• ruth kinet

the man behind the facade

my fascination for the story of people goes back many, many years. when i was still a student at the school of journalism and at the free university of berlin 24 years ago I was asked to write a reportage about something. I was free to chose my topic. i was living in the centre of hamburg at that time just across a huge office building. every morning when i opened the curtains of my room i saw a man on the third floor of the office building on the other side of the street already being at work. as he had become part of my landscape i wanted to get to know the man and his story.

i decided not to write a reportage about social workers supporting kids from difficult backgrounds nor would i accompany a captain on his container vessel for a day but i would rather cross the street and try to get to know the man behind the facade of the office building right across my street.

the next day i crossed the street, entered the building and introduced myself to the concierge. i tried to find out how i could get in touch with that man on the third floor working at the desk right in front of the window. with the help of the concierge i succeeded to send him a personal message and ask him to grant me an interview. i crossed the street again, returned to my room and waited.

half an hour later the man called and agreed to meet me. he was ready to share his story of hard work, ambition, thwarted plans and many endeavors. i wrote his story down and showed it to my reportage-teacher at the school of journalism. he was moved by its pureness and suggested that i would approach the famous weekly newspaper "die zeit" to ask whether they would be interested in printing it in their rubric "modern life". i plucked up courage, sent my text to the editor and was overjoyed on the day it covered a whole page on the weekly "die zeit" in the year 1996. the title of the story was "the man behind the facade. one out of eighty million people".

just a few days ago i realized that already back at journalism school i was driven by the same passion that made me start "www.discover-your-story.com".

You're invited to read the story of the man behind the facade on "zeit online": https://www.zeit.de/1996/50/Der_Mann_hinter_der_Fassade/komplettansicht

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