2016 The David Teeuwen Student Journalism Award, Small Newsroom finalist

The Wait: Inside the Lives of Asylum Seekers in Germany

Melissa Bosworth, Fan Fei and Lakshmi Sarah

UC Berkeley Graduate School of Journalism

The David Teeuwen Student Journalism Award, Small Newsroom


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About the Project

In late August 2015, 71 migrants were found dead in the back of a truck in Austria.

The image of 3-year-old Alan Kurdi’s body washed up on the shores of Turkey barely a week later became a symbol for the refugee crisis.

Germany opened its doors to refugees from all over the world, and specifically those fleeing Syria. “The fundamental right to asylum for the politically persecuted knows no upper limit; that also goes for refugees who come to us from the hell of a civil war,” Chancellor Angela Merkel declared in September 2015.

Since then, the narrative in much of mainstream U.S. media has echoed with overwhelming numbers: “Germany to Spend $6.6 Billion on 800,000 Refugees and Migrants”, “Germany is taking in more refugees in 2015 than the US has in the past 10 years” and “Germany’s refugee bill to top $22 billion.”. The current humanitarian problem has been touted as one of the worst refugee crises since World War II.

This project aims to provide perspectives absent from much of the current news on refugees around the globe — a peek into what life is like for those who have made it to Europe in search of safety, freedom, better lives.

In January 2016, we conducted interviews with asylum seekers in five different German cities. This new media project tells their stories in text, animation, interviews and 360 video.

On the landing page, the user has the choice to jump into one of nine stories through a “tiny planet” after clicking on the story, the user may read the description, watch the short flat video or jump into the 360 story.