the team of the freetech – axel springer academy

We want to make journalism fit for the future and are breaking new ground. For us, technology and journalism belong together.


Head of Journalism School

Miriam is in close contact with the trainees and is responsible for all activities of the journalism school.

She studied law and worked as a trainee at the Hamburger Morgenpost. Miriam has been with Axel Springer for over 20 years, starting as a police reporter, most recently as editorial director of BILD Berlin-Brandenburg, and for more than five years as editor-in-chief of Berlin’s biggest tabloid newspaper, B.Z. Her heart is shared by her family (she and her husband have three children) and the HSV.


Miriam Krekel


Head of Tech Program

After joining Axel Springer in 2018, Henrike worked in Product and Innovation before joining FreeTech as Head of Tech Program in February 2022. She was part of the early founding team and helped shape and drive the academy early on before finally joining the team.

Henrike started her career at Airbus Defence & Space and stayed there for 6 years, working in various international teams in consulting and innovation.

Although Henrike left the space industry to pursue a Master in Innovation Management at Linnaeus University in Sweden, she is still an astronaut at heart. She loves Swedish pastries and goes jogging (one conditions the other).



Tech Evangelist

Mina is a Data Lead, Tech Evangelist, and Founder. She works as Lead Data Analytics at Axel Springer SE and teaches as Tech Evangelist at FreeTech Academy.

With Inclusive Tech, she founded Europe’s first advisory and advocacy organization for diversity in tech and AI ethics. In 2021, she made the Forbes 30 Under 30 list and was named a LinkedIn Top Voice and Influencer. Mina likes rap and irrational numbers.


Managing Director

Niddal has been Managing Director of FreeTech – Axel Springer Academy of Journalism and Technology since September 2021. The future of journalism is her topic.

Previously, she served as Deputy Editor-in-Chief of the news agency dpa since May 2019. There she was responsible for Product & Innovation and developed new business areas and revenues in digital.

She studied journalism and political science in Mainz and Washington, D.C., graduating in 2012 with a Magister Artium. She gained practical experience at the UN, ZDF, CNN, Spiegel and Ketchum Pleon. She joined Axel Springer in 2014, where she worked in various leading positions in the WELT newsroom until 2019, looking after partnerships, social media, paid content and newsroom innovation.


Since July 2022 she has been responsible for the newly created Executive Board department Talent & Culture at Axel Springer.

Madeline Schalk

Project Manager Knowledge Network

More to come.


Head of Digital Training & Upskilling Programs

As Head of Digital Training & Development, Ekaterina is responsible for the development of various training programs. Her goal is to anchor technology topics even more strongly in the continuing education programs at Axel Springer.

Prior to joining the FreeTech team, Ekaterina has held various positions within the Axel Springer Group over the past 7 years. Ekaterina is very passionate about technology and its impact on education. She is a true globetrotter and has lived in 3 different countries before settling in Berlin 11 years ago.

Outside of work, Ekaterina spends most of her time with her family, discovering new countries and has an ambitious goal to learn how to play the cello.


Deputy Head of Journalism training

Kristin takes care of the curriculum, the budget, and the cooperation between our tech talents and journalism students.

After training as a hotel clerk, Kristin started her career as a producer for BBC, Sky News, and the National Public Radio NPR, for which she worked during her studies at the FU Berlin. She received her journalistic training at the Axel Springer Academy (Team 3). She worked for BILD for two years, enjoys spooky crime podcasts, and relaxes with her family.

Daniela Voss

Head of Knowledge Network

More to come.


Management Assistant

Katja is the assistant to the COO for Upskilling, the Tech Program, the Knowledge Network and Co-Creation, and is the contact person for all organizational questions of the lecturers.

She originally worked as a lawyer in the Wilmersdorf legal office and some private companies, then transitionally as a student advisor in an English school and assistant in a commercial company. Katja has been at Axel Springer since 2011 and loves working with the journalists and tech students.

Grischa Rodust

Program Manager

At the FreeTech Academy, Grischa takes care of the current and future cohorts of journalists, communication, and teaching content.

He holds a degree in communication design and started his journalistic career at the Axel Springer School of Journalism (Crew XIX). Grischa worked for more than 12 years at WELT, three years as a teaching assistant, at Tagesspiegel, and since July 2022 again at Axel Springer. He has three children and collects cookbooks.


Management Assistant

Grit coordinates the application procedures at the School of Journalism, supports the Academy management and oversees the “Axel Springer Prize for Young Journalism”.

She worked at ProSiebenSat.1 for 12 years before joining Axel Springer in 2009. Grit has already worked in the areas of Group Organization/Corporate Development and in the Finance and Services Executive Board department and has been at the School of Journalism since 2010. She loves sports and traveling.

Niloufar Behradi-Ohnacker

Program Manager Upskilling & Tech

Mentoring tech students, interdisciplinary collaboration, and organizing and running professional development programs are Niloufar’s topics.

While studying Iranian Studies, Ethnology, and Journalism, she founded and ran the platform Blogrebellen. Niloufar has already worked as a product manager for various companies, taught at university and in the psychosocial field, and keeps her mind and body fit with yoga.


Assistant & Head of Editorial internships

If you want to do an editorial internship at Axel Springer SE, Jenny is the right person for you. In 2012, she completed her training as a media clerk for digital and print in-house and worked for several years as a digital manager at WELT classified marketing. After further stops (including at Corporate Communications), she moved to the FreeTech Academy in 2017 and has since focused on supervising interns.

Those who pay attention to a competent first impression have a good chance of getting a job in the editorial department or even volunteering at FreeTech Academy. A big heart for guinea pigs could possibly lead to further plus points with Jenny. But don’t let the management find out.

Joeline Radtke

Working student  – Upskilling & Tech

Joeline recently joined Freetech Academy as a working student.

She supports our tech and upskilling programs in their efforts to foster successful journalism in the age of disruption, and to enable our colleagues to future-proof and enhance their existing skills through innovative, technology-enabled learning and upskilling programs.

© Axel Springer SE 2022 – Axel Springer SE wants to become the world's most successful digital publisher.