Otto Brenner Foundation

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Otto Brenner Foundation


Logo of the Otto Brenner Foundation
Legal form: Foundation under civil law
Purpose: Promotion of science and research
Chair: Jörg Hofmann
Managing directors: Jupp Legrand
Consist: since August 3, 1972
Founder: IG Metall
Foundation capital: k. A.
Balance sheet total: 1,062,670.28 € (2018)
Number of employees: about 6
Seat: Frankfurt am Main

The Otto Brenner Foundation ( OBS ) (in its own spelling : Otto Brenner Foundation ) is a non-profit foundation under civil law of the trade union IG Metall for the purpose of promoting science and research. It is based in Frankfurt am Main and has a branch in Berlin .


Otto Brenner

OBS, named after the former first chairman of IG Metall, was founded shortly after Otto Brenner's death in 1972. In the early years she mainly promoted publications on labor law. As a result of the German reunification in 1997, funds flowed into it from the liquidation proceeds of IG Metall of the GDR , which is why the purpose of the foundation was expanded to include new focus areas. This led to increased funding for projects on East German issues. In 2004 the funds of the foundation were almost doubled by IG Metall, so that the topics of the foundation's work could be expanded again.

Management of IG Metall

Hugo Sinzheimer Institute for Labor Law

The Hugo Sinzheimer Institute for Labor Law (HSI) was opened on April 29, 2010 in Frankfurt am Main, initially as part of the Otto Brenner Foundation. The HSI has been part of the Hans Böckler Foundation since January 1, 2018 . It is in the tradition of Hugo Sinzheimer , who, as a legal scholar, legal practitioner, legal politician and sociologist, united the most varied of perspectives on labor law . The institute's fields of work include issues of appropriate employee data protection, protection against dismissal under labor law, strengthening of the parties to the collective bargaining agreement, collective bargaining and employee participation.

From 1996 to 2003 the Hugo Sinzheimer Prize was awarded by the OBS. The institute has awarded the prize since the HSI was founded. It is dedicated to Hugo Sinzheimer , who decisively shaped the labor constitution in Germany. The prize, endowed with € 3,000, is awarded for dissertations on labor law completed at a German-speaking university which, in the opinion of the prize jury, are outstanding.

The OBS today

The Otto Brenner Foundation sees itself as a science foundation and a "critical socio-political forum that deals with the social and economic development of Germany and Europe ". The aim of the OBS should be to continue the work of Otto Brenner within the framework of "targeted project funding". The leitmotif is to represent Brenner's principle "that the economy should serve society and not the other way around". The work of the Otto Brenner Foundation is financed from income from the foundation's assets as well as donations from third parties or grants from IG Metall. Since the Otto Brenner Foundation is non-profit, all research and project results are made available to the public free of charge, mostly in the form of own publications on the foundation's website.

The focus of the foundation's work is based on a large number of statutory provisions and can now be divided into four subject areas:

In addition to the conception and implementation of scientific projects, the foundation also works on these topics through cultural events, educational events and seminars, through cooperation with associations and educational institutions and the award of the Otto Brenner Prize for critical journalism.

New Land Foundation (SNL)

The SNL is a non-legal foundation managed by the OBS. The purpose of the foundation is to promote labor market policy projects in the new federal states. The purpose of the foundation is to be achieved in particular by promoting measures and projects

  • which serve to improve employment and training situations
  • that have mobilization and qualification effects for the participants and increase their chances on the primary labor market
  • which aim to improve the general labor market situation in the new federal states

In addition, measures from the Social Code and the European Social Fund as well as scientific events and research projects are to be supported within the framework of the purpose of the statutes.

Otto Brenner Prize

The Otto Brenner Prize is a journalist prize and has been awarded annually by OBS since 2005.

Studies of the OBS and their reception

The OBS publishes funded projects as workbooks or working papers. Both publication formats are available online, and workbooks are also available in printed form.

Study on ARD and dpa

In March 2010, the OBS published a study that examined the media coverage of the financial crisis from 2007 onwards . In this, the authors of ARD and dpa attested a “blatant journalistic failure”. When it comes to financial market policy, the dpa would follow the government's line of interpretation, "like the driver in the fog in the white median". They also “seldom made connections, and if so, only insufficiently”.

The editor-in-chief of the dpa criticized the study; it would contain "numerous false and misleading allegations". "Correspondent reports, dpa discussions, backgrounds or chronologies [...] were expressly not examined". Instead, the “entire investigation is based only on so-called 'summaries'”. In addition, the investigation would be based on “a canon of […] 212 reports” over a period of 10 years. The dpa basic service, however, consists of "around 800 reports a day, in other words more than 2.5 million reports in the period under review". Only those passages would be quoted that would “fit” at the moment.

The authors of the study, Hans-Jürgen Arlt and Wolfgang Storz , responded to the dpa report with a statement in which they rejected the allegations.

Study on SWR and NDR

In September 2013, the OBS published a study that examined the TV programs of the SWR and the NDR . In the foreword of the study - which was written by the managing director of OBS - the assertion is made that this establishes a "tabloidization" of the broadcasters, which has reached a "level that roughly corresponds to that of private competition". For example, broadcasting operations would only be maintained through high repetition rates, while the information components would actually be significantly lower than specified.

SWR and NDR criticized this presentation. The evaluations in the foreword of the Otto Brenner study would not have any evidence in the study written by Joachim Trebbe itself. In fact, she would certify to the SWR that "70 percent of the programs are information broadcasts". In terms of television journalistic information, the broadcaster would be “well above the share values ​​for national public and private programs”. The NDR also pointed out that the northern German population found the program in representative surveys to be informative (88 percent), up-to-date , understandable , present in the north and factual (between 87 and 91 percent).

The foundation rejected the allegation of a one-sided interpretation in a press release.

Study on Wikipedia

In January 2014, the OBS published a study by the journalist Marvin Oppong , which came to the conclusion that “PR and manipulation” are “omnipresent” in Wikipedia. In particular "companies, [...] associations, parties and individuals" would try "in the most varied of ways and ways to improve their image in public by intervening in the articles in the online encyclopedia". As a conclusion, Oppong describes that the "Wikipedia community [...] cannot master the problem itself". He also describes ten proposed solutions.

In February 2014, the Wiki-Watch department at the Viadrina European University examined the informative value of the study. It came to the conclusion that it offered "wild speculation, deliberate omissions and little new". Oppong seems to have "made a conscious decision not to be too precise and to scandalize the subject of covert PR in Wikipedia ". For example, certain requirements such as “verified users” have been implemented for years. The accusation against a well-known Wikipedia user that he was paid and / or edited in his own interest was "pure speculation". The changes “did not go beyond what every other author on Wikipedia does”. Another criticism is that "in most of the media [...] the results of the study [were] adopted almost uncritically, without questioning them in detail". The Wikipedia community itself would also be very critical of the study: “Oppong is all about creating a scandal. The study suffers from numerous factual errors. The research is on the status of 2 or 3 years ago. "

Political scientist and Wikipedia administrator Dirk Franke judged the debate to be important, but he does not see any threat to the quality or neutrality of the articles. He considers Oppong's arguments to be exaggerated. The corresponding control mechanisms are sufficient, and "Wikipedia is primarily about classic educational topics - not about articles about companies, politicians or celebrities". According to the spokesman for the Wikimedia Germany association , 9 of the 10 proposals by Oppong had already been implemented or in progress before the study was published. The OBS study therefore does not come up with any new suggestions for improvement.

Study on agenda setting

In April 2019 the study “Agenda-Setting at ARD and ZDF? Analysis of political broadcasts before the 2017 federal election ”. It was written by Marc Liesching and Gabriele Hooffacker from the Leipzig University of Technology, Economics and Culture.

Studies on right-wing extremist and authoritarian attitudes

Since 2016, the Otto Brenner Foundation has been promoting the Leipzig Authoritarian Studies Studies (formerly Mitte-Studien of the University of Leipzig ), which investigate the spread of right-wing extremist and authoritarian attitudes in the German population since 2002. The results of the study are regularly the subject of public debate.

Studies on the additional income of members of the Bundestag

Since 2013, the foundation has been publishing studies on the additional income of members of the Bundestag, which have been published since 2014 under the name “Aufstocker im Bundestag”. The results led to debates about lobbying influence on parliament and calls for such practices to be stopped.


  • Jens Becker and Harald Jentsch: Otto Brenner. A biography; Letters 1933-1945; Selected speeches 1946–1971. 3 volumes, Steidl Verlag, Göttingen 2007.

Individual evidence

  1. a b c d e "Otto Brenner Foundation" Public Directory of Foundations, Darmstadt Regional Council, accessed on January 31, 2014.
  2. ^ Board of Directors of the Otto Brenner Foundation
  3. Annual Report 2015-2019 p. 75, accessed on December 20, 2019.
  4. Annual Report 2015-2019 pp. 70, 72, accessed on January 31, 2020.
  5. Annual Report 2015-2019 p. 98, accessed on January 31, 2020.
  6. OBS science portal
  7. ↑ Committed to the dignity of working people:
  10. ↑ Call for applications for the Sinzheim Prize, accessed on January 31, 2020.
  11. The IG Metall Science Foundation:
  12. a b Mission Statement of the OBS:
  13. Annual Report 2015-2019 pp. 62, 74–75, accessed on January 31, 2020.
  14. Annual Report 2015-2019 p. 85, accessed on January 31, 2020.
  15. Annual Report 2015-2019 p. 23, accessed on January 31, 2020.
  16. Annual Report 2015-2019 p. 63, accessed on January 31, 2020.
  17. New Land Foundation (SNL)
  18. ↑ Purpose of the foundation: Foundation New Lands (SNL)
  19. Publications of the OBS
  20. Hans-Jürgen Arlt, Wolfgang Storz: Business Journalism in the Crisis , accessed on January 31, 2020
  21. ^ Frankfurter Rundschau: Sensationally bad , March 9, 2010
  22. ^ Dpa: Research at will: dpa explains reporting on the financial crisis , from March 8, 2010
  23. OBS: Statement of the authors of the study on the DPA notification , from March 11, 2010
  24. ^ Regional television - Boulevard in the Third . In: Der Spiegel . No. 40 , 2013, p. 137 ( online ).
  25. ^ Joachim Trebbe: Between Boulevard and Ratgeber-TV. A comparative program analysis by SWR and NDR , accessed on January 20, 2020
  26. SWR: Study confirms SWR television high information content , from October 1, 2013
  27. ^ Horizon: Study: NDR and SWR contradict allegation of tabloidization , from October 2, 2013
  28. NDR: Study by the Otto Brenner Foundation confirms NDR Fernsehen's high journalistic program content , from October 1, 2013
  29. OBS: Sender information on the information content is misleading. Otto Brenner Foundation rejects unilateral interpretation , dated October 8, 2013
  30. ^ Marvin Oppong: Covert PR in Wikipedia. Global knowledge in the sights of companies , p. 93
  31. European University Viadrina , Wiki-Watch department of the Faculty of Law: “Hidden PR in Wikipedia” - the study in the fact check , published on February 14, 2014
  32. ^ Swiss radio and television : Are PR agents breaking Wikipedia? February 25, 2014.
  33. Influence of corporations on their Wikipedia articles is increasing. In: Badische Zeitung . February 6, 2014.
  34. Cicero : The Tool of the Spin Doctors , January 23, 2014
  35. ^ Marc Liesching, Gabriele Hooffacker: Agenda-Setting at ARD and ZDF. Retrieved September 4, 2019 .
  36. Gabriele Schulz: Migration Topic No. 1? | German Cultural Council. Accessed September 4, 2019 (German).
  37. Die Welt : Germans' rejection of gays and Muslims is growing , June 15, 2016
  38. taz : Leipzig Authoritarianism Study - Racism also in the Middle , from November 7, 2018
  39. ^ Herbert Hönigsberger: The sixth parliamentary group - Secondary earners in the German Bundestag , accessed on January 31, 2020
  40. Herbert Hönigsberger: Aufstocker in the Bundestag - Additional income and sideline activities of the members at the beginning of the 18th electoral term , accessed on January 31, 2020
  41. ^ Sven Osterberg: Aufstocker im Bundestag II - balance sheet of the additional earnings of the members of parliament in the 18th electoral term , accessed on January 31, 2020
  42. Sven Osterberg: Aufstocker in the Bundestag III - opening balance of the additional earnings of the MPs at the beginning of the 19th electoral term , accessed on January 31, 2020
  43. Süddeutsche Zeitung : Every third MP earns on the side , from July 1, 2018
  44. Stern : Additional income - What do members of the Bundestag actually earn on the side? , from August 4, 2017
  45. Parliamentary Watch : Study recommends a ban on paid secondary employment , from August 2, 2012