Keystone SDA

from Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

legal form Corporation
founding 1894
Seat Bern , Switzerland
management Markus Schwab ( CEO )
Ueli Eckstein ( Chairman of the Board of Directors )
Number of employees 181.7 (previous year 179.9); Group 296.9 (previous year 293.3)
sales 32.753 (previous year 33.656) million CHF; Group CHF 61.250 (previous year: 62.614) million
Branch media
As of December 31, 2017

Keystone SDA (French and Italian Keystone ATS ) is the national news agency of Switzerland . It is based in Bern and is a stock corporation owned by the Swiss media and the Austria Press Agency (APA). It is the only complete news agency in Switzerland and employs around 180 people (including around 150 journalists) - the majority of them in the central editorial office in Bern and in 13 regional editorial offices. The group employs a total of 293 people. The announcement of massive job cuts led to a labor dispute in 2018. On April 27, 2018, the Schweizerische Depeschenagentur (sda) took over the Keystone picture agency with retroactive effect to January 1, 2018 and renamed Keystone-SDA. The management consists of Markus Schwab ( CEO ), Jann Jenatsch ( COO and head of the editorial team), Rainer Kupper ( CMO ) and Daniel Mathys ( CFO ).


Keystone-SDA disseminates information from politics, business, society, culture and sports in text, images and infographics in three of the national languages, German, French and Italian, around the clock, 365 days a year. It offers around 500 news and 150 sports reports as well as 1200 press images every day, as well as images from everyday Swiss life, portraits of Swiss personalities and stories in the form of picture stories and reports. In addition to almost all Swiss media, Keystone-SDA also serves foreign media and agencies. In addition, she supplies companies, authorities and organizations with news and advertising agencies with pictures and also takes photos on behalf of companies. As of December 31, 2015, the sda-direct database contained over 661,000 messages (all messages from the basic service since 1988), the image archive over 11 million images.

Logo of the sda ​​2010–2018


On January 1, 2016, Sportinformation Si AG (Si), which it owned before, was integrated into the Swiss Dispatch Agency and has since been the sports editorial team of Keystone-SDA with locations in Zurich and Geneva .

The Keystone SDA sports editorial team focuses on major public sports ( football , ice hockey , alpine skiing , Formula 1 , tennis and athletics ). In addition, Keystone-SDA-Sport reports news on all sports represented in the Swiss Olympic Association at relevant events and has access to an archive with historical sources and data that Si has built up as far back as the 19th century . In addition to news agencies as sources, a large network of national and international correspondents ensures that sports events are covered as completely as possible.

Keystone-SDA has been the owner and operator of the short telephone number 164 since the acquisition of Si. According to the “Ordinance on addressing elements in the telecommunications sector”, it can be operated until 2022 at the latest. If the number of 500,000 calls is not reached within a calendar year, the relevant number can be revoked.


Keystone-SDA has been offering a video service as an integral part of the basic service since January 2017. In August 2017 she tested a live blog during the Unspunnen Festival in Interlaken.


On January 1, 2018, Keystone-SDA introduced a new tariff system “Total Audience 1.0”. This takes account of the development of multimedia, according to which print is no longer the classic main use today. There is now a single tariff for the entire range, and all agency content can be used in multimedia. The tariff, which is traditionally based on the circulation, had led to considerable shortfalls in income due to the steadily decreasing circulation for several years.

spelling, orthography

Keystone-SDA follows the recommendations of the Swiss Orthographic Conference when it comes to spelling .


Keystone-SDA holds 50% of AWP Finanznachrichten AG. Together with AWP, she has been running the corporate publishing service sda ​​/ AWP Multimedia since 2012. She also holds 100% of PPR Media Relations AG. She sold her 50% stake in Communiquédienst news aktuell AG in September 2018 with retroactive effect to January 1, 2018 to the partner dpa .



Until the end of 1894, the Swiss newspapers were almost exclusively dependent on foreign press agencies for news not only from abroad, but even from within Switzerland. This was felt to be an unworthy state of affairs, and the newspapers were exposed to a collective bargaining agreement from the agencies. Charles Morel ( Journal de Genève ) , Hermann Jent ( Der Bund ) and Walther Bissegger ( Neue Zürcher Zeitung ) founded the “Syndicate of Swiss Newspapers for the Elevation of Their Dispatch Service”, which in turn founded the Schweizerische Depeschenagentur AG on September 25, 1894. It was supposed to stand "against foreign supremacy in the news market". Charles Ochsenbein became the first director, followed by Frank Filliol for the French service.

On January 1, 1895, the agency, which employed 10 editors, sent the first international reports. In the same year, the sda ​​also set up a domestic service with 50 correspondents in Switzerland. In this initial phase there was only one German and one French service; there was no means for an Italian.

Up to the turn of the century in 1900, the sda ​​was able to acquire practically the entire daily press in Switzerland as customers. The federal administration became a subscriber to the sda ​​in the 1920s. The agency was soon seen as the mouthpiece of the Swiss Confederation, including abroad, and was sometimes viewed as an official or at least a subsidized institution. The sda ​​always resisted this assumption.

During the world wars

The sda ​​gained special importance during the two world wars. It became the hub of European news exchange. Some of the warring countries communicated with one another indirectly via Switzerland. The reports of the main suppliers of the international reports Havas , Reuters and Wolff now came from warring countries and could no longer be considered objective. On the one hand, the sda ​​endeavored to obtain sources from neutral countries, on the other hand, it now consistently stated the origin of its information. Nevertheless, sympathizers on one side and the other scolded her as partisan. The emergency press law should ensure that Swiss neutrality is observed and that neither side of the warring countries is irritated.

Logo of the sda ​​1960–1979

After the seizure of power by the Nazis and during the Second World War , the compression tests still increased. Even the Federal Council intervened with the sda, saying it should spread more news from the DNB , which emerged from the Wolff Agency , and less from Havas and Reuters, in order not to provoke the Axis powers. In the Second World War, the censorship was even stronger than in the First. The newly founded APF ( Press and Radio Message Department of the Army Staff) was supposed to monitor compliance. At the same time, many sda journalists were on duty at the APF and often worked in uniform at the editorial desk. Again there were allegations of partisanship, particularly vehemently from the "Ha" office . However, the director Rudolf Lüdi managed to prove that the allegations were unfounded.

Lüdi tried in the 30s with the retransmission A.-G. Establishing an international agency hub in Switzerland, however, received too little support from the authorities. His idea was realized in Holland at the outbreak of the World War , but only lasted for a short time because of the occupation of the Netherlands that followed quickly . From the initiative, which should have been a neutral alternative to the agencies of the warring countries, the group 39 of the eight smaller Western European agencies, which still exists today, emerged after the Second World War .


A special chapter in the history of the sda ​​was played by radio, which enjoyed a rapid boom in the early 1920s. The sda ​​spoke the news itself, which made it very popular. During the Second World War, their messages became the most listened to radio news in Europe. Even after the war, the programs that began with “You are listening to the news from the Swiss Dispatch Agency” were an institution. But the somewhat official style soon no longer suited the development, and the SRG , founded in 1931, took on the design of the information programs in the 1960s.

Sports, financial news, picture and communiqué service

In 1927 the sda ​​renounced its own sports reporting and instead took over a majority, later the entire share capital of the sports information Arnold Wehrle & Co. founded in 1922 , the sda ​​initially operated less successfully with financial news and image . The sda ​​left the financial service to Cosmographique from the start. When this was sold to Reuters, there was no longer any Swiss financial news service. It was not until AWP Finanznachrichten AG, founded in 1957, was up for sale in 2002 that sda managed to re-enter this important market by gradually taking over AWP. Today (2017) she holds 50% of the share capital.

In view of the increasing importance of pictures in the communication of news, the sda ​​participated in the founding of Photopress AG by Eugen H. Suter in 1931, which quickly became the leading picture agency in Switzerland. Suter then sold the majority of the agency to Jean-Frey-Verlag , the sda ​​kept an exclusive contract with her. This led to problems after the emergence of Keystone in the early 1970s, whereupon the sda ​​surrendered its stake to Jean Frey and thus left the business with images. Every time Keystone changed hands, the sda ​​was then a candidate for the takeover; however, it never succeeded. It was not until Keystone was sold in 2008 that sda was initially able to take a 40% stake, 60% went to the Austrian APA. In 2017 sda took over 10% of APA, so that today (2017) Keystone is a 50-50 joint venture between sda and APA.

Logo of the sda ​​1980–1992

Another important pillar for news agencies is the transmission of media releases (communiqués). A forerunner for such a service of the sda ​​already existed in the interwar period in the form of the Tractatus service. In the 1980s, sda began to offer media releases under the title OTS (Original Text Service). In 2000 she founded with the German partner dpa the PR Newswire AG to market the service; it held 50% of the share capital until the end of 2017. Keystone has a counterpart to it, PPR Media Relations AG (formed from Photopress AG, which was resurrected for this other purpose).

From 1950 the telephone messaging service TND was an important part of the sda ​​product range. With the advent of the Internet in the 1990s, it was used to create the sda ​​online service. Other important special services that still exist today are the regional services, the people service, the archive service sda-Direct (new under the name Agenda since 2017) or the selection service sda-Selektiv.

The sda ​​also tried to create new services in numerous other areas. This includes the audio service, the infographic , ready-made pages and the industry transmission network MediaConnect, all of which had to be discontinued after a certain period of time because they were not sustainable or had become obsolete.


From the beginning, the sda ​​played a pioneering role in transmission technology and later in IT in the media. After the First World War , it was the first of the small news agencies in Europe to introduce radio telegraphy . For the next 50 years, the rattling of news tickers dominated the editorial offices of the media until quieter printers and finally computer-to-computer transmission could be used. After a commercially unsuccessful remote typesetting service , sda was the first editorial office in Switzerland to work on screens in the 80s. From 1994 onwards, the replacement of the teletype network by satellite transmission caused quite a stir . It was replaced 10 years later by the new, increasingly secure transmission options over the Internet.

Modern times

The period after the Second World War was marked by a steady upswing, interrupted again and again by a crisis. In 1967 the sda ​​moved from the building on Gutenbergstrasse in Bern, which had become too small, to the fourth floor of the Postbahnhof on Schanzenstrasse. After the sudden death of the then director Siegfried Frey, Georges Duplain was elected as the new director, who was replaced by a triumvirate after his retirement in 1979, consisting of the editor-in-chief Hanspeter Kleiner as well as the commercial and technical directors, Willy Schaer and Peter Müller. In the same year, the sda ​​moved to its current location in Länggassstrasse . Modern management tools were introduced in the 1980s. Specialized services were now being offered alongside basic intelligence, and this was also being sold to non-media.

In 1988, after the departure of editor-in-chief Hanspeter Kleiner with Oswald Sigg , a non - journalist became editor-in-chief of the sda for the first time , but in 1991 he was replaced by a journalist, Bernard Reist, who was also appointed spokesman for the triumvirate. When Reist was elected Head of Information for the Valais cantonal government in 2005 and returned to his home canton, Bernard Maissen took over the position of editor-in-chief. The Chief Financial Officer, Markus Schwab, was appointed President of the Executive Board, replacing Willy Schaer, who is retiring in 2003. At the end of March 2010, Müller also resigned for reasons of age, but remained Secretary of the Board of Directors. The sda ​​with its subsidiaries and holdings was converted into a group, which also included the newly founded sda Vertriebs AG and sda Informatik AG, which were integrated into the parent company and dissolved at the end of 2012 and 2015 respectively. In 2015, the sda ​​dissolved the online editorial team that had existed since 2000. Following the trend in the print media, the editors have been processing online and basic service reports since then.


The sda ​​has been discussing how many news agencies the Swiss media market can take from its inception to this day. In the early years, in addition to the sda, there was the small agency Berna, which was soon no longer competitive and was taken over by the sda. The monopoly position thus achieved was over by 1917 when the Schweizerische Mittelpresse SMP (renamed Schweizerische Politische Korrespondenz spk in 1947 ) was founded.

In 1961 the American UPI opened a Swiss service in German, but had to discontinue it in 1972. UPI journalists then founded the ddp Switzerland . With the start of the service of the other, the American agency AP , which is organized as a cooperative like the sda, in 1981 there were now even four agencies in Switzerland. Ddp was the first to lose the battle that followed and gave up in 1983.

Logo of the sda ​​1993-2010

The sda ​​fought the hardest battle with the spk, which is now largely financed by the economy. It was only after a very conservative opinion agency, located in the area of ​​the frontists in the 30s, that it wanted to develop into a normal agency in the 80s. This brought the sda, which lost some well-known customers, into great difficulties. In the end, however, the economy saw no point in maintaining a second neutral national news agency and withdrew its support. As a result, the spk had to cease operations in 1993.

The American AP played the last act in this story for the time being. Her Swiss daughter offered a German and a French Swiss service, which was always seen as a complement to the sda. Together with the mother's international German and French service, AP was an attractive and extremely cost-effective offer for the media. In 2013 the American mother withdrew from Europe and sold the German-speaking activities of the German ddp, which then renamed dapd . The new owners were convinced that in Switzerland it made more sense to work with the sda ​​than a ruinous fight for repression like the one they were waging in Germany. So the sda ​​took over the representation of the international AP service from dapd for Switzerland. The Swiss service, which dapd took over from the US Associated Press at the end of 2009 , was discontinued. This called on the competition commission , which suspected an abuse of a dominant position in the discount policy of the sda . The dispute ended with an amicable settlement, which, however, cost sda CHF 1.88 million. After the bankruptcy of the dapd, the traditional partner of the sda ​​in Germany, the dpa, took over the representation of AP in Europe. The representation of AP in Switzerland remained with the sda.

After giving up the Swiss service of the AP, the sda ​​is again, as in its early years, the sole complete news agency in Switzerland. However, this corresponds to the situation in all comparable countries. The media landscape of a small country can hardly carry more than a news agency, even if competition from a journalistic and customer point of view is desirable.

Developments from 2017

On April 27, 2018, the Schweizerische Depeschenagentur (sda) took over the Keystone picture agency , in which it held 50%, and renamed Keystone-SDA. The Swiss Competition Commission approved the merger on February 22, 2018 without reservation. The new multimedia company is to expand its business with non- media customers in particular. The merger took place through an exchange of stakes : The Austrian news agency APA brought its previous 50% stake in Keystone into the new company and in return received a 30% stake in Keystone-SDA. APA is to become a long-term IT partner of the new company. The long - time editor -in- chief of sda, Bernard Maissen , left the company at the end of 2017. The new head of the editorial team is the previous managing director of Keystone, Jann Jenatsch. Markus Schwab remains CEO .

At the beginning of January 2018, the sda ​​announced that the great pressure on prices caused by the difficult situation in the Swiss media would necessitate restructuring with 35 to 40 job cuts over the next two years. Economic reporting will in future be taken over by AWP, in which the sda ​​holds 50%. The domestic and foreign editorial teams would be merged. Reporting on topics from politics, culture, science, society and sport should be guaranteed, but the scope is decreasing. The restructuring will take place independently of the merger with the Keystone picture agency. The workforce responded with a warning strike. Because this had no effect, the employees decided on January 30, 2018, an indefinite strike, a very rare measure in the Swiss media industry. After the Board of Directors had shown willingness to talk, the strike was suspended after three and a half days. However, no agreement could be reached in four rounds of negotiations and the Board of Directors declared the negotiations to have failed. He suggested that the federal conciliation body of SECO be set up . The sda ​​journalists agreed to this on condition that the dismantling would be suspended during the negotiations. The WBF gambled on April 9, 2018, the arbitration committee chaired by Marc Häusler, government governor in the Bern region Oberaargau , a. Since then, there has been an obligation of peace for 45 days .

On January 20, 2018, the Tages-Anzeiger revealed that the price pressure had come from a group of media companies led by NZZ and AZ Medien , which threatened to set up a low-cost agency and demanded a massive price cut from the sda. Background is u. a. the cross-subsidization of the French and Italian services of the sda ​​by the German in the amount of 2.8 million CHF annually, which the media houses, which are mainly active in German-speaking Switzerland, no longer want to support. The largest Swiss shareholder of sda, Tamedia , is active in all language regions and can live with the cross-subsidization.

From 2020, the international German-speaking foreign service will be outsourced to dpa .

Directors and Editors in Chief

(Managing directors
  • 1894-1909 Charles Ochsenbein (18 ?? - 1915)
  • 1909-1919 Frank Filliol (1866-1935)
  • 1920-1942 Rudolf Lüdi (1874-1942)
  • 1943-1967 Siegfried Frey (1901-1967)
  • 1968‒1979 Georges Duplain (1914‒1993)
  • 1979-1988 Hanspeter Kleiner (1937) **
  • 1979-1990 Willy Schaer (* 1938) **
  • 1979-1990 Peter Müller (* 1945) **
  • 1988‒1990 Oswald Sigg (* 1944) **
  • 1991-2005 Bernard Reist (* 1948)
  • since 2005 Markus Schwab (* 1962)

** collegial management

  • until 1977 the functions of director and editor-in-chief were carried out in personal union, thereafter:
  • 1977-1988 Hanspeter Kleiner *
  • 1988-1990 Oswald Sigg *
  • 1991-2005 Bernard Reist
  • 2005-2017 Bernard Maissen

* also co-director

Chairman of the Board of Directors

  • 1894‒1902 Charles Morel (1837‒1902)
  • 1902-1915 Hermann Jent (1850-1915)
  • 1915-1921 Edmond de Grenus (1864-1922)
  • 1921-1926 Fritz Zeerleder (1864-1926)
  • 1926-1943 Fritz Pochon-Jent (1875-1950)
  • 1943-1963 Georges Rigassi (1885-1967)
  • 1963-1970 Walter Egger (1895-1991)
  • 1970‒1978 Pierre Béguin (1903‒1978)
  • 1978-1991 Theo Zingg (1926-1993)
  • 1991-2003 Fritz Latscha (1937-2005)
  • 2003-2018 Hans Heinrich Coninx (* 1945)
  • since 2018: Ueli Eckstein (* 1952)

Web links

Individual evidence

  1. [1]
  2. a b c Annual Report 2016 sda Group. ( Memento of the original from May 1, 2018 in the Internet Archive ) Info: The archive link was inserted automatically and has not yet been checked. Please check the original and archive link according to the instructions and then remove this notice. P. 4 (PDF; 4 kB). In: website of the sda. @1@ 2Template: Webachiv / IABot /
  3. ^ A b Rainer Stadler : SDA editorial team on strike. In: Neue Zürcher Zeitung . January 31, 2018, accessed February 18, 2018 .
  4. a b SDA and Keystone merge. In: Neue Zürcher Zeitung. April 27, 2018.
  5. SDA and Keystone merge. In: . October 30, 2017.
  6. ^ Jann Jenatsch: Keystone Assignments. In: Lead. Newsletter of the SDA group, No. 44, 03-2009.
  7. The SI is integrated into the news agency. In: 17th June 2015.
  8. List of assigned short numbers. OFCOM website .
  9. a b Hearing on the amendment of the ordinances to the LTC. DETEC website , August 31, 2009 (PDF; 157 kB).
  10. Art. 54 short numbers of the ordinance on addressing elements in the telecommunications sector . Federal Administration website.
  11. The sda ​​video offering met with lively customer interest. In: Lead. Newsletter of the sda ​​group. No. 76, March 2017.
  12. sda in «Live» mode. In: Lead. Newsletter of the sda ​​group. No. 78, September 2017.
  13. «Total Audience 1.0» - multimedia currency for multimedia content of the sda. In: Lead. Newsletter of the sda ​​group. No. 77, June 2017.
  14. German spelling at the SDA. ( Memento of the original from January 23, 2016 in the Internet Archive ) Info: The archive link was inserted automatically and has not yet been checked. Please check the original and archive link according to the instructions and then remove this notice. In: website of the sda. August 1, 2007 (PDF; 53 kB). @1@ 2Template: Webachiv / IABot /
  15. sda / AWP Multimedia produces customized media content. sda and AWP found a joint corporate publishing company. In: Lead. Newsletter of the sda ​​group. No. 58, September 2012.
  16. Keystone-SDA has sold News Aktuell AG. In: Klein Report . 19th September 2018.
  17. a b c d e f g Peter Müller: Successful through all the confusion of time. In: Personal . Special issue July 2015.
  18. Helen Brügger: SDA: Red numbers, red heads. In: plain text . January 18, 2010.
  19. Interview with Peter Müller. In: Lead. Newsletter of the sda ​​group. No. 48, March 2010.
  20. sda breaks new ground. Online and print from a single source. In: Lead. Newsletter of the sda ​​group. No. 67, December 2014.
  21. SDA and ddp cooperate in Switzerland ( Memento of December 27, 2011 in the Internet Archive ). Sda media release, January 28, 2010; Retrieved July 20, 2015.
  22. Positions of the editors-in-chief of sda ( memento of March 25, 2016 in the Internet Archive ) and AP ( memento of March 25, 2016 in the Internet Archive ). In: website of the impressum . March 22, 2010.
  23. Green light for the merger of the news agency SDA and Keystone. In: Neue Zürcher Zeitung. February 26, 2018.
  24. The SDA and Keystone are merging. In: Neue Zürcher Zeitung. October 30, 2017.
  25. Comprehensive reorganization. News agency SDA cuts 40 jobs. In: SRF . January 8, 2018.
  26. SDA cancels up to 40 digits. In: Klein Report . January 8, 2017.
  27. ^ After wave of layoffs: The SDA editorial team goes on a warning strike. In: Watson . 23rd January 2018.
  28. Yannic Schmezer: SDA editorial team remains combative. In: Journal B. January 29, 2018 (contains the wording of the sda ​​editorial team's resolution of January 23, 2018).
  29. Dismantling at the SDA: The strike is suspended on the fourth day. In: Retrieved February 18, 2018 .
  30. Labor disputes. SECO website.
  31. Talks required: SDA strike is suspended for a week. In: Klein Report. February 23, 2018.
  32. The arbitration board is in action. In: April 9, 2018.
  33. Markus Häfliger, Philipp Loser: This is how the big publishers brought the SDA to its knees. In: Tages-Anzeiger . January 20, 2018 (fee required).
  34. ^ Robert Müller: Dismantling the SDA. Hans Heinrich Coninx and Tamedia. In: WOZ The weekly newspaper . January 25, 2018.
  35. Keystone-SDA outsources foreign service to the DPA. In: Klein Report. January 2, 2020.