The mirror

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The mirror
description newsmagazine
language German
publisher Spiegel-Verlag Rudolf Augstein GmbH & Co. KG ( Germany )
Headquarters Hamburg
First edition January 4, 1947
founder Rudolf Augstein
Frequency of publication weekly (saturdays)
Sold edition 695,910 copies
( IVW 3/2021)
Widespread edition 701,388 copies
( IVW 3/2021)
Range 4.66 million readers
( MA 2020 I )
Editors-in-chief Steffen Klusmann (Chairman)
Melanie Amann
Thorsten Dörting
Clemens Höges
editor Rudolf Augstein (1923-2002)
managing Director Thomas Hass (Chairman)
Stefan Ottlitz
Web link
Article archive 1947 ff.
ISSN (print)
ISSN (online)
The Spiegel building in Hamburg

Der Spiegel (spelling: DER SPIEGEL ) is a German news magazine published by Spiegel-Verlag in Hamburg . The sold circulation is 695,910 copies, a decrease of 34.1 percent since 1998.

The news portal of the same name , which was called Spiegel Online from 1994 to 2020 , is operated by a subsidiary of Spiegel Verlag. The two companies founded a joint editorial team in September 2019 and have been using the same umbrella brand since January 2020.


Der Spiegel and its founder Rudolf Augstein play an important role in the history of the German press . The newspaper, founded in 1947, gained its importance in the fight for freedom of the press (see Spiegel affair ) and by exposing political affairs . It is a founding member of the European Investigative Collaboration (EIC) initiated in 2016 . It is classified by journalists as one of the leading German-speaking media .

The Spiegel has been published on Saturdays since January 10, 2015 (issue 3/2015). The digital edition will be available on Friday lunchtime at 1 p.m. Previously, the magazine appeared from issue 1/1947 to issue 19/1949 on Saturday, from issue 20/1949 to issue 35/1950 on Thursday, from issue 36/1950 to issue 52/1965 on Wednesday and from from issue 1/1966 to issue 2/2015 on Monday.


Like its direct competitors, Focus and Stern, Spiegel has lost circulation in recent years . The number of copies sold has fallen by 34.1 percent since 1998. It is currently 695,910 copies. This corresponds to a decrease of 360,763 pieces. The share of subscriptions in the circulation sold is 60.1 percent. The ePaper edition has also been included in these figures since the first quarter of 2014, with a current circulation of around 180,000 copies.

The sold circulation exceeded the million mark for the first time in the third quarter of 1980 and peaked in the first quarter of 1991 with 1.212 million copies.

Development of the number of copies sold
Development of the number of subscribers



The imprint of the first edition
The new building on the Ericusspitze, which we moved into in 2011
The building used by Spiegel-Verlag from 1969 to 2011

Even before the First World War , Lion Feuchtwanger published a magazine in Munich under the name Der Spiegel . This merged with Siegfried Jacobsohn's Schaubühne in November 1908 , but is not connected to today's news magazine Der Spiegel .

The first edition of the paper appeared on January 4, 1947, a Saturday, in Hanover . Under the title This Week , a forerunner had been published in Hanover since November 1946, based on American and British news magazines and initially under the aegis of the British military administration . The three responsible press officers were John Seymour Chaloner , Henry Ormond and Harry Bohrer , the latter as acting editor-in-chief. With the seventh edition, the paper was handed over to German hands.

Rudolf Augstein, who headed the Germany section at This Week , received the publisher's license and took over the magazine, which he immediately called Der Spiegel , as publisher and editor-in-chief . The first edition appeared in January 1947, was created in the Hanoverian Anzeiger high-rise and reached a circulation of 15,000 copies - the paper rationing of the British initially prevented higher editions.

In 1949 the editors passed the Spiegel statute :

“All news, information and facts processed and recorded in the Spiegel must absolutely be correct. Every piece of news and every fact is [...] to be checked meticulously. "

The Spiegel archive , which later became known beyond Germany and, with over 80 employees, is the world's largest documentation and research department of a news magazine, was supposed to make this claim a reality.

In 1949, Der Spiegel wrote "in a generally insulting tone" about the change of the throne from Queen Wilhelmina of the Netherlands to Queen Juliana . The British occupation forces banned the mirror for two weeks when the Dutch government complained.


In 1950, the newspaper revealed that members of the Bundestag had been bribed in the election of the federal capital so that they could vote for Bonn instead of Frankfurt am Main . Augstein was questioned as a witness in the so-called Spiegel Committee , but did not reveal the sources for the story and invoked journalistic confidentiality .

The Schmeißer affair followed in 1952 . Hans-Konrad Schmeißer , a former agent in the French secret service , had claimed that Chancellor Adenauer , Ministerialdirektor Blankenhorn and Consul General Reifferscheid had worked for the French secret service and had supplied a French agent with secret messages. In 1958, the debate about the emergency laws began in Spiegel magazine , which later (1960, 1963, 1965) resulted in various draft laws by Interior Minister Gerhard Schröder .

Even in its early days, Der Spiegel achieved great importance. The circulation increased massively: in 1961 it was 437,000 copies. With economic success, journalistic power and political influence also increased.

Spiegel Affair

On October 10, 1962, the article "Conditionally ready for defense" appeared in the Spiegel , in which the editor in charge, Conrad Ahlers, quoted internal documents of the Bundeswehr and came to the conclusion that NATO and the Federal Republic could not withstand a Soviet attack. On October 26, 1962, the Spiegel publishing house in Hamburg and the editorial office in Bonn were searched. Arrest warrants were issued on suspicion of treason , treasonous forgery and active bribery . Federal Defense Minister Franz Josef Strauss had Spiegel editor Conrad Ahlers arrested in Spain with false claims by the police and transferred to Germany. Two days later, Rudolf Augstein turned himself in to the police and was taken into custody. Large sections of the public showed solidarity with the news magazine, and students took to the streets for Augstein. Federal Chancellor Konrad Adenauer said in the Bundestag amid violent protests from the ranks of the SPD and the FDP and to applause from the CDU that an "abyss of treason" had opened up at the Spiegel . Rudolf Augstein was released from prison after 103 days. In 1963, Strauss said of the paper:

“You are the Gestapo in Germany today. You keep thousands of personal files. When I think of Germany's Nazi past - almost everyone has something to cover up, and that makes blackmail possible ... I was forced to act against them. "

Strauss had to resign after the affair. He had broken German and international law in so many ways, especially when he arranged for Conrad Ahlers to be arrested in Spain, that he could not be stopped politically. Chancellor Adenauer survived the affair relatively unscathed despite his "abyss of treason", especially because his defense minister had misinformed him to a considerable extent and the chancellor insisted that he hardly should have mistrusted his own minister.

On May 13, 1965, the Federal Court of Justice refused to open the main proceedings against Ahlers and Augstein for lack of evidence.

The affair led large circles, especially members of the younger generation and the critical intelligentsia, to commit themselves to the weekly magazine as a guarantor of freedom of expression , and founded the myth of the paper.

Further development in the 1960s

In 1966, in his book Where is the Federal Republic driving , Karl Jaspers sharply criticized the emergency laws , which in the event of an external emergency did not give the population a choice to refuse violence and power. An internal emergency could not occur at all because it ran counter to the idea of ​​a democratic state: "The emergency law robs the people of the legitimate, but no longer legal means of resistance that were left to them." On August 5, 1966, a constitutional complaint by the Spiegel before the failed Federal Constitutional Court . In 1968 the emergency laws became part of the Basic Law . In 1969, the Spiegel edition was 953,000 copies sold.


Spiegel interview with Yitzchak Rabin, Israeli Prime Minister, 1974.
Spiegel interview with Yitzchak Rabin, Israeli Prime Minister, 1974.

At the beginning of the 1970s, the paper had almost 900 employees, including around 400 in the editorial office, 100 in documentation and just under 400 in the commercial and technical departments. Manager Magazin was founded in 1970 and is published by a subsidiary of the Spiegel Group . In 1971/72 a co-determination model and more democracy within the editorial team was decided; also a profit sharing . Ad revenue decreased. In 1971 the number of readers was around six million - that corresponds to around twelve percent of all people over the age of 14 living in the Federal Republic of Germany. The share of the international circulation in the total circulation was 10 to 15 percent - since then , Der Spiegel has been a publication with an intensive reception abroad. The circulation was 923,000 copies sold.

In 1974 Willy Brandt called the magazine a “shit sheet”. In 1975, Spiegel correspondents from the GDR were expelled for “malicious violation of their legal provisions”. In January 1978 the GDR closed the Spiegel offices in the GDR, including the one in East Berlin , after critical reporting on forced adoptions and the publication of the second part of the manifesto of the Bundestag Democratic Communists of Germany , a document of an alleged opposition within the SED . The GDR viewed these publications as interference in the internal affairs of the GDR.

The paper published preprints by and about the dissident Rudolf Bahro , Die Alternative (EVA) and elements of a new policy (Olle & Wolter), Answers to Bahro (Olle & Wolter) and thus made his system-critical approach known to a larger audience.


The paper uncovered various German state and economic affairs , for example the Flick and Neue Heimat affair in 1982 and the Barschel affair in 1987 . The treatment of Barschel affair by the mirror is not without controversy. In 1988 he exposed the co-op affair .

Early 1990s

On January 18, 1993, the first issue of Focus appeared , according to the editor-in-chief Helmut Markwort, as a "competitive, not counter-medium to the mirror ". Then there were clearly noticeable changes. Focus was deliberately conceived as an antipole and alternative to the mirror ; This can be demonstrated in particular in terms of the political line and the comparatively gentle treatment of advertisers. Uli Baur , editor-in-chief of Focus alongside Markwort, clearly summarized the editorial line of Focus with reference to the well-known Augstein quote (“[…] in case of doubt, left ”): “If Der Spiegel is on the left in case of doubt, we are on the right in case of doubt . "

The newspaper suffered a circulation loss of more than ten percent and a decline in the number of advertising pages sold by more than twelve percent. In 1995 the number of readers was over seven million. It emerged Spiegel TV and mirror Special which a fifth of the levels generated -Umsatzes of 542 million marks (1996). In the first half of 1996, Der Spiegel was “the German magazine with the highest income from sales and advertising .” Gross income of 330.7 million D-Marks was achieved, which was almost one million more than Stern (2nd place) could and was before Bild am Sonntag (3rd place) and Focus . In January 1997, Der Spiegel celebrated its 50th birthday. By then, 2,649 issues had appeared. The layout was updated and has been in color since then.

Stefan Aust era

Spiegel interview in Berlin with the then US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice

From the end of the 1990s, under the editor-in-chief Stefan Aust and possibly also under the impression of the competition, observers noted that the Spiegel turned to liberal standpoints. When Helmut Kohl was voted out of office in the 1998 federal election , the first red-green coalition came about at federal level. Much changed in politics and society. The Internet gained momentum and the dot-com bubble formed. Critics accused the paper of having become tabloid and having lost some of its analytical depth. However, the articles have not become shorter or less up-to-date. In the run-up to the 2005 Bundestag elections , the paper “Wahlhilfe” for the bourgeois camp around Angela Merkel was certified. When asked which party they sympathize with, the 2005 Spiegel readers surveyed answered 36 percent CDU / CSU, 28 percent SPD, 18 percent The Greens, 7 percent FDP and 5 percent Left Party.PDS.

According to a survey of 1,536 German journalists in spring 2005, the magazine's influence is said to have diminished. 33.8 percent of those surveyed continued to refer to the paper as their leading medium, while 34.6 percent voted for the Süddeutsche Zeitung . In 1993, two thirds of the journalists surveyed had voted for Spiegel as the leading medium.

Since 1996 the magazine has organized the annual Spiegel competition for school newspapers .

The Spiegel-Shop was founded in 2002, the business purpose of which is the marketing of by-products from Spiegel- Verlag and other media.

Since October 24, 2002, the paper has also been available as a digital edition in Portable Document Format .

Publisher Rudolf Augstein died on November 7, 2002. He is also named posthumously as the official editor.

On August 6, 2004, the publisher announced that it was working with Axel Springer AG to return to traditional German spelling . However, this project was not implemented; on January 2, 2006, the reformed spelling was largely adopted in accordance with the recommendations of the Council for German Spelling .

Double head Mascolo and Müller from Blumencron

On November 16, 2007, Spiegel-Verlag announced that Stefan Aust's contract, which expired on December 31, 2008, would not be extended. On February 5, 2008, he was released from work and Georg Mascolo , until then head of the capital city office, and Mathias Müller von Blumencron , until then editor-in-chief of Spiegel Online , were appointed as his successors.

In February 2008, the publisher launched Spiegel Wissen in cooperation with the Wissen Media Group, an Internet platform that summarized the content of the news magazine Der Spiegel , Spiegel Online, Wikipedia and Bertelsmann lexicons and dictionaries. Almost all Spiegel articles published since 1947 except for those of the two current editions were also offered there free of charge . Since 2009, most of Spiegel Wissen's offerings, especially the magazine archive, have been integrated into Spiegel Online's website. In November 2013, the Spiegel articles in the archive could be read free of charge except for the past twelve months.

The children's magazine Dein Spiegel was launched in September 2009 . In February 2011, the responsibilities within the two-headed editor-in-chief were redistributed: Mascolo took over sole responsibility for the news magazine Der Spiegel and Müller von Blumencron was responsible for all digital activities, including Spiegel Online . According to published in March 2012 study "media brands as employers 2012" of the trade magazine Horizont applies Der Spiegel among workers in the media industry as the best employer among all German magazines and newspapers. On April 9, 2013, Mascolo and Müller were recalled by Blumencron "with immediate effect due to differing views on the strategic direction".

Wolfgang Büchner

After Mascolo and Müller left Blumencron, the previous dpa editor-in-chief Wolfgang Büchner became editor-in-chief of Spiegel and Spiegel Online on September 1, 2013. In December 2013, he announced that from 2015 onwards, the printed issue would no longer appear on Mondays, but regularly on Saturdays.

Büchner's decision to get Nikolaus Blome as deputy editor-in-chief from Bild-Zeitung to Spiegel caused criticism from Employees KG, who insisted on their right to have a say in appointing deputy editors-in-chief, and from the department heads, who rejected Blome's appointment. Büchner then agreed with the employee KG and the department heads that Blome will become a member of the editor-in-chief and not deputy editor-in-chief.

In 2014 a “laboratory for multimedia storytelling” was founded, in which employees from all sectors regularly met to develop structures for multi-format publishing and data journalism . Cordt Schnibben played a key role in the establishment of the company .

In August 2014, the print editors protested against Büchner's reform concept Spiegel 3.0, in which the print and online departments were to be given a joint department head. The shareholders of the publishing house supported Büchner's plans, but demanded that Büchner come to an agreement with the print editors.

Klaus Brinkbäumer

Wolfgang Büchner left Spiegel on December 31, 2014. His Spiegel 3.0 reform concept was not implemented. On January 13, 2015, the previous deputy editor-in-chief Klaus Brinkbäumer was appointed editor-in-chief of Spiegel and publisher of Spiegel Online. In May 2015, Nikolaus Blome left the mirror again.

On July 3, 2015, Der Spiegel filed a complaint with the Federal Prosecutor's Office in Karlsruhe on the grounds of "suspicion of secret service agent activity and violation of telecommunications secrecy" because it was assumed that US secret services had been wiretapped.

On December 1, 2015, Spiegel-Verlag announced that 149 of the 727 full-time positions were to be cut by 2018. In the spring of 2016, Spiegel appeared on a test basis in North Rhine-Westphalia with a regional section.

From June 27, 2016, individual articles by Spiegel and Spiegel Online were offered for sale under the Spiegel Plus brand on Spiegel Online, and on May 16, 2017, the digital evening newspaper Spiegel Daily, jointly published by Spiegel and Spiegel Online, was launched . On May 28, 2018, Spiegel Plus, Spiegel Daily and the digital edition of Spiegel were merged to form Spiegel +.

On August 22, 2018, Spiegel-Verlag announced that on January 1, 2019, Klaus Brinkbäumer would be replaced by an editor-in-chief consisting of the previous editor-in-chief of Manager Magazin Steffen Klusmann as chairman, the previous editor-in-chief of Spiegel Online Barbara Hans and the previous Spiegel reporter Ullrich Fichtner will be replaced. The circulation of the Spiegel had previously fallen by 118,000 copies within three years. There were also different views on how the print and online editors should be brought together, and Brinkbäumer was accused of a weak management style. On October 15, 2018, Spiegel-Verlag announced that Brinkbäumer will no longer be editor-in-chief with immediate effect and that his deputies will take over his duties until the end of the year. Fichtner's appointment as editor-in-chief was suspended until the investigation into the forgery scandal surrounding Claas Relotius was concluded . As head of the corporate department, he brought Relotius to Spiegel in 2014 and supervised his work until 2016. On March 20, 2019, Spiegel-Verlag announced that Fichtner would not be editor-in-chief. Instead, Clemens Höges was appointed editor-in-chief on April 16, 2019. Hans left the mirror on April 30, 2021. Melanie Amann and Thorsten Dörting were appointed as their successors on May 5, 2021 .


Accusation of endangering democracy

In 1956/57, around ten years after the paper was founded, Hans Magnus Enzensberger wrote a critical analysis of The Language of the Mirror , in which he put forward a number of theses: The German news magazine is basically not a news magazine , as its information content is in the The form of “stories” dress, Der Spiegel does not criticize, but its surrogate, the reader of the Spiegel is not oriented, but disoriented. Even after the Spiegel affair , Enzensberger did not revise this critical attitude ; he continued to see the magazine as a latent threat to German democracy . Nevertheless, in the 1950s he had emphasized that Der Spiegel was indispensable as long as there was no critical body in the Federal Republic that could replace it.

Linguistic style

In 1985, Wolf Schneider called the magazine "the top scoundrel of the German language ". In his style primers, he often cites negative examples of bad German from Der Spiegel .

Reporting on AIDS

The magazine's coverage of AIDS has been criticized as "inappropriate" in some cases . The sexologist Volkmar Sigusch described this form of reporting as “shocking” and “failure of the press that was once liberal ”. Others accused the newspaper of spreading panic through its handling of case numbers and through editorial statements such as "when children first die of AIDS, freshly operated patients, accident victims, hospital patients, without any stigma" or through the publication of corresponding letters to the editor, sick people, those affected and Stigmatizing the infected.

However, in studies, the “key medium of the mirror” often served as a showcase object to which criticism was pinpointed, which could also be found in many other media. In addition, in 1987 Der Spiegel received the first media prize from the German AIDS Foundation for a report , which is awarded for work “that reports knowledgeably about HIV / AIDS and thus contributes to solidarity with those affected”.

Dealing with the Nazi past in one's own magazine

After the media researcher Lutz Hachmeister was able to prove the activity of former SS officers as Spiegel editors and series authors for the early Spiegel , for example the authorship of the criminal councilor and SS Hauptsturmführer Bernhard Wehner for the 30-part Spiegel , which started on September 29, 1949 - The series “The game is over - Arthur Nebe ”, the magazine came under increasing criticism in 2006 because it did not adequately reflect its own Nazi- burdened past. In a full-page article, the Süddeutsche Zeitung and the media-political ver.di magazine M criticized the fact that the role of the former press chief in the Nazi Foreign Ministry and SS-Obersturmbannführer Paul Karl Schmidt alias post-war bestselling author Paul Carell marginalized as a serial author of the magazine and that SS-Hauptsturmführer Georg Wolff and Horst Mahnke advanced to lead editors in the 1950s, who had been suppressed from the otherwise Nazi-critical magazine. It was not until 2014 that it became known that the long-time head of Spiegel service, Johannes Matthiesen, as a former SS-Untersturmführer, and the editor Kurt Blauhorn, as a former Nazi propagandist, were also charged with the relevant charges.

As early as 2000, the Neue Zürcher Zeitung accused Augstein of deliberately giving former National Socialists the opportunity to become socially acceptable again. In addition, in the case of the Reichstag fire , Augstein is said to have contributed to portraying the controversial single perpetrator thesis as the only valid one. In 2011 Peter-Ferdinand Koch claimed that Rudolf Augstein had entered into a conscious cooperation with the former SS officers:

"A 'glossing over the past' and the 'public rehabilitation' of selected SS figures were, according to Koch, the price for getting the material from the 'conspiratorial Himmler Guard' with which they could be issued."

Reporting on the GSG-9 mission in Bad Kleinen

After the GSG-9 mission in Bad Kleinen in 1993, the Spiegel journalist Hans Leyendecker reported in a cover story that the incapacitated RAF terrorist Wolfgang Grams had been executed at close range by a police officer. He relied on an anonymous informant who was a police officer involved in the operation. Federal Minister of the Interior Rudolf Seiters then resigned and Federal Prosecutor Alexander von Stahl was retired. The prosecution's investigation later revealed that Grams shot himself. The Rostock Higher Regional Court expressed doubts as to whether Leyendecker had contact with a police officer involved in the operation. At the suggestion of Alexander von Stahl, the investigative commission for the forgery scandal surrounding Claas Relotius began an investigation in December 2019 as to whether Leyendecker had contact with a police officer involved in the operation or whether the cover story was based on an anonymous phone call. The investigation committee has the tape record of an anonymous call in which the caller pretended to be a police officer involved in the operation. According to Leyendecker, the caller should not have been the informant from the cover story. An investigation came to the conclusion that the statements of the informant from the cover story and those of the caller are identical. According to Leyendecker, the two are said to have agreed. The final report of the investigation commission was published in October 2020. While the then editor-in-chief Hans Werner Kilz confirmed the statement about the second informant, according to the investigation committee, the statements of other Spiegel editors, the course of the telephone conversation, the agreement of both statements and the years of silence Leyendecker spoke about a possible second source against the existence of one second informant. It came to the conclusion that Leyendecker's version most likely does not reflect the actual processes.

Accusation of racism and anti-Semitism

On December 22, 2006, Der Spiegel published a cover story by editor Matthias Schulz with the title Das Testament des Pharao , which relied heavily on theses allegedly put forward by the German Egyptologist Jan Assmann and in which it was claimed, among other things, that the Jews had monotheism "copied" from Akhenaten's Amarna religion. Assmann then protested, first in an open letter to the Spiegel editorial team and then in an interview in Die Welt “in all sharpness”, against the use of his name in the Spiegel article, which he described as “inedible and anti-Semitic soup”. At the same time, Assmann rejected the core theses of the article. The Jewish educational scientist Micha Brumlik was outraged that “the editor-in-chief of a highly respected magazine brought the republic the most anti-Semitic cover story to date at Christmas of all times”.

Italian media were outraged when the title page in issue 31 (1977), Holiday Country Italy - Kidnapping, Blackmail, Street Robbery, showed a plate of spaghetti together with a revolver. On the other hand, the largest Italian daily Corriere della Sera put it into perspective : Der Spiegel only made two mistakes: The cover picture shows a different pistol than claimed and: "The spaghetti is cooked too soft." The magazine's handling of clichés about Italy became an issue again in 2012 in connection with the shipwreck of the Costa Concordia , when Spiegel Online columnist Jan Fleischhauer suggested in a column on Spiegel Online that it was no coincidence that such an accident happened to an Italian skipper happened - in contrast to a German or British.

German press council on the title page "Stop Putin Now!"

The German Press Council disapproved of the title page “Stop Putin Now!” From July 27, 2014, because the victim photos shown on it violate the protection of victims. In addition, they would be instrumentalized politically. Der Spiegel reported neither about the disapproval of the press council nor about further criticism of the cover and the cover story, as complained about by media journalist Stefan Niggemeier .

Synchronization of news and advertising

In a 2014 study by the TU Dresden , the synchronization of news and advertising was examined. The result was that "the more advertisements these companies place, the more advertisements these companies place, the more often companies are reported on, firstly, more frequently, secondly, friendlier, and thirdly, with more product mentions."

Allegations of manipulation at the 2014 World Cup

During the 2014 World Cup , Der Spiegel published the article “Rotten Apples” by editor Rafael Buschmann , whose central claim was that the convicted game manipulator Wilson Raj Perumal Buschmann had predicted the correct outcome in a Facebook chat hours before a World Cup match . Perumal stated that the chat did not take place until after the game and posted screenshots of the chat. In July 2019, as part of the planned promotion of Buschmann to head of the investigative team, criticism of the article came up again, which is why the planned promotion was postponed until an internal investigation was completed. After the announcement of the planned promotion, Jürgen Dahlkamp , Gunther Latsch and Jörg Schmitt, the other members of the investigative team, left the investigative team and moved to other departments. On September 25, 2019, Spiegel-Verlag announced that Buschmann would waive the transport. Buschmann was unable to provide any evidence for his article and testified that his screenshots were lost when his cell phone fell into a puddle. Due to the lack of evidence, the article has been removed from the Internet.

Reporting on Jürgen Todenhöfer

In the 3/2016 issue of January 16, 2016, Der Spiegel published a review of the book Inside IS - 10 days in the “Islamic State” by Jürgen Todenhöfer , written by Özlem Gezer , under the title Der Märchenonkel . After the latter then initiated legal action against the article, in August 2016 the Spiegel issued declarations of cease and desist in all 14 places that it had described as untrue and removed the article from the Internet.

Advertising insert

The media journalist Stefan Niggemeier criticized in December 2018 that the health magazine Wohl looked like a journalistic product of the Spiegel, although it was an advertising supplement created by an agency and published by the Spiegel, and contained uncritical advertising articles on the subject of homeopathy . In May 2019, the supplement was discontinued after two years.

Invented content by the editor Claas Relotius

Cover of number 52 in 2018

On December 19, 2018, Der Spiegel reported that the long-time employee Claas Relotius had invented the essential content of reports and had also admitted this to superiors. Relotius then submitted his resignation. The newspaper spoke of “a low point in the 70-year history of the Spiegel” and asked those affected to “use false quotes, invented details of their lives, in fictional scenes, in fictional locations or otherwise in incorrect contexts in articles by Claas Relotius in the mirror may have appeared, for excuse me ”. The case had been uncovered by the freelance journalist Juan Moreno , who had become aware of discrepancies while working with Relotius.

The publisher announced the appointment of a commission, consisting of Brigitte Fehrle , Clemens Höges and Stefan Weigel, to investigate and to “check the failure of the in-house security systems”. The appointment of Ullrich Fichtner as editor-in-chief and Matthias Geyer as journalist , planned for January 1, 2019, has been suspended until the investigation has been completed. As the head of the corporate department, you had supervised the work of Relotius. Geyer remained the head of the corporate department, whose management Relotius should have taken over on January 1, 2019. On March 20, 2019, Spiegel-Verlag announced that Fichtner would not be editor-in-chief and Geyer would not be a journalist. Geyer also handed over the management of the corporate department. As a reporter and editor for special tasks, however, they remained tied to the editor-in-chief. In the final report of the investigation, they were accused of not following up on leads and delaying the investigation. On August 23, 2019, it became known that Spiegel-Verlag had given Geyer notice and that he had sued against the notice of termination. One day before the first day of negotiations on August 27, 2019, they agreed that Spiegel-Verlag would withdraw the termination and Geyer would sign a termination agreement. In October 2019, the company department was renamed the reporter department and the pages in the magazine were opened to editors from other departments. The previous deputy head of department Özlem Gezer became the new head of department .

Anti-Semitic clichés

In the 29/2019 issue of July 12, 2019, an article by the authors Matthias Gebauer, Ann-Katrin Müller, Sven Röbel, Raniah Salloum, Christoph Schult and Christoph Sydow with the title “Targeted Campaign” appeared. This gives the associations a value initiative. Jewish-German positions and the Middle East Peace Forum (NAFFO) accused of having massively influenced members of the Bundestag with aggressive lobbying and financial donations before the resolution was passed, which condemned the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) campaign as anti-Semitic . The authors speculated that the two associations would be funded by the Israeli Ministry of Strategic Affairs and would act on its behalf. Mossad involvement was also considered possible. The title of the online version was initially "This is how two associations control German Middle East policy" and was changed shortly after publication to "How two associations want to influence German Middle East policy". The article aroused severe criticism in numerous media. Among other things, the article “Wegbereiter des Judenhasse” appeared in the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, the article “ Der Spiegel” and the dangerous game with friends of Israel ”appeared in the Welt , the Neue Zürcher Zeitung the article“ Where facts are not enough , one makes do with hints: How the «Spiegel» feeds anti-Israeli conspiracy theories »and in the Jüdische Allgemeine the article « The rumor of the Jewish lobby » . The Israeli daily newspapers Jerusalem Post and Haaretz also reported on the article. It was criticized that the article used anti-Semitic clichés such as that of the all-powerful Jewish world conspiracy and that no evidence was given for the alleged connection to the Israeli government. In addition, one would rate the two clubs more strictly than other interest groups. The Spiegel editor-in-chief consisting of Steffen Klusmann , Barbara Hans and Clemens Höges rejected the criticism in a statement. The two associations would be treated like all other interest groups and legal lobbying should be allowed to be criticized. In addition, they would not have used anti-Semitic clichés, just listed facts. The German Press Council decided in December 2019 that Spiegel did not violate the press code with the article . The article would not have any preconceived intent with clearly anti-Semitic tendencies.

German press council on the psychedelics article

In September 2020, the German Press Council reprimanded Spiegel for a lack of separation of activities according to Section 6 of the Press Code in the article Instead of coffee, prefer a small dose of LSD . In the article published in the supplement S-Magazin and online, the author first describes the benefits of psychedelics and only at the end reveals that she has founded a lobby platform for the commercial use of psychedelics. According to the press council, this dual function should have been pointed out in a prominent place.



Editors (selection)

Former editors (selection)


SpiegelSansWeb font

The Spiegel font, which was specially developed by LucasFonts for the magazine, is used in the printed version and also on the Internet.


Web links

Commons : Der Spiegel  - Collection of pictures, videos and audio files

Individual evidence

  1. according to IVW ( details on )
  2. Restructuring at “Spiegel”: It will take another ten years until all online users are in employee KG. In: June 19, 2019. Retrieved June 19, 2019 .
  3. Everything new at “Spiegel” on the web - this is how editor-in-chief Klusmann wants to attract new digital subscribers. In: January 8, 2020, accessed January 8, 2020 .
  4. Almut Kipp: "Der Spiegel": Celebrating successes with scandals on from January 4, 2007
  5. Klaus Brinkbäumer, Florian Harms: On our own behalf: Saturday is now mirror day. In: Spiegel Online. January 9, 2015, accessed January 11, 2015 .
  6. DER SPIEGEL with subscription to the magazine. Retrieved June 11, 2021 .
  7. a b 70 years of Der Spiegel - 70 years of investigative journalism: On January 4, 1947, the first issue of the German news magazine appeared
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