Florian Toepfl is one of the two Postdoctoral Fellows who will coordinate this year's core project at the Harriman Institute.

Florian received his Ph.D. in political science from the University of Passau in Southern Germany in 2009. He earned a diploma in International Business and Eastern European Cultural Studies from Passau University in 2005, after spending two semesters abroad at Charles University in Prague and at Florence University in Italy. Before arriving in New York, he worked as a lecturer in political science at the LMU University in Munich for six months.

In his PhD thesis, Florian has investigated the transformation of Post-Soviet media systems in the years after 1985. Referring to more than one hundred empirical country studies and the sociological theory of social systems his work elaborates a so-called "Typology of defective Media Systems". In a second part of the book, this new analytical framework is used to scrutinize and compare the processes of media transition in Russia and the Czech Republic in the years after 1985.

Alongside with his academic studies, Florian completed a two-year journalistic education program and has worked ever since as an occasional contributor for one of the leading German magazines. Florian is very much interested in the future of quality journalism on the internet. Recently, he has engaged in establishing and advocating new forms of quality journalism in Germany, trying to set up a foundation-funded bureau of investigative journalism similar to the US-American ProPublica in Germany.