Department of Journalism and Communication Teaching Staff

Prof. Dr. Ranty Islam

Professor Campus Cologne


M.A. Digital Journalism

Office hours during term time: Thursday 2pm - 3pm (please confirm beforehand)


Ranty is a journalist, digital anthropologist and educator. He co-founded and was a senior editor for Deutsche Welle's Global Ideas project - an international award winning multimedia platform covering climate change and the environment. His present work focuses on constructive journalism and the role of empathy in new journalism concepts. His other interests include the anthropological foundations of storytelling, and the cultural implications of big data. Oh yes, Ranty was an astrophysicist until 2003, and had worked on huge data sets a long time before big data became cool.

At Media University Ranty teaches mainly on the international Masters program in Digital Journalism. He also heads up Media University's MediaLab - a student run newsroom and experimental space exploring crossmedia journalism and digital tools.


  • Mass Media
  • Business & Politics
  • Culture & Entertainment

Research and Teaching Focus

  • Multimedia Storytelling
  • Big Data, Digital Culture and Media
  • Science and Environmental Journalism
  • Data Journalism
  • Constructive / Solutions Journalism

Curriculum Vitae


2016 MA Social- and Cultural Anthropology, Freie Universität Berlin
2005 Journalism Certificate, Axel Springer School of Journalism, Berlin
2003DPhil Astrophysics & Cosmology, Oxford University
1999MSci Physics, Imperial College London

Work Experience

2010 - 2016

Deutsche Welle, business & science desk. Multimedia Editor for Global Ideas, an international, award-winning multimedia magazine covering climate change and the environment. 


Berlin Social Science Center (WZB). Journalist in Residence.

2006 - 2010 

Deutsche Welle, international desk. Freelance editor and reporter.

2005 - 2009 

Freelance science reporter / editor for media in Germany and the US, including Vanity Fair (Germany), The Christian Science Monitor, Die Welt, Spiegel Online, Berliner Zeitung, United Nations Dep. of Public Information

2004 - 2005Axel Springer SE. Trainee editor at science desk of Die Welt newspaper. Internships at Bild Zeitung and Springer's global business development. 

Talks & Presentations

"Zur Zukunft des Journalismus in postfaktischen Zeiten" (2017) Talk & panelist at Deutscher Stiftungstag, annual conference of German foundations

 "The Apocalypse has been called off: How Constructive Journalism can save the World" (2017) Joint presentation with Maren Urner, given at re:publica 2017 convention in Berlin

"Developing a curriculum for environmental journalism in Vietnam." (2015 - 2017) Organizer and presenter of a seminar and workshop series for journalists and journalism trainers in Vietnam. In cooperation Friedrich-Ebert-Stiftung and Hochschule Darmstadt.

"Der Weltuntergang ist abgesagt. Konstruktiv berichten über Umweltthemen." (2016) Talk given at Umweltpolitik 3.0. Das Festival der Zukunft organized by BMUB, Berlin

"Binaural audio - the most amazing (and oldest!) immersive multimedia technique you have never heard of." (2016) Talk given as part of InnoLunch at Deutsche Welle, a series of lunchtime talks on innovations for the newsroom.

Participant on Panel "Klimasprachen" ("Languages of Climate Change"), at International Literature Festival Berlin 2015, covering literary and journalistic approaches to climate change.

"Big Data-ism - Cutting through the big data hype." Talk given at Wissenschaftszentrum Berlin WZB (2015)

"Good stories, good news - positive storytelling in environmental  journalism." Talk on constructive journalism given at the IUCN World Parks Congress (Sydney, 2014). Held only once a decade, this is one of the largest and most important global gatherings of environmental NGOs

"Social Media Targeting." Talk given at IUCN WPC (Sydney, 2014)

A comparison of newspaper coverage and reporting styles in Germany and the UK. Talk given at Axel Springer Journalistenschule (2005)

Introduction to the German media landscape. Talk given to visiting US journalists at Axel Springer Journalistenschule (2005)

Publications (Selection)

Islam, Ranty "Viele Daten, zu wenige Fakten: Die Wissenschaft sollte sich dem Kern der BigData-Probleme zuwenden." WZB Mitteilungen No. 148 (2015), Wissenschaftszentrum Berlin.

Islam, Ranty "Geschichtenerzähler einer globalisierten Welt." Cargo Zeitschrift 32 (2013)

Islam, Ranty "Oral Traditions 2.0: How Google and Co. resurrect age-old cultural techniques." Annual Meeting 2013: German Anthropological Association

Islam, Ranty R. "Cyberspace and the Sacred." In Virtual Environments and Cultures, eds. U. Undine Frömming. (2013) Peter Lang Verlag

Islam, Ranty R. "Believing to Recover: The Role of Religion in the Recovery Phase of Natural Disasters." Anthropos H. 1 (2012): 209-217.


Dr. Ranty Islam on Twitter