magazine for culture, politics and life from a transatlantic perspective

A Break

Dear Readers,

After an exciting couple of years, tapmag has decided it’s time for a break. In the past years of reporting, live-blogging, and commenting on transatlantic relations, we have become part of a network of fellow transatlantic minds, and we hope we’ve helped bridge the gap for some of you and maybe even inspired some of you to cross the pond.

We have been privileged to have meet and work with great transatlantisists and  journalists. A special thanks to all of the guests and participants at our “Reporting America” seminar at the Free University Berlin (read more about it here)!

We will be using our time off to work on various projects ranging from Bachelor’s theses to getting to know Zurich or Chicago. We will check in from time to time and let you know where tapmag is headed.

In the meantime, you can follow us on Twitter or stay in touch with the individual editors through their social media presence:

Kolja is currently studying in Zurich, Switzerland. He’s finding out university can actually teach you things, and that the Swiss are a very nice and helpful people. All the while, he’s analyzing media trends and developments in journalism on his blog, All Things Considered.

Jessica has moved to Chicago to study at the Medill School of Journalism. She is roaming the Windy City for stories and moving steadily into multimedia reporting. You can read about her experience being Curious in Chicago on her blog of the same name.

Semir is working hard on his thesis at Free University Berlin and will soon be a proud Bachelor.

Dirk and Peter are moving in the same direction as Semir. They look forward to taking that to the next level at the John-F.-Kennedy Institute’s graduate school, and will thus stay true to North American Studies.

Thanks to our great readers, fellow bloggers and students for sharing this experience with us, for your inspiration and contributions. Please keep in touch!

We are always open for new ideas. If you want to get involved with the tapmag team, please contact one of the team members in Berlin.

Keep your eyes and ears open – we’ll be back!

The Obama Check Vol. 5 – Angela Merkel

With only ten more days until the grand election, it’s time for our equally grand finale of the Obama Check. Chancellor Angela Merkel of the Christian Democrats (CDU) will have the honor of being the final checkee.  As a fellow head of government, Merkel deals with Barack Obama on a regular basis. Did those interactions leave a mark on the German Chancellor? Find out after the break and see the final score of our series.

Angela Merkel. Photo by א (Aleph), released under CC-BY-SA-2.5

[Read more]

America Reloaded: Did Obama Bring Change?

via Flickr”]the 44th President of the United States...Bara...

It’s almost a year since President Obama was elected in the U.S. Enough time, to evaluate his Presidency. Did Obama deliver the change he promised? How has the new administration realigned U.S. policy on a domestic and an international level? How is the transatlantic partnership affected by the change in the White House?

These and other questions will be adressed in a series of panel discussions organized by the Amerika Haus Berlin during the coming months. “America Reloaded” will take place at Berlin’s Hebbel Am Ufer Theater.

The first installment on September 21st tackles the changes already in place. Invited are sociologist Jean Ziegler, UN official Beate Wagner, Press Secretary of the UN World Food Program Ralf Südhoff and Ugandan globalization activist Yash Tandon. The group will debate signs for a new role of the U.S. in foreign aid, and whether there are new opportunities Barack Obama can seize.

All the panels seem to be held in German. Here is the full schedule:

  • 21/ 09/ 2009 – Auf Augenhöhe? US-Entwicklungspolitik unter Barack Obama
  • 11/ 10/ 2009 – Politik im Web 2.0: Die Methode Obama
  • 16/ 11/ 2009 – Walls between People – Mauern zwischen Menschen
  • 01/ 2010 – Zum ersten Mal ein Afro-Amerikaner als US-Präsident
  • 02/ 2010 – A Green New Deal? Vision für eine Neuausrichtung der Wirtschaft
  • 03/ 2010 – Kampf dem Klimawandel! Die USA zurück im Konzert der Verantwortlichen?

The Obama Check Vol. 4 – Frank-Walter Steinmeier

Welcome to the penultimate edition of the Obama Check! It’s only one more installment until the grand finale. Today we’ll be testing Vice-Chancellor and Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier, the Chancellor candidate of the SPD. Steinmeier has a clear advantage over our previous checkees – he has actually met and touched his Obamaness, and there are pictures to prove it. So did Steinmeier catch some of that Obama glamour? Let’s find out.

Frank-Walter Steinmeier. Picture by Armin Kübelbeck, released under CC-BY-SA-3.0

[Read more]

CNN in the Age of Twitter

“It’s futile for us to even try and compete with the Internet as far as speed is concerned,” says Frederik Pleitgen, correspondent for CNN in Germany. Last week, we welcomed him as our final guest to our seminar “Reporting America,” a student-run seminar we organized at the Free University.

Pleitgen reviewed articles submitted by seminar participants to iReport. He also took the time to talk about his experience as a CNN reporter on assignment in Germany, Burma, Iraq and elsewhere.

We gladly took the chance to ask him some questions about the future of 24h news channels in the digital age. Here’s the interview.

From the Archives

CBS has started to put up old video clips from their archives on its website. Here is one feature called “See It Now” that takes Edward R. Murrow and his viewers to Berlin – a city marked by the Cold War, the Airlift, and bombed-out buildings. The images might be grain and dusty, but they paint a vivid picture of life in occupied West-Berlin.

Watch CBS Videos Online

“Pure Genes”

This is what went down on Fox News this morning, according to Salon.com:

[Co-Host] Kilmeade and two colleagues were discussing a study that, based on research done in Finland and Sweden, showed people who stay married are less likely to suffer from Alzheimer’s.

And this is what Kilmeade (the brown-haired guy) managed to say about that study:

I am getting a strange Déjà-vu to 1933, when another dark-haired guy was talking about the need to have a “pure society”.

Also, I don’t even understand how he can get from A to B on this one. According to Salon, the study refers to people who stay married, not implying any racial or ethnic conclusions at all.

But luckily, Kilmeade is so stupid pure he can’t even coherently insult people – what the hell does “marrying other species” mean? Does he have an ape girlfriend at home? Maybe they can do a sequel on that for tomorrow morning.

Who will we make fun of now?

It’s a sad day for political commentators around the world. In this “slow-news” day right before the Independence Day holiday, Governor Sarah Palin has announced she will step down before her term expires in 2010, turning over the governor’s duty to lieutenant governor Sean Pernell. Watch her remarks here:

Now, this is sad news! Since George Bush has been gone, and Dick Cheney along with him, there has been a lack of politicians to make fun of.

Yes, Gov. Mark Sanford of South Carolina dutifully filled that gap with the announcement that he’d cheated on his wife with an Argentinian woman. That kept pundits and Jon Stewart going for a good few days – but for the long term, that’s not enough! And now, with the loss of Sarah Palin, who will be left to joke about? I am considering re-joining the Facebook group “I have more foreign policy experience than Sarah Palin,” just for old times’ sake.

But friends, don’t fret: There are rumors Palin might seek the Republican nomination for President in 2012. Hurray and a happy Fourth of July, everyone!

Happy Canada Day!

The Obama Check Vol. 3 – Renate Künast

Good Day and welcome to the third installment of our five-part series the Obama Check. Today it’s Renate Künast’s of the Green Party turn. She, as the previous checkees Guido Westerwelle and Oskar Lafontaine, will be tested in five categories, the rating criterias of which you can read here.

Picture by Ingrid Strauch, released under CC-BY-SA-2.5

[Read more]


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