Master "Media and Digital Studies": Paula Muche - Reporter on the Way

2023-07-24 The 24-year-old student is currently completing her Master's degree at the Leuphana Graduate School. In autumn, she will start her editorial traineeship at a daily newspaper. Interested students can still apply for Master's programmes in cultural studies at Leuphana until 31 August.

Portrait Paula Muche ©Leuphana/Anastasia Adasheva
"The study programme is broad and, from my point of view, demands reflectiveness, critical and creative thinking as well as the willingness to show initiative," says Paula Muche.

Paula Muche spent a lot of time at her desk in the past months. Among other things, she analysed qualitative interviews and wrote reports. The first for her studies, the second for her future profession: the student is currently completing the Master's programme "Media and Digital Studies". In autumn, she will start an editorial traineeship at the Lübecker Nachrichten. For her application, she had to prepare samples of her work - parallel to her thesis. "The past months were demanding, but the effort was worth it," says Paula Muche.

Her Master's thesis is entitled "Practices of authenticity on BeReal". The social media platform sees itself as a counter-design to the established offerings. For example, no photo filters can be used. "In my interviews, I asked users about their longing for authenticity," explains the Master's candidate: "Technical developments such as artificial intelligence, fake news or beauty filters in social media lead to many people longing for the 'real', the 'authentic' again - I could also see that in my interviews."

Paula Muche began her studies at Leuphana in 2020. But she had known the university for some time: "My cousin studied in Lüneburg. Leuphana's sustainable and innovative concept piqued my interest. When I saw that with the cultural studies Master's programme "Media and Digital Studies" there was a study programme that combined my focus from the Bachelor's programme and where I could devote myself to questions of media change and the accompanying social changes from a cultural studies perspective, I applied," she recalls.

Previously, Paula Muche had completed a double Bachelor's degree in Communication and Media Studies and Cultural Studies at the University of Bremen. With her studies in Lüneburg, however, she was not only able to combine the fields of media and cultural studies. Among other things, the university radio station Katerfrühstück, a department of the AStA, also offered the student the opportunity to go into media practice: "Just recently, the Katerfrühstück editorial team attended a speech training course for aspiring radio hosts," Paula Muche reports.

Through her experience with the programme "Katerfrühstück" (Hangover Breakfast), she soon gained a foothold at public broadcaster NDR. At the beginning, she assisted in research and production, among other things: "For a few months now, I have been working there as a freelance reporter and am responsible for my own reports and stories," says the Master's candidate.

During her studies, it was important for Paula Muche to gain practical experience in her future professional field: "At Leuphana there are many opportunities to get involved," says the student. She is a student assistant in university communications. There she assists with social media, among other things, maintains the website and also writes reports for the internet presence.

Her studies helped her to take a broader perspective and understand theoretical backgrounds: "Indeed, the studies offered me the opportunity to look at different aspects of digitalisation with interdisciplinary methods and approaches. I would recommend the Media and Digital Studies programme to anyone who wants to critically examine the culture-generating influence digital media have on our everyday lives. The study programme is broad and, from my point of view, demands the ability to reflect, think critically and creatively, as well as the willingness to show initiative," says Paula Muche.