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JAMES THOMPSON, Germany, 2017-2018

Fulbright Year: 2017-2018
Country: Germany
Proposal Type: Young Professional Journalism Program
Title: Examining Religious Groups’ Efforts to Engage with Irreligious Communities in Germany
UGA Undergraduate Majors: Journalism, History, and German
Graduation Date: Spring 2017
Hometown: Sylvania, Georgia

James Thompson is an avid student of American journalism. He hopes his Fulbright tenure will help him develop a unique prospective that will stand out in the U.S. media landscape.

“Many American news outlets seem to focus almost exclusively on domestic current events and often ignore important issues abroad,” said James, who graduated summa cum laude from UGA with degrees in journalism and history and a minor in German. “I think this would change if more American journalists made gaining some international experience a priority.”

During his Fulbright year, James will take part in the Young Professional Journalism program in Freiburg, Germany. After completing a six-week language course, James will be working on a film project examining how religious groups in Germany are trying to engage with people outside a faith community and whether those attempts at engagement are making an impact on people not already active in a religion.

Following completion of the short documentary film, James will spend the rest of his time interning for a German news organization.

“I would like to work for the newspaper and especially focus on contributing to their multimedia content,” he said. The 145,000-circulation Badische Zeitung in Freiburg “would be an appropriate internship placement for me because it covers the type of city I see myself working in during the first phase of my career in the U.S.—a mid-sized city similar to Freiburg, probably just with less currywurst.”

A UGA Honors student and participant in the Honors in Washington Internship Program and the Honors International Scholars Program, James is well equipped for this next step in his journalistic career. In addition to being an on-air contributor and host for campus radio station WUOG, he worked as a reporter for Grady Newsource, the broadcast news organization for the Grady College of Journalism and Mass Communication.

“I believe that my undergraduate experience has prepared me to pursue both proposed phases of this grant,” he said. “The curriculum for the digital and broadcast journalism degree program at the University of Georgia ensures that students gain copious amounts of practical experience interviewing, shooting video, being on-camera, editing, and writing.”

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