange Program with the RIAS. The next application deadline for the 2018 program in Europe is November 1, 2017. For information on the RTDNF Germany fellowship or the RIAS Awards program, visit rtdna.org or contact Mike Cavender at mikec@rtdna.org or Erik Kirschbaum at kirschbaum@riasberlin.org.
Also announced this week, Jon Ebinger, who has helped make the RIAS Berlin Commission program a success in both the United States and Germany, will be leaving his position as the point person for the RIAS Berlin Commission for the RTDNF, effective June 1. Ebinger, who was a RIAS fellow himself in 2002 and worked as a producer at ABC’s “Nightline” for many years, has been the face of RIAS in the United States since 2005 and helped hundreds of American broadcast journalists gain valuable experience and knowledge about both the political world and how the media in Germany and Europe work.
“Jon has been doing an outstanding job creating insightful programs that have been rich in variety for hundreds of German broadcast journalists for more than a decade,” said Kirschbaum. “He’s given the German reporters not only an invaluable glimpse of the political and media workings of the United States but also gone to great lengths to make sure those journalists parachuting into the United States for three weeks get a chance to get to know ordinary Americans with unforgettable visits to soup kitchens to meet homeless people and high schools to meet incurably optimistic American teenagers.”

For many German journalists on three-week fellowships to the United States, Ebinger has also designed memorable presentation-filled program weeks in major Americans cities. He has represented RIAS at annual Excellence in Journalism conventions across the United States, led panels for RIAS in German cities, and in 2015 was awarded the distinguished Col. Barney Oldfield Award for exceptional service to the RTDNF.
“Jon has been a very strong proponent of the RIAS Berlin program from the start,” said Cavender. “His diligence in insuring that our fellows have the best possible experience during their time in Germany and the United States has helped make the exchange one of the most popular and effective training programs we offer.”


RTDNF, a 501 (c) 3 educational foundation, was created to help RTDNA members embody and uphold the standards of ethical journalism and promote leadership in the newsroom. RTDNF offers the electronic news community professional development opportunities, an open forum for the discussion of ethics, assistance with the development of leadership skills, support of First Amendment issues and the exchange of ideas and perspectives from electronic journalists worldwide. The Foundation also provides scholarships and fellowships to aspiring and early-career electronic journalists.

About RIAS Berlin Kommission
The RIAS Berlin Kommission is a bi-national organization established in 1992 to promote understanding between the United States and Germany in the field of broadcasting.  Each exchange program is fully financed by the RIAS Berlin Kommission, a non-profit, non-governmental organization.