Guy Degen

Guy Degen is an Australian freelance journalist and lives in Germany. He travels widely contributing stories to international broadcasters and also trains journalists in developing countries. His personal blog is called Notes from the field.


February 18, 2011

The Minister formerly known as “Doktor” zu Guttenberg

Yes, Germany’s Minister of Defence, Dr. Karl-Theodor zu Guttenberg, has been previously mentioned in Frontline blog dispatches. However the latest scandal to dog the defence minister is his doctorate, or more specifically, large slabs of his doctor of laws dissertation that he is accused of cutting and pasting. Minister zu Guttenberg has denied the claims […]


January 22, 2011

Deaths in the Military, Mutiny, Mail and the Minister

To put it mildly, Germany’s Minister of Defence, Karl-Theodor zu Guttenberg, will be facing a hostile parliamentary and media environment this week. Three military episodes are dominating headlines following reports from the German parliamentary ombudsman to the military. – The treatment of officer-cadets onboard the German Navy tall ship Gorch Fock, including events surrounding the […]


January 10, 2011

Guido’s Pakistan Road Trip and Afghan ‘Outdoor Look’

Journalists accompanying Germany’s Foreign Minister, Guido Westerwelle, on his trip to Pakistan and Afghanistan this week had a few surprises. Thick fog prevented Mr Westerwelle’s plane from landing in Islamabad, forcing Germany’s top diplomat and journalists in tow to land 400 km away in Lahore. To keep to schedule, Plan B was to pile everyone […]


June 1, 2010

Don’t mention anything about the war

Given the euphoria over Germany’s Eurovision win, it was probably only an event of the magnitude of the German President resigning that could bump Lena off the headlines… But as tabloid Bild shows not by much… The surprise resignation of President Horst Köhler has both politicians and the media playing over and rewinding the tape […]


May 26, 2010

Shooting with Malian musketeers

I’ve just got back from a short filming assignment in Mali and still trying to remove fine red dust from all of my camera equipment. I’ve worked in West Africa several times but this was my first trip to Mali. I’m indebted to an old friend in Bamako in the form of the BBC’s Martin […]


May 3, 2010

Five favourite gadgets for the kit bag

I’ve got quite a bit of travel coming up over the next few months and these five gadgets have become must haves in my kit bag. Do let me know if you’ve got any essential travel gadgets that you don’t leave home without. 1. Novatel Mifi 2352 portable wireless hotspot Stick in a SIM card […]


April 29, 2010

What to do about Greece?

It wasn’t so long ago that the Germans adored the Greeks. Cast your mind back to 2004 and the European football championship. It was a fairy tale football finale for Greece, cheered on whole heartedly by Germans, who though a tad shocked after their national side was knocked out, were elated that Greece was guided […]


January 20, 2010

Mountain minefield rescue at night in Iraqi-Kurdistan

I couldn’t leave him there. He was going to die. Over a hubbly bubbly and sweet chay in Dohuk this week I met Faris Zubair Ali – a highly experienced deminer and Operations Manager for the Iraqi Kurdistan Mine Action Agency.  My co-producers Karlos Zurutuza and Borja Portuondo had interviewed Faris and his team at […]


November 11, 2009

The beginning of Germany’s other season

While Britain, France, Belgium and Commonwealth countries commemorate Remembrance Day and the end of WWI on November 11, something quite different happens in Germany. At 11 minutes past 11 am on November 11, the traditional celebrations begin for Carnival (Karneval) or the "Fifth Season" as it’s known in Germany. You either love Carnival or you […]


October 27, 2009

Better get your mojo working

"News Quoyle, news. Better get your mojo working."                         – Annie Proulx, The Shipping News A draft of this post has been loitering in my documents folder for a while. But six months on from when I gave some mojo apps a workout in Nigeria and in Georgia I’ve got a […]


September 23, 2009

Germany’s grand colour coalition election

It’s supposed to be a Superwahljahr – a super election year in Germany. Yes, we’ve seen many elections of the state and city variety, but you could hardly describe the campaign leading up to Sunday’s general election as "super". And why? Well your correspondent wonders if anyone in Germany is potentially excited about casting their […]


August 30, 2009

Summer and something of a seaside independence

Earlier in August I had the opportunity to film in Abkhazia with Matthew Collin –  Al Jazeera’s correspondent in Georgia and fellow Frontline blogger. It’s now one year since Russia recognised Georgia’s breakaway regions of Abkhazia and South Ossetia as independent states. The first time I visited Abkhazia was in December 2006 to produce radio […]


July 18, 2009

Desert night hike to meet Baluch guerillas

While people who fled from the fighting in the Swat Valley begin travelling back to their homes, another conflict in Pakistan is often overlooked. The south-western province of Baluchistan makes up nearly half of the country. It’s capital Quetta is synonomous these days with al Qaeda and Taliban leadership. It shares a border with Iran […]


July 6, 2009

Cross of honour and debate

Four soldiers have received Germany’s new medal for bravery for their actions in Afghanistan – the first German military decorations awarded for bravery on the battlefield since WWII. It’s known as the Ehrenkreuz der Bundeswehr für Tapferkeit or Cross of Honour for Bravery. Yes it does bear a similar shape to the Iron Cross (Eisernes […]


June 22, 2009

Presidential wrestling in UB

Shouldn’t all presidential inauguration celebrations include a wrestling competition? Last Thursday Tsakhiagiin Elbegdorj was sworn in as Mongolia’s new President. Along with a military parade in Ulan Bator’s Sukhbaatar Square opposite Parliament, there was a concert staged at the Cultural Palace. But sports fans in Mongolia were not disappointed. A wrestling competition to mark the […]


June 18, 2009

Meanwhile in Mongolia…

It had to be exactly 12:06 pm. Tsakhiagiin Elbegdorj set the time of his swearing-in ceremony to become the fourth President of Mongolia in a symbolic nod to the year Genghis Khan was proclaimed ruler of the Mongol Empire. Dressed in a gold-coloured traditional deel, Elbegdorj took the oath of office today at Parliament in […]


May 13, 2009

#Winnenden and Twitter: German media’s conversation of a shooting

  "Kein zweiter Hudson-River-Tweet" (Stefan Winterbauer, Meedia.de) "Not a second Hudson River tweet" Two months have past since Germany was stunned by a killing spree in which 15 people died in Winnenden, just north of Stuttgart. At about 0930 on March 11 a former pupil of the Albertville Secondary School walked into the school and […]


April 9, 2009

Keeping an eye on the Tbilisi demonstrations

Fellow Frontline Club blogger Onnik Krikorian has produced a great round up of online and social media coverage of the first day of demonstrations in Tbilisi, Georgia. April 9 is a date firmly etched in the memory of many Georgians. Any demonstration on the anniversary of the 1989 Soviet crack down would always bring out […]


April 4, 2009

Testing my kit for mobile reporting in Africa

So, you’ve brought your smart phone with you to a country like Nigeria, brimming with all your favourite apps for social media and live video streaming. Will everything work? Well sort of, inshallah. Recently while training radio journalists in Kano in Nigeria’s north, I used a variety of applications to get an indication of how […]


April 3, 2009

Testing my kit for mobile reporting in Africa

So, you’ve brought your smart phone with you to a country like Nigeria, brimming with all your favourite apps for social media and live video streaming. Will everything work? Well sort of, inshallah. Recently while training radio journalists in Kano in Nigeria’s north, I used a variety of applications to get an indication of how […]


March 9, 2009

Reconstructing bodies and lives

Sometimes stories just bump into you. On the flight to Nigeria my co-trainer colleague Christopher met a medical team of German surgeons and nurses who were also on their way to Kano. Their goal – to offer free operations to as many people as they can manage in a fortnight. The team is drawn from […]


March 4, 2009

Buyer Beware: 419 Real Estate at Your Service

Maybe there’s a house-sitting problem in Kano? I stared hard at the sign painted on this house wondering if it was just a bit of rough English. Apparently not. It means exactly what it says.   Locals in Kano reckon if you leave your house, say during a holiday, you may return to find that […]


March 2, 2009

So dusty you can taste it

I think I’ve swallowed half of the Sahara since I arrived in Kano in northern Nigeria on Sunday afternoon. It’s the harmattan haze. Fine sand and dust hangs thick in the air over the city along with air pollution. Poor visibility led to my flight on Saturday being diverted back to Abuja, then a few […]


February 17, 2009

The Business of the Baron

German media got itself into a little bit of muddle over the past week covering the appointment of Karl-Theodor von und zu Guttenberg as Germany’s new Minister of Economics, following the surprise resignation of Michael Glos. The media all seemed to be asking themselves: who is this 37 year old Freiherr (Baron) from Bavaria, and […]