Prof. Dr. Claus Kleber
Journalist, television presenter, presenter of ZDF news programme “heute-journal”
DAAD Scholarship 1984
“An interview with the president by Claus Kleber of ARD” – no other German journalist’s name was as closely associated with the United States as that of Claus Kleber, who has presented the ZDF news programme “heute-journal” since 2003 and was its managing editor until 2009.
If I’m good, then even in ten years’ time people still won’t know which party I vote for
When the man from Swabia arrived in Washington for his first two-year assignment as a correspondent in 1986 he had already had a taste of America: while he was a doctoral student at the University of Tübingen in 1984, the DAAD provided the lawyer Claus Kleber with a research grant for a stay in the United States. Actually, however, Kleber had “always” wanted to become a journalist – and switched to the job in 1985.
From 1986, the lawyer reported from the USA for ARD TV channels for 15 years. However, Claus Kleber never restricted his reporting to political topics alone. He told the Germans about the American way of life, about the impressions he gained from Florida to Alaska, his experiences with cowboys and Indians. His time as head of the ARD studio in London in 2002 was only a passing phase. “The ZDF’s offer was unbeatable,” says Kleber. Although he was quickly persuaded to take over as managing editor and presenter of “heute-journal” in 2003 – he has been chief presenter of the programme since 2009 – he still first had to convince his two daughters to move from London to Mainz.
The US fan is unhappy with the negative image that many Germans have of the Americans. However, he avoids his personal views when presenting programmes. Claus Kleber has received several awards for his work in journalism. In 2005 and 2009 he won the German Television Award for the best presenter of an information programme. In 2005 he was awarded the Corine Literature Prize for his non-fiction book Amerikas Kreuzzüge (America’s Crusades) and in 2010 the Hanns Joachim Friedrichs Prize for television journalism. Then, in 2013, he received the Golden Camera in the category Best Information – Bester Anchorman. Claus Kleber received the Bavarian Television Prize in 2015 jointly with author Angela Andersen for the two-part ZDF documentary Hunger! Durst!. Since 2015 he has taught as an honorary professor at the Institute of Media Studies at Eberhard Karls Universität Tübingen.