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A department [ rɛˈsoːɐ̯ ] is that part of a full editorial team that works on a specific topic. Most magazines and newspaper editorial offices are divided and organized according to departments.

A department always works independently on a certain topic, a certain rubric. A department head and several editors form a department, but in the case of very small departments the respective editor is often directly subordinate to the editor-in-chief , as there is no own department head. There are thematically different sections for newspapers and magazines .

The five classic sections of a daily newspaper

The five classic sections of a daily newspaper are: Politics, Economy, Culture, Local and Sports. The classic division in the newspaper is politics in the first book , economics in the second and the features section (the cultural section) in the third . This division is clear for the reader. The political and local sections receive special attention in daily newspapers. In large editorial offices, for example news magazines or national newspapers, there is also an international department.

The political department

The political department, also known as the newsroom, produces the newspaper's first book . In addition to political news, important economic, cultural and social events are also published here. Political journalists are the second largest professional group within editors after local reporters. Smaller reports are often taken over unchanged by the news agencies . The work in the political department depends most on being up- to- date , which is why it is most hectic shortly before the editorial deadline. The political section is an essential part of the serious newspaper.

The local department

The local part has existed since the 19th century. The local department processes all important events and news in the area. There are no limited subject areas in the local department - geography is the decisive factor here. All relevant events and news in the area are processed here and then published in the local section of the newspaper. There is always a lot to do in the local editorial office. The editors of this section rarely have access to ready-made articles from news agencies; they have to research and write most of the articles themselves. Events are not only reported here, but also often commented on at the same time. Since the reader of the local section is usually very familiar with the topics, incorrect reports are even more noticeable here than in other sections.

The local editorial team is the largest employer for journalists, there are good entry opportunities for young journalists. In Germany there are around 1500 local editorial offices, many freelance journalists work here, and schoolchildren and students also write and work for the local editorial staff.

The economic department

The economic department has experienced a real boom in the last ten years. Society is increasingly interested in the country's economic situation. In addition, private individuals are increasingly investing their money in stocks and other types of securities and are therefore increasingly interested in the economic section. Since the subject matter is very extensive and the editors need a lot of background knowledge, they often come from business.

The cultural department

All national daily newspapers have their own culture section, but this does not apply to local newspapers. The rubric of this section is the features section . The department is divided into further departments or subject areas, such as theater, music, art, architecture, film or literature, and increasingly also media.

The sports department

The sports department is the youngest. The sports section of a newspaper is very popular and interesting for many sports enthusiasts, especially on Mondays (results of the weekend).

Other departments

Daily newspapers often also have a section Miscellaneous or Panorama (also called Chronicle in Austria ), which reports on entertaining or tabloid topics, for example reports from the subjects of society, celebrities , curiosities, crime, accidents and disasters. Especially editors of the audience -, trade - and special-interest magazines often entertained other departments or other such. B. for literature, travel, science, education, technology, fashion or children. There are also special publications, for example on trade fairs or major events.

Cooperation between the departments

The department heads present their main topics in the editorial conferences. In editorial meetings, new topics and ideas as well as longer-term topic suggestions and reports that require a somewhat longer lead time are discussed and organized.

Sometimes the problem arises here that two different departments are interested in a topic and it would also fit thematically to both. An agreement must be found here on attractive topics. Since there are also hierarchies between the departments, such compromises always lead to competitive behavior. Conversely, topics can also disappear if no department takes care of them. The coordination between the individual departments is therefore of great importance.

Often the individual subject areas are divided among the editors within a department, depending on the qualifications and knowledge of the editors - example culture, one editor edits the book reviews, one comments on exhibitions, the third the new cinema films, etc. Another possibility is the division according to journalistic forms of presentation . One editor specializes in comments, the other in background reports or reports, etc.

Great and precise specialist knowledge is gathered from editors who work longer in a certain department; in addition, good contacts very often develop with the main actors in their subject area.

The department head

The head of department is responsible for his department under press law. He organizes and manages his department, delegates the tasks to his editors and is responsible for keeping deadlines. The department head, as the responsible editor, should check the articles according to content and style before they go to print. He also works with the editors in his department to develop new ideas on topics and concepts. He coordinates with the other department heads in the editorial conference.

Dissolution of departmental boundaries

Since 2001 the departments have been increasingly dissolved. They are replaced by cross-departmental collaboration at the news desk in an open-plan office, the newsroom.

Individual evidence

  1. Jürgen Wilke: From the agency to the editorial office. How news is made, rated and used . Böhlau, Cologne, Weimar and Vienna 2000, pp. 49–59.


Web links

Wiktionary: Ressort  - explanations of meanings, word origins, synonyms, translations