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RBB evening show presenter Sarah Oswald to clarify Patricia Schlesinger: "It's still going damn slowly"

2022-08-10T19:09:07.924Z

In the affair of his former director Patricia Schlesinger, the RBB reports surprisingly directly – including evening show presenter Sarah Oswald. Here she talks about the role of employees in the research process.



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Moderator Oswald: "Take the same attitude as a politician"

SPIEGEL:

Ms. Oswald, "this is not an easy day today," so you started the "Abendschau" on Monday as moderator, one day after Patricia Schlesinger's resignation.

How long did you think about starting your show?

Sarah Oswald:

Relatively long.

I already knew in the morning that the topic was coming up.

And then to start the show: a challenge.

So during the S-Bahn ride I thought about my first words.

It quickly became clear to me: I don't want to do this for information or in a distanced manner.

But show how the matter affects us as RBB employees.

SPIEGEL:

You are currently in a dual role: as a journalist and as an employee.

How hard is it to separate that in reporting?

Oswald:

I don't find it that difficult.

As journalists, we are required to work confrontationally.

It had to happen here.

On Monday there was already a switch with our program director Jan Schulte-Kellinghaus and RBB employees.

I felt how stunned my colleagues were.

I knew I couldn't disappoint them.

SPIEGEL:

Nevertheless, your reporting is directed against your own employer.

In a conversation with Schulte-Kellinghaus on your show, you apparently had no problem with it.

Oswald:

We only found out that he was coming an hour before the show on Monday.

But it was clear to me that I had to approach it with the same attitude as a politician.

I also knew that if, as a journalist, I questioned the program director critically, I would not lose my job.

So I wasn't afraid.

SPIEGEL:

How is your research going?

You first learned of some developments in the RBB from the media, including Schlesinger's resignation.

Oswald:

The authors are primarily responsible for the research.

But I can already feel how difficult it is.

Even in the conversation on Monday, hardly anything came out.

And in the booth with Kellinghaus everyone looked into a questioning face.

All they said was: I don't know, I can't tell you that.

Yes, something is moving: there is now a research team that is looking after clarification.

On Tuesday we were ahead in reporting.

We were the first to report that the head of the board of directors, Wolf-Dieter Wolf, had resigned.

But overall, progress is still damn slow.

And it's just very annoying when you get to read what's happening in your own company in other media from colleagues.

SPIEGEL:

The reputation of the public broadcaster has already been badly damaged by the incident.

The media journalist Stefan Niggemeier said in an interview with the ARD daily topics: The damage to the ARD is immense.

What else do you hope for from self-critical reporting?

Oswald:

We can only restore our reputation by reporting properly and disclosing what's still in the drawer.

So that people can see that we treat our own employer the same way we treat politics.

SPIEGEL:

With what effect, what feedback do you get?

Oswald:

After my show on Monday, I received a lot of support from within the company, and colleagues thanked me.

There were many positive reactions from the industry on social media.

Even on the street you are approached by spectators who tell you: what's on has nothing to do with you journalists, but with the executive floor.

So people know how to separate that.

SPIEGEL:

What would you wish for further research?

Oswald:

That everything about the allegations is reported to us relentlessly.

That colleagues can view all relevant documents such as contracts and invoices.

With all the consequences: This means that more people will probably have to go.

Source: spiegel

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