MY BLOG. I’m a long-form writer and avid reader at heart. I started my career as a journalist and wrote stories that fell through the cracks that I was passionate about. Essays, interviews, op-eds, features on culture and history, news, media, design and technology, mostly in English and German. I’m open to collaborations with other writers!

MY BLOG. I’m a long-form writer and avid reader at heart.
I started my career as a journalist and wrote stories that fell through the cracks that I was passionate about. Essays, interviews, op-eds, features on culture and history, news, media, design and technology, mostly in English and German. I’m open to collaborations with other writers!

Infographics featured image

Good Stories Make Great Infographics

Infographics are an important and effective tool to digest and make sense of the vast amounts of data we gather. Here's how to get it right.
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content audit

How to Perform a Content Audit

Redesigning or migrating a website? Start by auditing your content: Perform a complete inventory and then evaluate its quality. Here's how.
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content that connects

Great Content Connects

Writing is hard. But when you connect with your readers on an emotional level, you’re halfway there. Make them hear Little Red Riding Hood bouncing in the woods.
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cross-cultural communications

Cross-Cultural Design: The Web Without Borders

The web has no borders. And yet, most of us have a site audience persona in mind that fits our cultural background when designing websites.
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cheap vs pro

Building Your Website: Going Cheap vs. Going Pro

Building a website, you can choose between DIY website builders, cheap designers or professionals. There’s no one size fits all. You get what you pay.
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You Need Content-First Design

Without content, you don’t have a website; you’re not being heard. Without quality content, your website is a beautiful vessel that won't convert.
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Why Use WordPress for Content-Rich Websites?

Why WordPress? Because it fuels simple 1-page blogs AND it handles enormous fully-featured commercial and publishing endeavors.
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Semantic Web

Your Content and the Semantic Web

Almost two decades ago, in 2001, the concept of the Semantic Web, aka Web 3.0, was first introduced. Has it succeeded? Are we better off?
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online forms

Bad Form Design & Wasted Time: Resetting Passwords

How easy is it to change passwords or delete accounts? Root canal is less painful. The reason: Poorly designed forms provide dismal user experience.
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persuasive writing

Persuasive Writing: Promoting Your Brand

You have expertise in a topic or an industry? Persuasive writing, including op-eds, can promote your brand and your services and offer real value.
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gender neutral marketing

Don’t Assume I’m A Guy: Gender-Neutral Marketing

Are you looking for a winning marketing strategy? Then make an effort to ditch any sexist ways of addressing your clients.
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Writing Should Open a Vein

You've got the tools to be a writer. You either have an inner voice and write from your gut or you haven’t found it yet. The rest of you will never look for that spark.
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Donation Emails Done Right

A compelling narrative, visual storytelling and a call-to-action are crucial for a successful #GivingTuesday email campaign. Here are more tips how to stand out.
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cashier check scam alert

Dodging the Cashier Check Scam

Ah, the cashier-check scam. Many freelancers and independent contractors become targets, and victims. Here's my story and tips how to spot—and fight—it.
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The Sins of Past Designs

Sometimes, the shoemaker has no shoes. Being a web designer, you’d think I would take care of my own website first. Wrong. Twenty years after I hand-coded the very first iteration of my website, I finally brought it to the 21st century.
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Nellie Bly

Nellie Bly: Fierce and Fearless

Long before the 1970s, the golden era of investigative journalism, there was Nellie Bly. She was the pioneer in investigative reporting. And the year was 1880.
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startup names

The Web’s Baby Babble

Forkly, Mingly and Grovo. Twitter with its tweets and peeps. Digg, reddit, Bebo and Mixi. Tumblr, Flickr and folkd. Oovoo and Zoomr. Prezi and scribd. Badoo, Rapt, Mubi and Wooxie. Spotify, Blippy and Twilio. Zynga, Scribd and Tsy. Pet names? No, the Web’s Baby Babble startup names.
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German Jews in New York

Searching for German-Jews in New York

The number of German-Jewish émigrés, who fled to the United States from Germany in the early 1930s, is dwindling. I miss so many of them, whom I’ve met in New York in the early 1990s, when I was managing editor of the legendary German-Jewish newspaper Aufbau.
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Helen Thomas

Helen Thomas: “I Was Just Part of a Cabal”

Helen Thomas was the first woman officer of the National Press Club after it opened its doors to women members, and for many women she has become a role model and then some. A conversation about women in media and why she was part of the cabal.
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Culture Gaps and Gaffes: Women Working Abroad

Women traveling and working abroad are faced with the same culture clashes as their male counterparts in dealing with foreigners. But they also encounter local gender misconceptions, prejudices and cultural roadblocks.
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Yehuda Amichai

Yehuda Amichai: Jerusalem’s Poet

Yehuda Amichai was Israel’s most quoted and beloved poet, who wrote the survival guide to Jerusalem for the people who live there. He was a voice from the street, who wrote about love with an echo of war, and about war while hinting at love.
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American Jews and Israel

American Jews and Israel: A Symbiosis

In the late 1950s, the United States and tiny Israel entered into a mutual dependence that assured Israel its survival and provided the United States with an important strategic partner in the Middle East. This close cooperation was both initiated and advanced by American Jews. How has the relationship changed over the years?
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“Grandpa’s Safe Haven”

More than 90 years after the founding of the Joint Distribution Committee (JDC), the philanthropic organization still has a tremendous impact on the lives of the needy and those who were helped by the organization in the past. Here are three generations and their stories
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Europeans and Americans

A European in New York

Europeans and Americans are different. At first, I attributed the American cheerfulness to the fact that wars were fought far away, one didn't have to take part if one didn't want to, and the country was always too powerful to be in any real danger. But there seems to be more to it.
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Jewish Life in Germany

Jewish Life in Germany After 1945

70 Years after WWII, there is a strong future for Jews in Germany. Young German Jews grow up with an inkling of the old prewar German-Jewish culture. Something has been lost for good and something new has been gained as well. But how can one memorialize the past while living for the future?
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Aufbau “Unser Aller Tagebuch”

Der Aufbau—1934 in New York als kleines monatliches Nachrichtenblatt des German-Jewish Club (später umbenannt in New World Club) begründet—war das Sprachrohr der deutschen Juden in den USA.
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New Yorks Lower East Side

Die Geschichte der Juden in New York: Herz der Welt

New York. Die jüdischste aller Städte außerhalb Israels, die Stadt, die alle amerikanischen Juden geprägt hat. Über die Hälfte von ihnen hat einmal in New York gelebt. In New York lebt immer noch die größte Zahl von Juden in der Diaspora.
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Juden in Los Angeles

Juden in Los Angeles: Weimar am Pazifik

Juden waren von Anfang an aktiv dabei, Los Angeles aufzubauen, doch ihre Beweggründe, nach Kalifornien zu ziehen, waren andere als die der armen Stetl-Bewohner, die in New York an Land kletterten. Juden zog es über die Jahre nach Kalifornien der Sonne wegen, weil sie ein neues, sorgenfreies Leben aufbauen wollten.
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kosher nostra

Die Kosher Nostra: Moses der Unterwelt?

Keine ethnische Gruppe kann in New York ausschließlich mit der Mafia in Verbindung gebracht werden. Nicht die Italiener, nicht die Iren und nicht die Juden. Dass aber in den 20er Jahren, jüdische Mafiosi New York und die Lower East Side in Angst und Schrecken versetzten, wissen wenige.
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Amerikanisches Judentum

Amerikanisches Judentum: Zauberformel Pluralität

Die Trennung "Juden vs Amerikaner" ist genauso unvorstellbar wie eine ethnische und religiöse Einkapselung oder gar der Gedanke, dass die amerikanischen Juden die Diaspora als etwas Temporäres, als ein ungewolltes Exil, als eine soziale Ausgrenzung und nicht als ein zutiefst gewünschtes Heimatland empfinden sollten.
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Why Content + Design™ LLC?

Tekla SzymanskiYou have a story to tell and needed a website yesterday?
Hi, I’m Tekla. This is your one-stop shop for content-rich websites: content strategy, design, site care.
Peace of mind.
What sets me apart? Many web developers don’t come from an editorial or content-creating background. I do.
Together, we’ll amplify your message and adapt the right design to it.


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