|publishing company||Berliner Verlag ( Germany )|
|First edition||May 21, 1945|
|Frequency of publication||daily except Sundays|
|Sold edition||83,690 copies|
|( IVW Q4 / 2019)|
|Range||0.28 million readers|
|( MA 2019 II )|
|executive Director||Holger Friedrich|
The Berliner Zeitung (BLZ) is a daily newspaper from Berlin founded in 1945 . It was founded two weeks after the end of the Second World War and appeared in the GDR until the fall of the Wall . The newspaper is published by the Berliner Verlag , which has belonged to the couple Silke and Holger Friedrich since 2019 . After the Tagesspiegel and before the Berliner Morgenpost, it has the second highest circulation among the Berlin subscription newspapers and is read mainly in the eastern districts of the city. The number of copies solddecreased from 216,603 copies in the first quarter of 1998 to 83,690 copies in the fourth quarter of 2019, a decrease of 61.4 percent. No circulation figures have been reported to the IVW since the first quarter of 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic . The position of editor-in-chief has been vacant since Matthias Thieme resigned in March 2020.
Foundation and time in the GDR
The Berliner Zeitung is the first German daily newspaper to be founded after the Second World War. It first appeared on May 21, 1945, initially also in all of Berlin. With increasing confrontation in the Cold War (such as the Berlin blockade ), the spread in the western sectors was increasingly restricted, so that from autumn 1948 to 1990 it was mainly spread in East Berlin .
The first edition of the Berliner Zeitung cost 10 pfennigs, consisted of four pages and started with the headline: Berlin lives on! Initially it was subtitled " Organ of the Red Army Command ". The first editor-in-chief was the Soviet colonel Alexander Kirsanov . The editorial team consisted of Soviet officers, former resistance fighters and members of the KPD . Later other journalists joined the group, who in the eyes of those in power at the time appeared to be largely “unencumbered” politically. The newspaper was initially printed in a small print shop on Urbanstrasse in Berlin-Kreuzberg .
In July 1945, the publisher's position was transferred to the city council of Berlin. The editor-in-chief was taken over by Rudolf Herrnstadt , a former employee of the Berliner Tageblatt and former agent of the Soviet foreign secret service GRU . Even Fritz Erpenbeck was an important figure in the establishment phase. Both managed to get Helmut Kindler to work for a short time . Initially, the editorial office was located in an abandoned house in Berlin-Friedrichsfelde , but later moved to Lindenstrasse 41 in Berlin-Mitte . From August 2, 1945, the title was given the addition "Official organ of the Magistrate of Berlin".
The anti-fascist, soon to be socialist line ran through the first issues, long before the SED and the GDR were founded. In an article dated March 14, 1946, a member of the editorial team replied "Th." To a letter to the editor who complained about the poor supply situation in Berlin that she should instead of complaining, organize, for example in a "women's committee" or a " anti-fascist party ”. On the other hand, for example, until the end of March 1949, the radio programs of RIAS Berlin and Northwest German Broadcasting (NWDR) - predecessors and a. of the Sender Free Berlin - reprinted.
In 1953 the Berliner Zeitung was subordinated to the Central Committee of the SED . The daily newspaper of the GDR capital, with a circulation of over 345,000 copies daily, did not operate as an organ of the SED district management (Berlin was considered a district) like the 14 other district newspapers of the GDR , but the Berliner Verlag acted as publisher; the reporting was sometimes a little more open and critical. Nevertheless, the Berliner Zeitung was part of the SED press monopoly at this time. Since 1973 it has been based in the house of the Berlin publishing house .
Since the turning point
Gruner + Jahr
Even before the reunification in 1990, the Berliner Verlag and with it the Berliner Zeitung and BZ in the evening went from the PDS to a joint venture between Maxwell Communications and Gruner + Jahr . In 1992 the publishing house Gruner + Jahr took over the Berliner Zeitung and tried, with high financial outlay, to convert the largest newspaper in East Berlin into a “capital city newspaper”. Erich Böhme , prominent editor from 1990 to 1994, formulated the claim to make the Berliner Zeitung the “German Washington Post ”. In the newspaper industry, this has not yet been met.
Georg von Holtzbrinck publishing group
After Gruner + Jahr decided to get out of the daily newspaper business, the Georg von Holtzbrinck publishing group took over the Berliner Verlag with Berliner Zeitung, Berliner Kurier and Stadtblatt Tip in mid-2002 for an estimated 200–250 million euros. In December 2002 the Federal Cartel Office prohibited the sale. The Holtzbrinck publishing group then tried to enforce the merger with a ministerial permit. However, when the chances for this dwindled in the course of the proceedings, the Stuttgart-based company announced that it would sell the “Tagesspiegel” belonging to them to the former Holtzbrinck manager Pierre Gerckens in order to invalidate the accusation of market concentration . The Bundeskartellamt initially approved the sale of the Tagesspiegel to Gerckens, but continued to examine the takeover of the Berliner Zeitung by Holtzbrinck. In December 2003, the Federal Cartel Office issued a warning to the Holtzbrinck Group regarding the purchase of the Berliner Zeitung; in February 2004 it again prohibited the Holtzbrinck Group from taking over the Berliner Zeitung. According to the competition watchdogs, the acquisition of the Berlin publishing house would have led to the emergence of a dominant position for Holtzbrinck on the reader market for regional subscription daily newspapers in Berlin and the local reader market for city illustrators. The shares in the “Tagesspiegel”, which Holtzbrinck was supposed to sell to ex-manager Pierre Gerckens, are to be attributed to Holtzbrinck. The Holtzbrinck company sued against this. In October 2004 the Düsseldorf Higher Regional Court rejected the media company's complaint against the Federal Cartel Office's ban. Gercken's position is that of a trustee in favor of Holtzbrinck.
BV German newspaper holding company
The Holtzbrinck publishing group therefore sold the Berlin publishing house to BV Deutsche Zeitungsholding in autumn 2005 for an estimated 150 to 180 million euros . After their announcement, the takeover plans met with strong criticism within the publishing house, because it was feared that the British media manager David Montgomery's expectations of high returns could impair the journalistic quality of the newspaper. It was also criticized that editor-in-chief Josef Depenbrock also acted as managing director. With the sale of the Berlin publishing house, a German newspaper company came into the possession of a foreign financial investor for the first time .
The exposure of two employees of the Berliner Zeitung as Stasi IMs in March 2008 brought the paper into the headlines. In an article from April 1, 2008, editor-in-chief Depenbrock, who feared for the credibility of his paper, announced clarification. One will “check every single journalist in this editorial team and also sift through the files of the Birthler authority if possible”. The investigation was to be carried out by scientists from the Free University of Berlin and the European University Viadrina in Frankfurt (Oder) , who rejected the project a few days later.
On January 13th, 2009 the Cologne publisher M. DuMont Schauberg announced that it would take over the activities of the Mecom Group in Germany including the Berliner Zeitung . According to its own information, Mecom achieved a sales price of 152 million euros for all of its publications. In March 2009 the sale became legally binding with the approval of the Mecom shareholders. At the same time it became known that the DuMont Group holds 35 percent of the holding, of which the Berliner Zeitung is part (PMB Presse- und Medienhaus Berlin, with holdings in the Berliner Zeitung , Berliner Kurier , Tip , Berliner Abendblatt , Hamburger Morgenpost and Netzeitung ) resold to the Cologne publishing house ( Helmut Heinen ).
In April 2010, the Berliner Zeitung and the Frankfurter Rundschau , the Kölner Stadt-Anzeiger and the Mitteldeutsche Zeitung founded the DuMont editorial community, which supplied the newspapers with national content. From August 2011, the jacket section of the Frankfurter Rundschau was produced in Berlin. Since June 2013 it has been produced again in Frankfurt. On November 1, 2016, the editorial team was replaced by Berliner Newsroom GmbH, which is the service provider for the content of the Berliner Zeitung and the Berliner Kurier. From October 2018 to January 2020, the Berliner Zeitung obtained its national content from the editorial network Germany .
Married couple Friedrich
In 2019, the owner DuMont sold the newspaper to the couple Silke and Holger Friedrich, owners of the E-Werk , operators of the Berlin Metropolitan School and the technology consultancy Core. The couple told Spiegel that they are not planning to intervene in day-to-day editorial business, but that they are advocating a competitive , non- hierarchical management style (“ the better idea wins ”), in which nobody is “to blame, except ourselves”. In terms of content, the aim is to strengthen the profile “with an objectified, fact-based reporting” in order to “enrich the political and social discourse for and from Berlin”. "A comfortable double-digit million amount" serves as a budget basis, and the affiliated printing company was bought for "a seven-digit amount". The Federal Cartel Office approved the takeover on September 30, 2019. On November 1, 2019, Michael Maier became editor of the Berliner Zeitung and chairman of the management of the Berliner Verlag. With the change of ownership, the website design and infrastructure were revised. In an essay received critically in the media, the Friedrich couple explained on November 8, 2019 that they viewed the purchase of the newspaper as a “contribution to civic engagement” and “a contribution to the extra-parliamentary opposition in a new format, also in the sense of civic self-empowerment.” Triggered by Researching the world , Holger Friedrich stated on November 15, 2019 that he had signed a declaration of commitment to the Stasi at the end of the 1980s. Shortly afterwards, the newspaper was criticized for having written a “jubilation report” about an East German biotech company in which publisher Holger Friedrich is a shareholder and sits on the supervisory board. According to Spiegel, the company paid him remuneration of 23,000 euros in 2018 for his work as a member of the Supervisory Board. Upon request, Friedrich had his lawyer inform him that he “currently sees no reason to comment on internal business matters”. In response to the research into Friedrich's Stasi activities, the editor-in-chief declared its independence in a statement on November 15, 2019 and emphasized the intention to deal “objectively and appropriately with the situation” and continue to “contribute to coming to terms with GDR history " afford to. After Marianne Birthler and Ilko-Sascha Kowalczuk investigated the files of Friedrich's perpetrators and victims , the Berliner Zeitung and the Robert Havemann Society published the twenty-six-page investigation report in mid-December in which Birthler and Kowalczuk pleaded for disclosure of all files and waived it, "To evaluate the findings resulting from the documents politically or morally and thus to give it a label, so to speak." From now on the newspaper would accompany the topic in "an adequate processing of the GDR history journalistically and with discussion events [...]."
On July 20, 2020, Michael Maier resigned from the position of Chairman of the Management Board, but remained the editor.
The Berliner Zeitung is one of the German daily newspapers with the greatest loss of circulation in recent years. The sold circulation fell from 216,603 copies in the first quarter of 1998 to 83,690 copies in the fourth quarter of 2019, a decrease of 61.4 percent. No circulation figures have been reported to the IVW since the first quarter of 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic .
Development of the number of copies sold
|May – July 1945||Colonel Alexander Kirsanov|
|July 1945 – May 1949||Rudolf Herrnstadt|
|May – July 1949||Gerhard Kegel|
|July – September 1949||Georg Stibi|
|1999-2001||Martin E. Süskind|
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