Mundusians under the Covid-19 Lockdown: Part 10 - Isabelle Bonenkamp

Welcome to the tenth and final interview in our series about Mundusians under the Covid-19 shutdown. Today, we say hello to alumna - Isabelle Bonenkamp in Berlin.

2020.05.28 | Ellie Sellwood

Isabelle leaving the newsroom of a Berlin local tabloid by Axel Springer with the obligatory face mask. Photo taken by Isabelle Bonenkamp.

Germany introduced its lockdown measures in mid-March along with many other European countries. Since May 15th these lockdown measures have been gradually eased with restaurants, cafes, museums reopening and it becoming a requirement for people to wear masks in public places. People are also allowed to meet with members of one other household now too. So, it’s safe to say that life is returning to some kind of normality now.

For our last interview in our Mundusians under lockdown series we’re catching up with Isabelle who tells us what life under lockdown has been like in Berlin. Isabelle graduated from the Mundus Journalism programme in Amsterdam in 2017. She is German and is based in Berlin where she is employed as a Social Media Journalist for two different newspapers - a local tabloid and the Handelsblatt. Here, she tells us what the lockdown period has been like for her.

Mundus Journalism: What is the situation like in Berlin right now? What’s the mood like?

The bars and restaurants have been reopening in the last few weeks. Some museums have also reopened. We will soon be allowed to meet up to 50 people so the mood is good, but the economy is suffering.

Mundus Journalism: How have the Covid-19 measures affected your work?

It started with me having to work in my Home Office and Quarantine as there were Corona Cases in both media houses I work for. Right now, I am allowed back to one of the newsrooms, but only with a face mask and if it’s quiet. When the office isn’t empty you can tell that most people just extend their shifts in order to spend more time with others instead of going straight home.

MJ: What kind of tools have you been using to facilitate working remotely?

An app called BFT for background noise that also blocks the phone so I can focus better.

And the Calm app to meditate in between in order to “calm down” after reading a lot of stressful news.

MJ: Do you have any tips or tricks for fellow Mundusians working in the same field as you?

Well, if you’ve also had to take in all the negative news by yourself all day in a closed room, I can truly recommend meditating with the Calm app and praying regularly so you don’t lose your mind.

MJ: How do you think your job will be affected in the long term i.e. once measures have been relaxed?

I don’t think it will be affected much. But, there will probably be less news about the pandemic and that will be nice.

MJ: How do you think the world will change in the light of the Covid-19 pandemic?

People will appreciate the physical presence of their colleagues and travelling more I believe.  ;)

Thank you so much for sharing your lockdown experience with us Isabelle, we hope that things will start becoming ‘more normal’ for you soon!

Check out Isabelle's work for Handelsblatt during the lockdown, here on Instagram.

As we’re finishing our series here, we want to wish our alumni, staff and students worldwide all the very best for the coming months. We hope you stay healthy and that things return to some kind of normality soon.


Want to join the Mundus Journalism MA programme next year? Applications will open again on 10th November 2020!

Tags: working from home, WFH, Covid-19, alumni, remote working, social media journalism