Presenter and “TV smirker” Cherno Jobatey: I will do it again and again.

11. January 2024 – Katharina Schlangenotto

It is impossible to imagine the German television world without Cherno Jobatey. For 20 years, he hosted the ZDF breakfast television program and stood out with his casual look in a suit and sneakers and his seemingly always good mood.

Anyone familiar with his career will know that he spent some time in sunny California and imported the easy-going lifestyle of the Sunshine State directly to Berlin. To the delight of his viewers, who he got going every morning with his charmingly ironic, permanently good-humored manner.

But Cherno Jobatey has far more to offer than his sunny-boy image would have you believe. He became a journalist to be taken seriously and learned his trade from the bottom up.

Cherno Jobatey studied political science at the Free University in Berlin, went to Los Angeles on a scholarship and, as he says himself, ended up first at Der Spiegel and later in television by chance.

He became a morning show presenter from the very beginning and soon became a trademark of the ZDF program. His website says about him: “He turned the mixture of news, talk and service into a ratings hit. For the “news junkie” (Die Welt), nothing is more exciting than politics.”

Cherno Jobatey: Being a speaker is real

Standing on a stage as a keynote speaker means something completely different for the TV presenter with heart and soul. He sees himself as an “old-school performer”, because “as a speaker, I stand alone on a stage with my presentation – equipped with minimal technical aids – in front of four to five hundred people, which is still great cinema for me to touch.” The “touch” makes the difference for him, he says: “As a speaker, I give talks on topics on which there are probably also books, articles, maybe even TV films, documentaries or a website.”

As a keynote speaker, Cherno Jobatey breathes life into his not always easy topics in his own light-hearted way, makes them tangible, builds suspense, tells stories, explains, answers questions, presents not only the facts, but also his view of things. He says: “Seeking a conversation with the speaker after the presentation, engaging them in it, that’s only possible “live”!”

The new economy of attention.

In his lectures, Cherno Jobatey talks about “the new economy of attention” in the context of digital power. In it, he talks about the opportunities and risks of the knowledge society and the fact that “with the help of modern technology, anyone can in principle defeat old-fashioned opponents quite cheaply today.”

As a journalist, Cherno Jobatey naturally also addresses political topics. He uses Donald Trump’s election as the 45th President of the USA as a prime example for his lecture “Disruption in politics”. In it, he sheds light on the competition for interpretative sovereignty, which has been operating according to new rules since Trump’s election. He says: “Knowledge is power, nothing will change that. But never before have so many been so powerful.”

#NieWiederIstJetzt! (#NeverAgainIsNow)

In 2014, he spoke at a rally in Berlin “Stand up! Never again hatred of Jews!”. You’d think the world had regressed. Cherno Jobatey is currently supporting the #NieWiederIstJetzt campaign on his social media channels and wrote about the demonstration three days ago in Berlin: “A strong signal against #Antisemitism with a very special mood of seriousness, confidence and even good humor. Many thanks to all supporters and participants!”

He reports on his appearance in 2014 on his website, and the occasion could not be more topical. There he writes: “When I was asked to speak there, I immediately said yes.” I will do it again and again! It was actually just a message. But it was one that you just can’t put aside, no matter how long you’ve been a journalist. It was the number: 159 anti-Semitic crimes in the second quarter of this year, i.e. between April and the end of June.” That was in 2014; currently, 540 anti-Semitic crimes have been recorded by the police in the third quarter of 2023.

Cherno Jobatey reports on his motivation in 2014: “I thought of Sarah, the daughter of a friend, who recently explained to me that we don’t need politics anymore because all the big mistakes in human history have been made. We had all learned! At first I wanted to leave her in her childish naivety, but then I tried to convince her that politics happens all the time and that we always have to deal with new challenges.” Cherno Jobatey stands up for this and, as he says, keeps standing up for it.

Cherno Jobatey is touching – in his talks and with his approachable personality.

Cherno Jobatey has become known as the good-humored, easy-going “TV presenter of ZDF breakfast television”. He knows the most important people in politics and business around the world and maintains a dialog with them.

On television he reaches a wider audience, as a speaker he touches his audience directly, informs them, shakes them up, stands up for having an opinion and understanding and using the “brave new (digital) world” at the same time. For the good of all. Cherno Jobatey not only shines through his work, it is probably also his good, approachable character that makes him a special personality of our time.

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Cherno Jobatey

Journalist & TV presenter