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Carmen Neghina - research paper - Newspapers in Germany - analysis and overview

Carmen Neghina - research paper - Newspapers in Germany - analysis and overview

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    Newspapers in Germany Newspapers in Germany Document Transcript

    • International University in Germany Newspapers in Germany Carmen Neghina 07
    • Table of Contents Press Law................................................................................................................................................ 3 Censorship........................................................................................................................................... 4 Georg von Holtzbrinck Publishing Group ................................................................................................ 5 Die Zeit (The Time(s))......................................................................................................................... 6 Axel Springer Verlag............................................................................................................................... 6 Die Welt (The World)......................................................................................................................... 7 Der Spiegel (The Mirror) ..................................................................................................................... 7 Bild Zeitung ........................................................................................................................................ 8 Ownership and Monopoly ..................................................................................................................... 10 Publishing Groups Pertaining to Georg von Holtzbrinck Publishing Group ............................................ 12 Chief Editors of Der Spiegel.................................................................................................................. 13 References:............................................................................................................................................ 14
    • After World War II, Germany was divided into two separate countries. Each would experience a different development: East Germany, under soviet influence, became a communist country; West Germany on the other hand, grew into a paragon of democracy and consumerism. As it is impossible to talk about democracy without mentioning freedom of speech, the media and their development after World War 2 indicate the establishment of democracy. My paper will analyze the circumstances in which the first newspapers emerged after the Second World War and how they developed. I shall analyze two major publishing companies, that dominate the media market in Germany, focusing on Axel Verlag and the role it has played throughout history, influencing public opinions by exercising its influence on its audience. After the war, France, the United States and Great Britain agreed on uniting the territories under their occupation, contributing to the reconstruction of West Germany. Their motives were both political and social: on one side, a powerful democratic country was needed to counterbalance the expansion of communism in East Germany; on the other side, it was better to transform West Germany in a market for foreign products, which in turn required a wealthy population that could afford these products. The basis of democracy in West Germany is represented by the constitution, the Basic Law (Grundgesetz), which came into being in 1949. The Basic Law was designed to eliminate the possibility of infringement of human rights, which became inviolable and inalienable. The founding of West Germany rejected the ideology imposed by Hitler of the master race (Herrenvolk), an idea which excused the genocide and the inhuman treatments of those who did not belong to this race in the Nazi period. Press Law One of the freedoms guaranteed by the new constitution was freedom of the press, summarized under Article 5 (Freedom of the Press). In the first years after WW2, all printed materials had to be approved by the Allies. Although there were no clear regulations with regard to what was to be censored and what could be allowed, the Allies, checked publications for any content that
    • might have been considered harmful. Some publications, such as Der Ruf, also known as the Independent Pages of the New Generation were banned as they were considered dangerous. These publications were considered too nihilistic by the Americans, as it was criticizing the occupational government. Once the Constitution was established, external control on internal matters such as freedom of the press was limited. According to the German Constitution, “Everyone has the right to freely express and disseminate his opinion in word, print and image, and to educate himself, unhindered, through any source. […] Censorship will not take place”. The constitution also includes certain limitations regarding “writings which incite to racial hatred or the inhuman acts”. In the penal code relating to offences against the state, it prohibits “betraying the country and endangering external security by betraying state secrets”. One of the most controversial part of the code of conduct is related to the protection of privacy of non-official citizens: “The press shall respect the private life and intimate sphere of persons. If, however, the private behavior touches upon public interest, then it may be reported upon. Care must be taken to ensure that the personal rights of uninvolved persons are not violated”. The problem with this regulation is that the terms “intimate sphere” and “public interest” are not clearly defined, which can lead to excessive abuse of the media. Censorship Official censorship does not exist in Germany. Due to Germany’s historical past though, a desire to eliminate the possibility of propaganda, or hate speeches. The constitution includes a limiting provision, “The limits of this right are found […] at the legal designation of the protection of youth and the right to personal integrity”. This provision lead to the founding of the Bundesprüfstelle für jugendgefährende Medien (The Federal Department for Media Harmful to Young Persons), which is responsible for maintaining an Index of Harmful Materials. Materials considered inappropriate are restricted in their sale and distribution, as they cannot be sold mail. The index includes pornography, media glorifying war or violence, or materials considered anti- constitutional.
    • “He, who publicly or in assembly, denies or renders harmless the past deeds committed under the regime of National Socialism, is subject to imprisonment up to 5 years or monetary fine”. Holocaust denials, along with inciting hatred against a minority of the population were also considered illegal in West Germany. Despite these minor restrictions, the press in West Germany boomed in the years following the War. During the sixty years from the end of World War II until the beginning of the twenty-first century, the German media developed extensively; in fact, the world's second or third largest media conglomerate, the Bertelsmann Group, is German-based, and one of the German media barons of the late twentieth century, Axel Springer, rivaled in fame, power, and influence the media barons of the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. (GERMANY Press, Media, TV, Radio, Newspapers) Georg von Holtzbrinck Publishing Group “Our task is to moderate and not to dictate” (Dieter von Holtzbrick). Once a small book club, with a short publishing list, became in time one of the most influential global media companies. It was founded by Georg von Holtzbrinck in 1948, with the help of the Stuttgarter Hausbücherei, which is probably one of the reasons it was named “Deutscher Bücherbund”. The publishing company managed to hold its position as one of the mo st important group in the field up until the mid 1980s. The company managed to expand as time passed by taking over other small publishing groups, such as S. Fisher Verlag, in the 1960s, or Droemer, Kindler, Rowohlts, continuing with other prestigious names such as Holt, Rinehart and Winston in 1985, or the Scientific American Magazine in 1986. The company successfully managed to expand its influence outside Germany as well, gaining Georg von Holtzbrinck approximately 23% of its total revenue in North America, and only 49% 1909-1983 in Germany.
    • Today, the company prides itself with four areas of general interest: publishing, education and science, newspapers and business information and electronic media and services. In Attachment 1 you can see a list of the most important printing groups assigned to each of these categories. Die Zeit (The Time(s)) As far as weekly newspapers are concerned, the most popular one is Die Zeit. Die Zeit has been published since February 21, 1946. Although it was published in Hamburg, the city hall did not allow the newspaper to The Bremen Key use its coat of arms on its page. However, the authorities of the city of Bremen proved to be more sympathetic, allowing the newspaper to decorate its front page with its symbolic key. What differentiates the newspapers from others is its emphasis on the analysis of the undergoing events, and not on reporting the events themselves. Die Zeit focuses on providing background information, detailed topics, and in-depth analysis. “’Die Zeit’ is renowned for its passionate journalism, its incisive commentary and its refreshing point of view.” Its target audiences are educated, professional, with high incomes. Now, as when it was first published, the newspaper has stuck to its goal to “not be beholded to anyone in what [they] write. And you may be sure that an opinion we do not share will still receive our respect.” (Gerd Bucerius, founder) Axel Springer Verlag In 1945, Axel Springer started to build his publishing company. He had received some journalistic training while working for a news agency and at his father’s paper, Altonaer Nachrichten. “By the time of his death, the
    • Axel Springer Publishing Group was publishing Die Welt, a highly regarded conservative daily; Bild Zeitung, a daily tabloid; the Hamburger Abendblatt; the Berliner Morgenpost; and other newspapers; in addition to radio and television program guides; two publishing concerns (Ullstein and Propylaen); and an audiovisual enterprise”. (Britannica, volume 11, page 180) Die Welt (The World) Die Welt was established by Colonel H. B. Garland during the British occupation of Germany, in 1946. The managing director position was initially filled by Hans Zehner, a German novelist and journalist, who, due to political differences resigned and was replaced by Rudolf Kustermeier. In 1950, the control of the newspaper was handed over to the Germans. By this time, circulation was already exceeding one million for all of the 3 editions. Axel C. Springer purchased the newspaper for $1 million. In A typewriter used by doing so, he became one of the biggest publishers of newspapers, and Axel Springer Verlag in the 1940s publications in the Federal Republic. (History of International Newspapers: Die Welt in Germany Part 1) Die Welt established itself as a national paper catering to the educated Germans. Its readers are now primarily middle-aged, as its views are mostly too conservative to appeal to the youth. In the words of a London Times correspondent in Bonn, Die Welts is “conservative to the marrow, but with a strong social progressive influence”. Its conservative view is probably one of the reasons it has become one of the few nationally read newspapers. Der Spiegel (The Mirror) Der Spiegel, one of the most circulated news magazine in Europe, is well known for its aggressiveness and vigor. (Britannica) The first edition of the Spiegel Magazine was published in Hannover, on 4th January, 1947. Some publishing attempts had been made before, with Diese Woche, sponsored by
    • the British occupational administration. Rudolf Augstein, renamed the magazine to Der Spiegel. In 1952, the headquarters of the magazine were reassigned to Hamburg. Its format, due to the British heritage, resembles the Economist, or the American Time or Newsweek. The magazine has become renowned for its “well written exposes of government malpractice and scandals […] It is noted for its aggressive pursuit of news without regard to the piece of mind of the West German government.” (Britannica) The scandals it has fired are countless. Among them, were accusations against some of the members of Parliament who were presumably bribed into choosing Bonn as the capital of West Germany, and not Frankfurt as everyone anticipated. However, the one that made the magazine so famous took place in 1962. Known as the Spiegel Affair, the incident started with an article published in Spiegel’s 41st issue of 1962, on October 8, entitled “Limited Readiness to Defense”. The article criticized the military concept imposed by the Minister of Defense, the NATO maneuver “Fallex 62” and proved the general poor state of the army, claiming that German forces “were unable to withstand a Communist attack”(Britannica). The information had been revealed by Alfred Martin, a member of the military General Staff, by one of the Social Democrat’s military experts, the latter-chancellor, Helmut Schmidt, as well as the German Intelligence Unit BND. The Defense Minister at the time, Franz Josef Strauss’ began an investigation against the magazine, raiding its headquarters on October 26, 1962 with the help of the police. Rudolf Augstein, the owner of the magazine, along with other editors, was charged with treason and arrested. Even the writer of the incriminating article, Conrad Ahlers was arrested, although at the time he was on vacation, in Spain. Finally, in May 1965, two and a half years after the arrest of Augstein and his colleagues, as the Justice Department could not find incriminating evidence against those arrested, they were set free. The scandal had a major impact on the cabinet of Konrad Adenauer, and ended with the resignation of the Defense Minister. Bild Zeitung German media has a mostly local or regional character. “Of the 31.1. million newspaper subscribers, 17.1 million read local or regional newspapers.”( GERMANY Press, Media, TV,
    • Radio, Newspapers). The readers of these newspaper are usually literate (literacy rate in Germany is 99%), which is why it is surprising to discover that the most read newspaper in Germany is a tabloid with simple messages, big letters, often featuring nudity on its front page and covering especially “sensational” topics. Its motto is “unabhängig, überparteilich”(independent, trans-partisan). The tabloid was modeled after the British tabloid Daily Mirror, copying its interest for celebrity gossip, crime stories and political analysis. In Germany, the reduced price of its editions is one of the reasons for its popularity. Another is the controversy of its topics and the way it displays them. The newspaper has been involved in various scandals throughout the years, some for its unorthodox methods of gathering news, which are sometimes at the verge of illegality, or for its partisan point of view, as Bild is mostly a Bild First Editiion 24,June1952 centre-right newspaper. The first scandal in which Bild was involved was the student movement of 1968 (“68er- Bewegung”), a protest against the harsh authoritarianism of the West Germany government, and the poor conditions of students, as well as the desire to revolutionize the educational system that had been left almost unchanged since Prussian times, and had been poorly denazified after the war. Deeply conservative in their political orientations, the students managed to create student fraternities after the Second World War, which promoted nationalism and conservatism. Liberal student organizations were few and mostly insignificant at the time. This conservatism limited the influence of the students on the educational system, as they could not interfere with the way their universities were being ruled, or the curriculum they had to study, which was another cause of their dissatisfaction. Theory was preferred over practice in Germany, which made it difficult for the students to gain a sense of how things should be done in the real world. The most prominent problem was however the students’ desire to differentiate themselves from the past generation and somehow stop the persecution that was inflicted on them as a result of
    • Germany’s past. Fascism, although theoretically extinct was still part of their daily life, as many former Nazis were then working for the government, or at their universities. They were also subjected to discrimination by the outside world, who was also blaming them for the crimes committed by their parents’ generation. The press did not understand the students’ grievances, and chose to persecute them for they thought they were attacking the foundation of democracy in their country. However, the more they were persecuted, either by the government, which decided to reduce the funds allocated for the universities, or by the media, the more the unity of the students grew. At the time, one of the students’ biggest enemies was Die Bild, who refused to publish any positive articles about the students’ movement, criticizing it as time passed, and spreading their opinion to their readers. When one of the members of the student movement, Rudi Dutschke was shot in the head, in the spring of 1968, the students took their revenge on Bild, who had previously named him a public enemy. A phrase commonly used among the students then was “Bild hat mitgeschossen!” (Bild shot too). As a result, the students attempted to block the delivery of the tabloid by blocking its headquarters. When the police was called to disperse the students protesting outside, the incident became more and more violent, ending with the death of two students and the injuring of 400 more. Ownership and Monopoly In total, the 10 largest publishers make up 54.8 percent of the market, and the four publishers of magazines have 63% of the market share. The current situation has given rise to a debate on what this monopoly does to the opinion forming of the German people, and on the influence of these publishers. As the propaganda in Hitler’s times showed, the media plays an important role in persuading the audience, in the forming of opinions. This is why we cannot help but wonder if the media today are doing the same, but in a slightly less felt manner. Are the media influencing the way Germans now think about issues such as foreign politics, global warming, social problems … ?
    • There are still companies trying to breakthrough the media market in Germany. Although publishing companies are still emerging, it is now difficult to compete with the moguls of German media who have huge amounts of cash at their disposal as well as the loyalty of their audience. There is also a constant struggle among the top publishers to incorporate smaller ones and become even greater in order to keep up with their competitors. German media is also expanding outside the borders of Germany by taking over publishing companies from abroad. We might say that so far, the only sector that can still stand a chance to survive untamed by their influence is electronic media, which managed to stay independent until the 1980s. They require less money as they do not need huge office spaces and their impartiality can make them more popular with the audience. However, the audience for electronic media is fairly scarce, and few choose alternative media sites, preferring to stick to their traditional source of information in a different format, as most newspapers now also have online editions: http://www.zeit.de/ , http://www.bild.t-online.de/ …
    • Publishing Groups Pertaining to Georg von Holtzbrinck Publishing Group Publishing: - Verlag J.B. Metzler - S. Fischer Verlag Newspaper and Business Information - Rowohlt Verlag - Verlagsgruppe Handelsblatt - Kiepenheuer & Witsch - Die Zeit - Verlagsgruppe Droemer Knaur - Der Tagesspiegel - Pan Macmillan - Sch”Affer-Poeschel - St. Martin’s Press - Main-Post - Henry Holt - Lausitzer Rundschau - Tom Doherty Associates - Saarbr”ucher Zeitung - Farrar, Straus and Giroux - S”udkurier - Audio Renaissance - Trierischer Volksfreund - Picador - Prognos Education and Science Electronic Media and Services - Bedford / St. Martin’s - Holtzbrinck eLab GmbH - W. H. Freeman - Direct Relation GmbH - Worth Publishers - Handelsblatt online - Scientific American - Holtzbrinck Ventures - Spotlight Verlag - PARSHIP GmbH - Nature Publishing Group - Audible GmbH - Palgrave Macmillan - booxtra.de & buecher.de - Macmillan Education
    • - nl.bol.com - AVE Gesellschaft für Fernsehproduktion mbH - nature.com - Veranstaltungsforum Berlin - Macmillan India - HGV - Online Rubric Portals - ProServ Chief Editors of Der Spiegel Claus Jacobi: 1962-1968 Günter Gaus: 1968-1973 Erich Böhme: 1973- 1989 Hans Werner Kilz: 1989-1994 Stefan Aust: since 1994
    • References: 50 Jahre Axel Springer Verlag (1996) by Claus Jacobi Axel Springer, 17 April 2007, retrieved April 17, 2007 from http://de.wikipedia.org/wiki/Axel_Springer Basic Law for the Federal Republic of Germany, 2007, retrieved April 17, 2007 from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/German_constitution Bild-Zeitung, 15 April 2007, retrieved April 17, 2007 from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bild- Zeitung C,. Jacobi, Rise from the post-war Ruins (1946-1956), 1996, retrieved April 17, 2007 from http://www.axelspringer.de/englisch/geschich/inhalte/aufstieg/aufstieg.htm D. Wallechinsky & I. Wallace, 1981, History of International Newspapers: Die Welt in Germany Part 1, retrieved April 17, 2007 from http://www.trivia-library.com/a/history-of-international- newspapers-die-welt-in-germany-part-1.htm Der Spiegel, 15 April 2007, retrieved April 17, 2007 from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Der_Spiegel DER SPIEGEL - Das deutsche Nachrichten-Magazin, 2007, retrieved April 17, 2007 from http://www.spiegelgruppe.de/spiegelgruppe/home.nsf/Navigation/440FBE98BAF7E2F8C1256F D5004406DD?OpenDocument Deutsche Presse-Agentur, 2007, retrieved April 17, 2007 from http://de.wikipedia.org/wiki/Deutsche_Presse-Agentur Die Welt, 12 April 2007, retrieved April 17, 2007 from http://de.wikipedia.org/wiki/Die_Welt Die Zeit, 14 March 2007, retrieved April 17, 2007 from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Die_Zeit
    • German student movement, 2007, from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/German_student_movement History of Germany since 1945, 2007, retrieved April 17, 2007 from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/History_of_Germany_since_1945 International Directory of Company Histories, Vol. 44, St. James Press, 2002, retrieved April 17, 2007 from http://www.fundinguniverse.com/company-histories/SPIEGELVerlag-Rudolf- Augstein-GmbH-amp;-Co-KG-Company-History.html Newspapers, 1995, retrieved April 17, 2007 from http://lcweb2.loc.gov/cgi- bin/query/r?frd/cstdy:@field(DOCID+de0139) R. W. Benfiel, GERMANY Press, Media, TV, Radio, Newspapers, 2007, retrieved April 17, 2007 from http://www.pressreference.com/Fa-Gu/Germany.html