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  • Telling true stories is what journalism is all about. If that’s your ambition as well, then start reporting and writing. We look forward to reading your story. Here’s what you need to bear in mind as you prepare for the competition.

    If you have registered via our online application portal, you will receive four topics at the beginning of December. Choose one. You will then have about four weeks to research and write the story you want to submit. And, yes, it needs to be in German.

    Some of you have already worked for a newspaper, an online site or a radio station. Others have only written academic essays for school or university thus far. If you are a newcomer to journalism, you will need to prime yourself on storytelling before you start reporting. But don’t get discouraged: Experience shows that “total beginners” do make it to the next examination round and then also to DJS if they do a bit of research and have a knack for storytelling.

    In journalism, research means more than going online. Reporters physically visit places on behalf of their readers. They talk to average people and note down what they see, hear and experience.

    Back at their desks, reporters sort the information and impressions they’ve gathered. Which details characterize a person or place? Which assertions must be supported by facts? Which comparisons or metaphors can help readers to better understand what is happening?

    Reporters describe an event from their point of view, but they rarely appear in their own stories. The word “I” is not usually found in a journalistic story, nor does it feature the private opinion of the author. In the German language, reportage is set in the present tense. It often begins with a scene and has more than one climax. Save an interesting tidbit for the kicker!

    Your manuscript will be reviewed by three judges, all of whom are experienced practitioners and remember well how hard it was to get started in journalism. They don’t expect you to be a pro at this point. Rather, they probe for curiosity; an original approach to the topic; a deft use of language; a pleasure in telling stories — and for diligence and care in gathering information.