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IfMK students discuss digital diplomacy at the Federal Foreign Office in Berlin

As part of the research seminar "Diplomatic Communication in the Digital Age", students of the Master's programme "Media and Communication Science" at the TU Ilmenau visited the Federal Foreign Office and Deutsche Welle in Berlin on 16 and 17 May 2019.

IfMK-students with Prof. Löffelholz (fifth from right) and Xu Yi (left) at the Federal Foreign Office in Berlin on 16 May 2019

Andreas Kindl, Director for Strategic Communication of the Federal Foreign Office (left), with the TU Ilmenau group

Steffen Engelmann (left), Angela Nea (ninth from left) and Dr. Christian F. Trippe (right) from Deutsche Welle TV with IfMK-students and lecturers

20 MA students from 14 countries presented the research project on the use of social media in diplomacy led by Prof. Löffelholz and his doctoral student Xu Yi at the Federal Foreign Office. The large-scale empirical study analyses how German embassies use social media. Representatives of the Federal Foreign Office gave a variety of suggestions on how the research project can be designed in an application-oriented and practical manner.

Andreas Kindl, Director for Strategic Communication at the Federal Foreign Office, and Michael Hasper, Head of the Department “Germany’s Image Abroad”, discussed with the students strategic communication and communication campaigns in diplomacy, the image of Germany abroad, how disinformation can be handled and to which extent German foreign policy should also be communicated at home.

On the second day of the excursion, the students, many of whom had previously worked in journalism, were given exclusive insights into the organizational structure, goals and target groups of Deutsche Welle TV. Steffen Engelmann from DW Corporate Communications and Dr. Christian Trippe, former head of the DW offices in Moscow, Brussels and Berlin, spoke with the students about the editorial autonomy of DW and how state censorship abroad can be avoided.

Angela Kea, project manager at Deutsche Welle's InnovationLab and a graduate of the Institute for Media and Communication Science at Technische Universität Ilmenau, also explained the opportunities that 360-degree videos, interactive programs and augmented reality present for journalism.