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Source: LZpB NRW

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NRW State Prize

Gerd Ruge

Winner of the 1993 NRW State Prize

Gerd Ruge (born 1928) is one of Germany's best-known journalists.

Gerd Ruge begins his media career in 1949, working at NRW's public-service broadcaster Westdeutscher Rundfunk (WDR). He soon specialises in foreign affairs and, in 1950, becomes the first German journalist since the Second World War to report from Yugoslavia. Postings to Moscow, the US and Beijing follow.

His travels take him to Korea, Indochina and south-eastern Europe. In 1970 he returns to Bonn as the chief political correspondent for the ARD network, Germany's channel one, but two years takes another foreign posting. For the ARD he creates a new programme, "Weltspiegel", a magazine format with reports from around the world, which is still being broadcast to this day. He goes on to front the current affairs programme "Monitor" and, during his time as a reporter, witnesses many of the defining news events of our times: the Vietnam war, the assassination of Martin Luther King, the 1991 Moscow coup and developments in China.

From 1993 Ruge has ostensibly retired, but in fact remains constantly on the move, whether in Siberia, China or Afghanistan. NRW film foundation sets up a grant for documentary-makers and names it in his honour.

Looking back at his early years, the journalist says, "I learned a lot during the formative years of the WDR, which coincided with those of NRW ... The reconstruction of towns and communities that had been laid waste was as much a focus of our attention as the often exciting rebirth of local politics or the re-opening of theatres and museums. I even managed to get to grips with local carnival traditions. But the most important thing I learned is how important it is to properly research news events and the background to them. Particularly when you are reporting about regional or local matters, listeners prick up their ears and know precisely just what is happening on their own doorstep."

The full acceptance speech by Gerd Ruge is printed in the prize-winners anthology edited by Gerd Ruge/ Jörg Schäfer (Hg.): Lebensbilder-Landesbilder. Geschichten aus und über Nordrhein-Westfalen, Verlag Aschendorff GmbH&Co. KG , Münster 2003 pp. 116 - 125

Wolfgang Hippe

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