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Thoughts across the borders

By Martin Pütter

A new communications project called Dreiland News is trying to promote territorial cohesion across the national borders in the Oberrhein region.

The motto sounds quite political: “Freedom of speech knows no border” is written underneath the name “Dreiland News”. It is a communication project that currently uses only some new media channels (Facebook, blog – others channels are considered for the future). However, a website for Dreiland News is in the pipeline, says Sam Baumann, who is the founder of this project.

However, politics – at the moment – seems a topic “Dreiland News” keeps to the side. “We want to report about what has happened in the Tri-Region area, or is going to happen”, says Larissa Amaral. The future student at Leiden University (NL) belongs to the currently still small circle of project contributors – and almost all of them living in Alsace.

That is about to change, however. To increase the number of contributors to the project “Dreiland News” are planning to approach students in Germany and in Switzerland, at high-schools, polytechnics and universities – particularly, but not exclusively, in the fields of media science and communications. “We are trying to build a community so that people living in this Tri-Region area are able to communicate across the borders”, explains Larissa, “because ideas don’t stop at the border.”

And this is happening in several languages. Depending on the author, the articles on the Facebook page of “Dreiland News” are sometimes in French, sometimes in German – and quite often in English as well. The reason behind articles in English is the number of people with English as mother-tongue in our region. According to the immigration office Basel-Stadt, in 2013  around 36’000 expat were living in north-west Switzerland – if you include those living in Alsace and southern Baden it could easily be 50’000.

At the moment “Dreiland News” are open when it comes to contributors, topic or audience. “We are not restricted to young people, and we don’t restrict ourselves to only certain topics”, says Larissa. The main topic that the multilingual student (she speaks six languages) is covering is trends, be that “fashion, bars, or shops – but the little shops outside the big commercial chains”, as she explains.

The Basel Journal has decided to help the “Dreiland News” project as cooperating partner. The links to articles that are going to be published here will also appear on the Facebook page of “Dreiland News.” The Basel Journal will also offer support in coaching aspiring journalist who would like to publish their articles via this project (and thus also have work samples for future purposes).

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