I am a Sorbonne-trained political sociologist with 25 years of active duty across the professional journalism spectrum, from news and war reporting to publishing. For two decades, I led Germany's largest English-language magazine as Editor-in-Chief. Today, I teach.
Journalist, educator

My journalism journey took off at London's City University and landed in Russia where I began my career as a staffer for AFP News Agency. It was in Moscow that I truly cut my teeth, learning the ropes of news-making and reporting. A predilection for ground-level reporting and a disposition for truth-seeking led me to spend a significant amount of time investigating pieces for the English press, including the Moscow Times and The Moscow Journal. In 2001, I embarked on an undercover expedition into war-torn Chechnya, at a time when the front was off-limits to journalists. My articles and broadcast for ZDF and France 2 led to my being blacklisted by Putin’s regime as an “enemy of the state” and forced into exile.

Moscow: from news to war
EXBERLINER: on the independent publishing front
Politics and education: panels, workshops and critical media

In 2002, I co-founded EXBERLINER Berlin's iconic English-language magazine for reportage, culture, and politics. Over two decades as Editor-in-Chief, I enforced a “no bullshit” standard. Exberliner earned accolades, including being named “Europe’s best Expat magazine” by The Guardian – a nod to our reputation for original reportage-based features, deep-dive interviews, and uncompromising reporting. Editorial freedom slowly ended when a local media group took over in 2021, shifting the focus from bold independent journalism to lifestyle content. By 2023, my time with Exberliner had come to an end.

In 2023, I decided to step back from the media business to renew with my former academic pursuits and focus on in-depth projects, curating, and moderating film and political panels (exBlicks, englishDays) and organising events (Honouring-the-Children-of-Gaza). And teaching.

I love teaching, which I first discovered while lecturing in Politics and Sociology at two universities many years ago in Moscow (Mgu/Mgimo), and again while coaching briefing and editing staff and journalists —an essential and most rewarding part of my job as an Editor-in-Chief for 21 years. I'm committed to sharing my extensive experience with students on both ends of the media equation, as information makers and media consumers.

My Critical Media curriculum aims to instil a reflective awareness in students, as we deconstruct the processes behind opinion formation as influenced by their media consumption choices. Meanwhile, my Journalism workshops focus on training aspiring writers media professionals in solid reporting practices —from the art of interviewing to pitching and writing compelling stories that are both informative and a great read. I believe in a hands-on, participatory approach that combines self-reflection with real-life exercises.

In every endeavour, my goal is to foster a deeper understanding of media and bold critical practices conducive to enlightened professionalism.

NADJA VANCAUWENBERGHE
My classes, panels, and events are a natural extension of my career as a media insider committed to sharing her experience, stimulating high standards, and inspiring others.

ENDORSEMENTS

Nadja is one of the best editors I ever worked for: Restless, thorough, and always interrogating, she will force you to find the most original angle. If anyone can get the best out of your journalism - whether it’s pitching, features writing, investigationor interviews - it’ll be her.

Ben Knight, Deutsche Welle, Guardian, News Statesman, Der Freitag

When I first met Nadja I didn’t have any journalistic experience. She saw my potential and taught me the foundational journalistic skills that helped launch my career. Nadja is a highly skilled journalist, both in interviewing her subjects and writing, and combines both modern and traditional reporting skills and approaches, giving her a unique teaching lens. She taught me the interviewing skills needed to be a cutting-edge journalist in the modern media landscape. She is also the ultimate editor, greatly improving my writing. I’m forever grateful to have had her as my mentor and highly recommend her to anyone wanting to improve their reporting skills and learn how to make it in today’s very challenging yet rewarding journalistic industry.

Mary Biekert, journalist Bloomberg, NYC

Nadja’s kind and passionate approach, coupled with her intelligence , truly helped elevate the quality of my first publications. She gives very practical and to the point advice tried and tested throughout her years of experience. She mentors with sincerity. I wholeheartedly recommend Nadja to anyone looking for a compassionate and genuine coach in navigating the path to their first publication. She’s the person you want on your side.

Shir Shoval-Simhoni, Ashtrays Magazine, Editor-in-Chief and publisher