Gerhild Salcher


What can you tell us about your career?

I’m editor-in-chief of the Vienna City TV Channel W24. After graduating from the University of Innsbruck, I stayed on as a university assistant at the Department of English, specialising in postcolonial literature. In 2005, I moved from Innsbruck to Vienna, where I got a job as an online journalist for what was then, now W24. In the following years, the online news platform developed into what is now the biggest local TV station in Austria.

Why did you study Anglistik und Amerikanistik? What, in your opinion, makes this choice of study unique?

Strange as it may seem, I knew I wanted to study English already in primary school. My main aim then was to understand song lyrics. I was lucky enough to have an excellent English teacher in my last years of high school. The way he talked about Edward Albee’s The Zoo Story, the school play of that year, brought about my love for English and American literature. So my primary school choice stuck. I never particularly wanted to become a teacher; I just wanted to study English.

Are there any classes/courses/activities that have particularly influenced you both personally and professionally? Do you have any fond memories?

I still work with language. My job is to tell stories, and to tell them well. So basically all courses—language, literature, and linguistics—have influenced me. I had a lot of fun in the two or three semesters that I did Creative Writing with Tanya Westfall. I loved my first semester course Introduction to Literature with Heidi Ganner, where she started off with a recital of Coleridge’s “The Rime of the Ancient Mariner.” I learned loads in both Composition courses. I was a frequent attendee of Sonja Bahn’s film showings in the Coffee Room. And I have particularly fond memories of the seminars on humour and on love poetry that I taught together with my then colleague and friend Ulla Ratheiser.

Which skills that you acquired during your language and literature studies have been useful in your current employment and throughout your career?

Studying language, dealing with words and their meaning, writing a range of different texts—all this is a prerequisite for my job. Being able to create meaningful and well-written texts is a skill that is, in my opinion, greatly underestimated, especially in TV journalists. Also, I need English when I do interviews with English speakers, which even in local journalism happens now and then (for example when Vienna hosted the Eurovision Song Contest in 2015).

Why would you recommend Anglistik und Amerikanistik?

Because I love the language and the literature. Still do. If you do too, go ahead and study it—you won’t regret it.

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