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Christoph Lanz and two decades of media history

Deutsche Welle television celebrates twenty years on air  

Deutsche Welle television is marking its twentieth anniversary. So, we decided to celebrate by inviting a special guest to Talking Germany – somebody who’s been part of the team since the very beginning: Christoph Lanz, currently DW’s Managing Director Multimedia Global. I should add that it’s quite an occasion for me, too, as I’ve also been on board throughout the whole exciting journey.

DW television’s first twenty years have included many emotionally challenging ‘stories’ – as we news people like to call them. Stories that ask questions of your very humanity: 9/11, the Asian tsunami, Fukushima, to mention just three. There have, of course, also been joyous moments – not least two other twentieth anniversaries: twenty years of German Reunification and twenty years after the fall of the Berlin Wall. Both events that Christoph Lanz was personally involved in – and very personally moved by. 

There have also been massive changes when it comes to the technology. When I started working in the DW newsroom, for instance, the World Wide Web and the Internet simply didn’t exist as tools of broadcasting. The digital age hadn’t quite come to TV – so we still carried tapes around the building. And nobody had heard of the social media that would later have such huge impact, not least during the Arab Spring. These changes have been closely followed by Christoph Lanz, who has a very keen eye for technological developments. It all makes you wonder what the next twenty years will bring. For now, the good news for DW’s television service is that we’ve recently substantially expanded our programming. We now offer highly competitive services in four languages: German, English, Spanish and Arabic. But despite all the changes, Christoph Lanz is eager to point out that DW’s role has remained much the same as in our early days: portraying and coming to terms with Germany’s terrible history and portraying Germany as the dynamic, liberal, democratic society that it has become.


April 1, 2012