Jutta W. Thomasius at the Hessentag

On Tuesday (14th June) during the Hessentag in Oberursel there was surprise guest on the Frankfurter Neue Presse stage in the Deschauer Park: Jutta W. Thomasius.

I was not aware in advance who Frau Thomasius was, but had I known she was coming and looking in Wikipedia I would have found out about all of the high-ranking prizes she has won in her lifetime.

Jutta W. Thomasius talking to Ulrich Müller-Braun during the Hessentag in Oberursel

Jutta W. Thomasius talking to Ulrich Müller-Braun

Jutta W. Thomasius is a long-time journalist working for the newspaper group, but it was the fact that she had learnt her skills working for the “Deutsche Zeitung” – one of the first newspapers to be licensed by the American forces in 1946 – that caught my attention and caused me to listen to the rest of the interview.

Having joined the newspaper group in 1953 as a freelance journalist, she had a special interest in topics such as fashion and music, and for many years was responsible for reporting from Frankfurt airport.

As such, she came into contact with the rich and famous, and told us about her meetings with Prince Philip  (later the Duke of Edinburgh) and Cardinal Wojty?a of Kraków (later Pope John Paul II).  She also told us about meeting Shirley MacClaine in a PanAm lounge whilst she was travelling.

However she also commented on the fact that it used to be a lot easier to arrange interviews with the stars of the day.

Frau Thomasius talked about how, at the age of 76, she made the switch from using a typewriter to a computer, something she did not find easy at first but now uses to write television reviews the same day as something has been broadcast and then send off to be printed for the next morning’s edition of the paper.

And having arrived at the subject of the computer, many of the things she told the audience about conducting interviews could quite easily be taken as tips for bloggers!

For example:

  • If you are going to interview someone, then dress accordingly
  • It is important to stay down to earth and be aware of others in the vicinity of the interviewee, such as their receptionist or cleaner
  • Talk to people beforehand, and do not just let someone else arrange the interview.
  • Go to see people, rather than just writing e-mails

One good tip for budding journalists is to get involved in voluntary associations, because these often have a lot of newsworthy information and can be a good way to contact those higher up in companies and politics.

But maybe her most important piece of advice is that “you should not go into journalism to see the world, the World has to want to get to know you“.

She concluded by telling us who she would like to interview, if she ever gets the chance: Helmut Schmidt, who was Chancellor of Germany between 1974 and 1982.

Frau Thomasius is an inspiring lady, and listening to her was one of the most interesting parts of the entire Hessentag.

 

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About Graham

Graham Tappenden is a British ex-pat who first came to Germany as a placement student in 1993, returning in 1995 to live there permanently. He has been writing for AllThingsGerman.net since 2006. When not writing blog posts or freelancing for the Oberurseler Woche and other publications he works as a self-employed IT consultant solving computer problems and designing websites. In 2016 he gained German citizenship.

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