Topic of the year 2009: The job market
After the big bank-bailouts (no, boys, it is not over yet), the financial crisis did not become a meltdown, but made its way to hit the job-market. I guess everyone of us knows somebody who has lost his/her job this year or had to struggle keeping it – some of us lost a job him/herself. Germany’s luck of not being hit that hard might run out soon, as the government’s short term allowance (“Kurzarbeitergeld“) will not save jobs forever and some industries are too slow to modernize themselves. Unfortunately, no discussion how to live in a post-work society with high base unemployment has emerged yet, as a lot of jobs will not come back.
Person of the year 2009: The crowd
From smart mobs to grasroot movements forming via the internet to the Swiss people’s vote against Minarets, crowds have ever more influenced developments throughout the world. This is nothing new, as isn’t the fact that people can organize much faster over the internet now – but I simply can’t come up with a real person to deserve the award this year (sorry, but Barack Obama has not shown enough, yet).
Most underreported events and stories in 2009:
-Yemen on the brink
-Sri Lanka’s government and its autocratic tendencies during and after the war with the Tamil Tigers
-the massacre in Guinea in September
-Belarus cosies up the European Union
-civilian casualties in Pakistan and Afghanistan because of attacks by U.S. military drones
-Ramzan Kadirov’s ugly regime
Best reporting 2009:
Frontline (PBS): Inside the meltdown
(exciting like a thriller, deep as psychoanalysis)
Dirk Kurbjuweit (Der Spiegel): Der Schattenmann (disarming)
David Lipsky (Rolling Stone): The lost years and last days of David Foster Wallace (beautiful and sad)
Special Award for being very inspiring:
Emily Nussbaum (New York Magazine): Goosing the grey lady
Peter Day’s world of Business (BBC)
This veteran journalist always offers inspiring and fresh insight into the mechanics and philosophy of business and the people who try to do something new.
The Atlantic Monthly, as their relaunch has really made me weary of continuing to read the magazine any longer. I miss gravitas (though I will give you another chance in 2010)!
Blog of the year 2009:
MSM-Blog of the year:
NPR editor Ken Rudin’s blog “Political junkie” has been around for…well, decades, I guess. But whenever I want to know what goes on in U.S. politics, I turn there or listen to the famous-infamous podcast “It’s all politics” with Rudin and the other guy.
Political blogs of the year:
This title gets shared by Chinese artist Ai Weiwei, who remembers that being an artist always means being political – and risks his life for spreading this message via his blog. Cuba’s Yoani Sanchez also deserves the title, as she does not hesitate to criticize the Cuban government in her blog Generación Y (German translation here). As Mr. Ai, she was beaten up by authorities this year.
Countries to watch in 2010:
Afghanistan. Nato may finally find a strategy to find out it will not be enough to control most parts of the country. 2010 will be a crucial year for the region, with Pakistan’s government looking shaky, too.
You should also take a look at DR Kongo (tribal conflicts as greedy neighbours pour in) and Sudan (as the 2011 referendum of the South’s independence is around the corner, tensions may rise once again).
Trends to watch in 2009:
-nasty surprises in some bank’s ballance sheets, but also Fannie and Freddy, as well as some German Landesbanken needing more money and getting it
-the U.S. Republicans continuing to block Barack Obama’s policy and being rewarded by winning the midterm-elections
-plenty of rigging in the Iraqi parliamentary elections and the Iraqis voting the U.S. troops out of their country in the referendum (without much consequences)
-higher taxes everywhere across Europe, discussion about the Euro’s future
-continued protests in Iran, but the hardliners will stay in power
-Pakistan’s president Asif Zardari will lose his office rather sooner than later
-even more conservative populism in France
-Gordon Brown getting booted out by the voter, David Cameron taking over a country that is almost broke and losing ground in international diplomacy
-the SPD back in the news as its base discusses the first red-red coalition in North-Rhine Westphalia (elections in May)
-Paid Content strategies for plain news are doomed to fail
Kopfzeiler’s worst predictions of 2009:
-Deutsche Bank in trouble with Ackermann leaving to UBS
-Basically, I got all the stock exchange predictions wrong, which is why I will keep my mouth shut this year
-humanitarian crisis in Zimbabwe did not happen, fortunately
To everyone: have a great, save and healthy 2010!