Summer 2018 RIAS Fellows named

June 4, 2018 01:30

RTDNF and the RIAS Berlin Commission have selected 14 producers, reporters, editors and academics from across the country to become Fellows in Europe in two two-week long exchange programs in June to study the political and media landscape in Germany and Europe. They will also become part of a growing network of nearly 1,600 RIAS Berlin Commission alumni from media outlets in the United States and Germany to be part of the longstanding RTDNF/RIAS partnership.
This is the 25th year of the partnership between the RTDNF and RIAS, which has sent nearly 800 Fellows to Germany over the last quarter century. The spring 2018 German/American Journalist Exchange Program will include stops in Brussels, Berlin, Prague and Dresden. 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 as well as meet journalists and editors at Radio Free Europe headquarters in Prague. They will also meet with RIAS alumni from Germany at get-togethers in Berlin and Brussels.
“The RIAS Berlin Commission exchange program is a great chance for U.S.-based broadcast journalists to get a glimpse of how their counterparts in places like Berlin, Cologne, Brussels and Prague work,” said RIAS Berlin Commission executive director Erik Kirschbaum. “Exchange programs like this are arguably more important now than ever before. There are no strings attached. The only aim is that the trip will help expand horizons.”  RTDNF/RIAS’s U.S. coordinator KC Schillhahn will also accompany this year’s spring exchange program group.
Thanks to savings and donations, the programs have been expanding again in recent years. Some of the U.S. fellows this year will be taking part in a voluntary third “station week” to visit German journalists at their networks, watching how they put together and broadcast their stories. Many participants in Germany and the United States later report how the program “changed their lives” and many are now becoming actively involved in local alumni chapters that have been set up in the last year in: Cologne, Berlin, Hamburg, Frankfurt-Mainz, Washington DC and New York City.

The journalists selected for the June program are:
  • Karin Caifa, reporter, CNN Newssource, Washington DC
  • Adam Reiss, reporter, NBC News, New York, New York
  • Stacey Samuel, supervising editor, NPR, Washington DC
  • Lisa Weiner, managing editor, WTOP News Radio, Washington DC
  • Tiffany Zeno, news producer, WNBC/NBC, New York, New York
  • Bob Dickey, news director OUTV University of Oklahoma, Norman, Oklahoma
  • Andres Gonzalez, news writer CNN International, Atlanta, Georgia
  • Colby Hochmuth, producer, ABC7, Arlington, Virginia
  • Faith Jesse, reporter, KSNV-NBC, Las Vegas, Nevada
  • Steve Kaufmann, chief photographer, KTVZ-TV, Bend, Oregon
  • Scott Libin, RTDNA Chairman, University of Minnesota, Minneapolis, Minnesota
  • David Marks, interactive producer, KQED, San Francisco, California
  • Maylan Studart, multimedia journalist, Modern Wall Street, New York, New York
  • Joe Sampson, senior professor, Miami University, Oxford, Ohio
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 2019 program in Europe is November 1, 2018.Learn more about the RTDNF Germany fellowship and the RIAS Awards program here, or contact Mike Cavender at or Erik Kirschbaum at
About RTDNF 
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 broadcast and digital 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. RIAS was the acronym for Radio in American Sector (RIAS), which beamed news, information and music into East Germany during the Cold War first via radio and then from 1988 as a TV network before it was shut down after the Cold War ended.


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