Claus Kleber (born September 2, 1955 in Reutlingen) is a German journalist. He anchors heute journal, an evening news program on ZDF, one of Germany's two major public TV stations. He is also known for his expertise in United States politics and German-American relations, as evidenced by his 2005 bestseller Amerikas Kreuzzüge ("America's Crusades").
Kleber started building his reputation during the 1980s as a Washington correspondent for Deutschlandfunk (DLF), a German public radio station.
In the spring of 1989, Kleber returned to Germany as Chief Editor of RIAS Berlin, the city’s most influential radio station. There, he was on location for the Fall of the Berlin Wall, and brought eyewitness accounts of the crumbling Soviet Empire to Germany.
In 1990, Kleber returned for another twelve years to Washington as a Senior Correspondent and Bureau Chief for ARD (1997 to 2001), one of the two nationwide German public television networks (the other being ZDF, where he currently works). During his time in the US, he set high standards in international reporting and consequently gained a reputation as one of his country’s most influential foreign policy journalists. He has reported from all fifty states in the US, and he has covered, met and interviewed every American president since Ronald Reagan as well as the most influential members of the George W. Bush administration, including President Bush himself as well as secretaries Condoleezza Rice, Donald Rumsfeld and Colin Powell.
In 2002, Kleber moved to London as ARD Bureau Chief. Only a few months into the new job, he received an offer from ZDF (Germany's other major public network) to become managing editor and Principal Anchor of heute journal, one of Germany's leading television news programs. In 2014, he interviewed US President Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton.
Kleber is also a documentary filmmaker. With his long-standing professional partner, Angela Andersen, he has created many documentary films, including the award-winning America, Almighty (2003), Peoples of the Orient (2003), Minefield Afghanistan (2004) and India – Unstoppable (2006).
In 2009 the film-making duo started putting an emphasis on the big issues of our age:
- the renewed threat of nuclear weapons in the 21st century in The Bomb (2009), a 3-part-documentary.
- global strategic consequences of climate change in Machtfaktor Erde (2011), a 2-part documentary.
- the global struggle to provide for ten billion people in 2050 in HUNGER! and DURST! (thirst), a 2-part documentary (2014).
Since 2015, Claus Kleber also works as Honorary Professor at the German University of Tübingen.
Awards and books
Claus Kleber is the recipient of several awards, including the Media prize of the Johanna Quandt Foundation (1998) for excellence in economic reporting, the RIAS Berlin committee TV prize (1997, 1999 and 2003), and the Deutscher Fernsehpreis (the German equivalent of the American Emmy) in 2005, 2006 and 2013 (heute journal as best German news program). Claus Kleber and his ZDF partner anchor Marietta Slomka were awarded the prestigious Grimme Prize in 2009 for their merits on the evolution of television. In 2010, he won the Hanns-Joachim-Friedrichs-Award for Outstanding Journalism. His work in documentaries on global challenges (with Angela Andersen) received the Deutscher Fernsehpreis for The Bomb in 2009 and the Bayerischer Fernsehpreis for HUNGER! DURST! in 2015.
Kleber's best-selling book Amerikas Kreuzzüge ("America's crusades") won the 2005 Corine Literature Prize for best non-fiction work. Shortly before the 2008 presidential election, Kleber published an updated edition with his views on the candidates. In 2012 Kleber published Spielball Erde about global strategic consequences of Climate Change, which turned into another bestseller. In Germany, it was the first book to inform the general public about issues of "Climate Change and International Security" (CCIS).
Education & Family
Claus Kleber was born in Reutlingen, Germany. He has a Doctor Degree in Law and Political Science from University of Tübingen. He is a member of Studienstiftung and DAAD. Kleber is married to Renate Kleber, a physician. They have two daughters and the family lives in Wiesbaden, Germany.