Stories From California

Sometimes I want to write more than just journalistically about my experiences as a reporter. That is why I started to write down my thoughts, observations and emotions beyond scripts for radio, print and TV. This experiment is a lot of fun and scary at the same time. But, as they say, you have to get out of your comfort zone.

StoryShack - My Newest Adventure on the Road


In my early years as reporter I loved one assignement most: taking an Ü-Wagen (a mobile studio) on the road and talking with people wherever I met them, from kids at a newly open ice rink to dancing Techno-Music fans at the Berlin Love Parade. I have been dreaming of getting my own mobile studio ever since.

Now I have come one step closer to making this dream a reality: at the last Mar Vista ArtWalk I set up my first 'Story Shack' in the middle of all the wonderful happenings of artists painting, bands playing, DJs spinning tunes, businesses offering special deals and the community enjoying a night out to meet their neighbors. 

The shack could not have been more beautiful: A vintage 1965 Airstream owned by great friends, decked out with psychedelic decoration and of course my recorder and microphone. All night long people joined me inside to tell their stories. SO FUN! Here are a few of the stories they told of love, gun shots, a punk show and the perfect first day in Mar Vista

Lilly's First Day In Mar Vista - Perfect!

Where Marianne Heard the First Gun Shots in her Life 

Brendon's Surprise at a Punk Show

Rusty's and RoseErin's Love Story

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The Logistics Of Homelessness


"I lived here about four years. I understand the logistics of homelessness. You are trying to find a bathroom, brushing your teeth, just those little things. I mean, YOU'RE ON A SIDEWALK!
One thing that makes me happy is to find this person who would not have reached out to me, and I reached out to them, and turns out they needed help. I like to find those people."
Shanae Cannon, outreach worker at C3, a homeless service on Skid Row

I remember when I first came to Los Angeles as a reporter for German public radio, my first assignment were the Oscars. I reported about diamond studded shoes on the red carpet, gift bags, glitz and glam, poolside junkets under palm trees. A few weeks later I was on Skid Row, homeless capital of Los Angeles. Wow! It was like enering a different universe!  

Super-Bloom and Desert Love - Remembering Steve Bier


"You can fall in love with the desert which happened with me the first time I topped the rise of that hill. The view just goes on forever."
Steve Bier, March 17, 2017 Borrego Springs

The first thing I saw was Steve Bier's wide, friendly smile under his big-rimmed ranger's hat. He stepped out of his truck, handing me a water bottle before shaking my hand. I had come to Borrego Springs to report about the record wildflower bloom for German public radio. I had not arranged for an interview with a ranger. Steve volunteered to give me the information I needed. I am sure thousands of tasks were waiting for him as visitors poured into Anza Borrego desert from all parts of the world. But Steve took his time, telling us the most wonderful stories about flowers, creatures, pollination and climate change while in between making sure an ambulance got to a stranded and dehydrated hiker in the nearby mountains. 

While my friend and photographer Dirk Rohrbach took pictures, Steve talked to me about his love for the desert and why a city guy like him ended up in a remote place like this. 

A Small Town Woman Who Went Into The World


The local paper calls me a "writer and journalist, a woman from Müllheim who went into the wide world ... observing life in California." 

It is a funny feeling to be written about as a journalist. Hey, I am supposed to ask the questions! I am supposed to decide what makes it into a story and which details can be disregarded.

But I have to admit: the journalist reviewing my reading in my former class mate's book store right in the heart of the small town where I grew up got it right. This insight comes as a surprise. If she is right, I am and do exactly what I wanted to be and do when I left Müllheim after graduating High School: go out into the world, explore, discover, observe and write about it.

Looking into the familiar faces of family, friends and teachers from school while reading from my book about California and talking about my life, I feel at home. Not only the friendly faces are comforting. On my trip I recognize sounds and smells and views and tastes from childhood and youth. 

Plan B - When ICE Can Deport You And Your Family

"The scary part is, hearing the door break and someone could come into my house and take me or my family away."
"I told my Mom and my stepdad to go to Mexico with my little brother and I stay, because I can look out for myself pretty well."
"That's what I always wanted to do: come to school and learn. And that somebody is now threatening for us to be sent back, that's the scary feeling."

Alain LeRoy Locke College Preparatory High School is a Sanctuary School in Watts. Many of the students come from families that have immigrated to the U.S. from Mexico and Central America. Not all of them have papers, some of their