News in Detail

10th Anniversary "Green Journalism “

The Green Journalism Platform celebrates its 10th anniversary this year.

On the occasion of the anniversary, Director Prof. Dr. Torsten Schäfer answers some questions.

In 2013, the project was founded by Prof. Dr Peter Seeger. He was a pioneer in addressing sustainability in teaching at Darmstadt University of Applied Sciences at an early stage. "Grü" is a portal for journalism and sustainability. There are three focal points: The platform serves as a forum for young journalists who publish their environmental and climate journalism articles here - from the h_da's Online Journalism programme, but also from other universities. In addition to guest contributions and interviews with journalists, researchers and lecturers, research aids and addresses are another focus of GJ.

The head of the project Prof. Dr. Torsten Schäfer now answers some questions:

What worked well in the past years? What would you like to continue working on in the future?

Networking with teaching works particularly well. The platform serves primarily as a training platform. Currently, GJ is mainly used by h_da students of the BA Online Journalism and the Master's programme Media, Technology and Society, but also by students of the nationwide cooperation partners. All this was made possible by the "Forum for Responsibility" foundation. Since 2013, it has repeatedly supported individual projects of ours financially. In the meantime, the platform can work and exist independently of funding thanks to the link with teaching.
We would like to continue working on the look and technology of the website and the social media presence. More resources are needed for this and funds will be applied for this year.


How many articles have already been published during the 10 years?

In the meantime, we have published over 600 articles on GJ, including blogs and professional articles.


Were there any discernible trends?

Yes, the dimension of climate change has become much more important in recent years. Likewise, the extinction of species has often been addressed, but still far too little - at GJ we consider both equally important and try to develop new formats and teaching methods for climate emergency and species protection, for example through excursions, outdoor writing workshops and corresponding course offerings within the teaching.


What was your biggest milestone?

The beginning - and now ten years, the whole arc. And that we were also able to bridge long phases without funds and hardly any staff - and now organise ourselves independently of funders. This is possible because our network has grown so much and we do many things with partners. And it runs alongside the main pillar of teaching, above all with our intrinsic motivation.We have sharpened our profile over the years and know our strengths and weaknesses. This enables us to remain in regular operation and to introduce new formats such as the "green minute".

Another milestone was our publication Grüne Worte - Was MedienmacherInnen über Nachhaltigkeit denken. This book contains texts and conversations from five years of Green Journalism and was published in 2020. In 2019, I also received the Research Award of the Darmstadt University of Applied Sciences in the category of public impact decidedly because of this project.


Which topic or article has remained in your memory to this day?

The long research dossiers of the early days have remained particularly strong in my memory. Among them, for example, the climate dossier by Bernhard Pötter ( at that time taz) and Peter Seeger's and Lena Kasper's dossier on mobility.

The great teaching editorships of the students of the last semesters will also be remembered.
For example Wandelmut- narrative der Zukunft,Journalismus in der Natur, Terabyte on digitalisation and sustainability and many more. The teaching editorial on the topic of Europe was also very interesting. For us, sustainability includes social aspects as well as justice and peace.


What was your greatest moment of success?

When the portal went online, that was a great moment for me. But also during teaching, seeing how students design and publish their content is a sense of achievement every time. The exchange on excursions is one of the best moments for me in everyday teaching. Another moment of success was when Green Journalism 2021 made it to the shortlist of the Climate Communication Award of the K3 Conference for the first time. This year, for the second time, the project was among the best 22 submissions out of over 140 participants. We are proud of this. Highlights are also the face-to-face meetings of the editorial team, field trips with students and all other meetings with contributors.


What visions do they have for the future?

We want to continue the way we have been positioned as a medium so far. We want to continue to be present as a teaching medium and continue to develop new formats. In doing so, we would like to continue to work experimentally and practise new text forms in teaching. And we hope for more exciting excursions in the future.


What would you like to pass on to young aspiring journalists?

I would like the students to remain both critical and hopeful. They should understand sustainability as a sphere of media and social values and independently and committedly set and research topics in this sphere of values, while also courageously pursuing systemic questions - how we can manage differently and in an earth-friendly way, how we can develop an attitude in which humans and nature are not a pair of opposites.

And how we can build a constructive critique of technology with regard to so-called AI, for example, that sets limits to the fetish around which we are all dancing right now. This is necessary in order to preserve the foundations of humanity and human-made work. Originality and creativity. Sensitivity to and in the real world.
Life practice with all senses. Grounding and authenticity. Writing and reading as a millennia-old cultural practice.

Centre speaker

Thomas Pleil

Communication Max-Planck-Straße 2
64807 Dieburg
Office: F01, 119


Managing Director

Rita Vas-Deuschel

Communication Max-Planck-Straße 2
64807 Dieburg
Office: F01, 202