WOZ The weekly newspaper

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WOZ The weekly newspaper
Logo WOZ
description Swiss weekly newspaper
First edition October 1, 1981
Frequency of publication weekly
Sold edition 18,015 (previous year 17,618) copies
( WEMF circulation bulletin 2019)
Widespread edition 18,015 (previous year 17,618) copies
(WEMF circulation bulletin 2019)
Range 0.097 (previous year 0.084) million readers
(WEMF MACH Basic 2019-II)
Editors-in-chief Editorial conference
Editorial management:
Silvia Süess, Kaspar Surber, Yves Wegelin
editor Cooperative infolink
Web link www.woz.ch

WOZ The weekly newspaper is a cooperatively organized supraregional left-wing weekly newspaper in Switzerland with headquarters in Zurich. Infolink is the publisher of the newspaper; It is financially supported by the ProWOZ development association. The German-language edition of Le Monde diplomatique is enclosed with the WOZ once a month .


Founding years

When WOZ was founded in 1981, three different groups, political directions and journalistic temperaments came together. The main impetus came from the editorial team of Konzept, a critical monthly supplement to the Zurich student. There were also people from the former readers' newspaper, an alternative project from the new social movements after '68, as well as, thirdly, representatives from the Zurich movement newspaper Eisbrecher. First a daily, then a weekly newspaper was planned, which would create a counter-public through critical journalism and at the same time serve as an organ for the social movements.

The zero number prepared for August 1981 contained a gloss by Niklaus Meienberg who caricatured censorship and self-censorship at the Zürcher Tages-Anzeiger . The Tages-Anzeiger-Verlag then refused at short notice to print the number, so a replacement printer had to be found. The breach of contract gave the new product some effective advertising media vortex. In October 1981 the WOZ launched the first issue. The founding members included Marianne Fehr, Georg Hodel, Nicolas Lindt , Res Strehle , Lotta Suter and Daniel Wiener. The WOZ worked as a self-governing collective and paid standard wages, which at the beginning were far below the rates customary in the industry. Only gradually did a division of labor between editorial, production and administration solidify.

In the first issues, the WOZ published, among other things, several revelations on Swiss domestic politics by the journalist Jürg Frischknecht and documented internal-left debates. Already on the occasion of the peace movement in 1981/82, then with the debate about the dying forests that began in 1983, there were strongly diverging opinions within the WOZ collective. These came to a head in the infamous so-called computer debate of 1985/86. At that time, a fundamentalist group within the collective opposed the WOZ buying large sentence computers because they were being surrendered to the new technologies of domination. In the end, a pragmatic-critical majority prevailed and advocated the controlled use of the new technologies. The minority faction withdrew, and the WOZ opened up politically and journalistically.

Expansion and crisis

Prominent authors, such as Niklaus Meienberg, Jürg Frischknecht and Laure Wyss , have worked with WOZ from the beginning ; and Max Frisch , Adolf Muschg and Peter Bichsel wrote regularly for them. Since large advertisements were not used for political reasons, the number of advertisements only amounted to 15 percent of sales, which guaranteed journalistic independence, but restricted financial leeway. Despite considerable journalistic success, the WOZ periodically got into financial difficulties, which it mastered thanks to the solidarity campaigns of its readers. The ProWOZ support association, which was founded in 1984 and currently has around 900 members, contributed significantly to this.

Since October 1987 the WOZ has consistently used the large interior I in the sense of gender-equitable language . The cultural boycott of Swiss cultural workers in 1990/91 was a high point in terms of external impact in view of the Fichenskandal , which was partially coordinated and journalistically supported by WOZ. At the same time, the WOZ organized a successful series of lectures entitled “Brave New World Order”, which resulted in a book. This started a collaboration with Rotpunktverlag , which included the research by Stefan Keller and Susan Boos , which was first published in WOZ .

In 1995, on the initiative of Andreas Simmen, WOZ acquired a license for a German-language edition of the monthly newspaper Le Monde diplomatique , which has since been published in cooperation with the Berlin taz . In Switzerland, the company is supported by WOZ - Internationale Medienprodukte AG (IMAG).

At the end of the 1990s, a new generation of journalists joined the WOZ, including Constantin Seibt , whose column on the Monster family achieved cult status. In 2002, WOZ staged an offer to take over the Weltwoche, which was then for sale, to attract the public . In 2003, the collective decided to expand and expand the newspaper, which in the short term increased the circulation to 14,000 copies, but in 2005 almost led to bankruptcy. This could only be averted thanks to stronger financial controls and more rigid administrative structures. At the same time, a new editor-in-chief, Susan Boos, was elected, assisted by two deputies. The editorial management worked mainly in the organizational-administrative area and in the representation to the outside. Furthermore, she did not have any journalistic authority; The editorial conference and the general assembly of the cooperative remained the final decision-making body.


After the reorganization, the WOZ continued to provide additional services in addition to its weekly production. In 2007 she launched Der Schweizer , with which a planned newspaper of the right-wing national SVP was satirized. After the devastation caused by the financial crisis by the banks, she published an "unbelievable exclusive interview" in October 2008 with ex-UBS boss Marcel Ospel , who fictitiously announced: "I'm sorry ..."

Since 2005, the WOZ company has always been in the black thanks to the friends' association and other donations from a loyal circle of readers. On September 16, 2010 the newspaper appeared in a new design. The layout was largely developed in-house by Helen Ebert. Since then, the newspaper has had two frets, is four-color throughout and opens the second fret with a three-page topic. Thanks to the growing interest in alternative information in the wake of the economic crisis, the circulation of the WOZ continued to grow. In special editions she described the 300 richest in Switzerland (2012) or published 54 articles in the Wunsch-WOZ on topics that the readers wanted (2014). The secret WOZ in October 2013 caused a special stir. After the newspaper had followed the heels of Swiss intelligence chief Markus Seiler in a report, he filed a lawsuit with the press council for invasion of privacy, but this was dismissed. In November 2015, the WOZ expanded the culture & knowledge section in deliberate contrast to other newspapers; In 2019 she launched the new magazine "whereby", which appears six times a year as a supplement and is each dedicated to a topic.

The weekly newspaper's circulation has risen to 18,000 copies over the past few years, but has a readership that is around six times as high as it is used more than once. According to the editorial statute of 1999, which is still in effect, the WOZ remains a “left and independent weekly newspaper”, whereby being left means “to describe, question and analyze all those power relations that prevent people from living freely and in dignity”. Thanks to continuous, critical and relevant reporting, for example on migration policy, environmental and economic policy, as well as fundamental social analyzes, the WOZ has become a recognized and undisputed corrective in the Swiss media landscape.

In 2017, long-time editor-in-chief Susan Boos resigned; the newly elected team of three currently consists of Silvia Süess, Kaspar Surber and Yves Wegelin. A five-person management team that remains committed to the general assembly acts for the entire company.

Cooperative model

To this day, equal pay has been maintained throughout the company; wages have increased significantly in recent years and have been brought into line with industry standards. The monthly standard wage is currently 5400 francs (gross, without the WO classification depending on the course of business). The fees for freelance workers have also been increased accordingly. Over fifty permanent employees share around 34 full-time positions in the three departments of editorial, production and publishing. The turnover of the entire company is around 5 million francs; This makes the infolink cooperative the largest self-managed company in Switzerland. The cooperative structure with relatively flat hierarchies is undisputed in theory and practice.

The WOZ has remained primarily a print product; the articles in the print edition will be published on the WOZ website at different times, with all of them available in the archive after four weeks at the latest. The website, which has been modernized several times, sees itself as an additional service for the time being and only occasionally offers journalistic added value. In addition to a digital subscription, the WOZ now also appears weekly as an app on the mobile phone.

The newspaper continues to be financed for the most part from subscription income, supplemented by the friends' association, which primarily enables complex special reports. That is why the newspaper has been less affected by the massive drop in advertisements on the newspaper market in recent years. Instead, it has repeatedly been hit by upheavals in the printing industry. In 2003 she moved from the alternative press Ropress to Solprint AG in Solothurn. From 2008 the WOZ was printed at NZZ Print in Schlieren, after its closure from July 2015 at the St. Gallen location. At the beginning of November 2016, the print job was awarded to Ringier Print in Adligenswil LU. After it had also announced the closure, the WOZ has been produced at Mittelland Zeitungsdruck AG in Aarau since July 2018 .

Edition development

Development of the number of copies sold
2008 to 2018 WEMF


Web links

Individual evidence

  1. [1] , p. 32 (PDF).
  2. The current Zurich FDP city councilor Filippo Leutenegger only took part in a few meetings, but quickly said goodbye to the project.
  3. See Regula Bochsler: The Left and the Bad Computer. In: NZZGeschichte, Issue 2, July 2015, pp. 10–12.
  4. See Fredi Lerch / Andreas Simmen (ed.): Der leergeglaubte Staat. Documentation of a debate. Rotpunktverlag, Zurich 1991.
  5. A list of all previous WOZ books can be found in Howald 2018, pp. 345f.
  6. Constantin Seibt, Carmen Berchtold, Jürg Fischer; Gertrud Vogler (photos): The book Monster, 100 cases from the practice of the Monster family [columns in the WOZ]. WOZ, Zurich 1997.
  7. https://presserat.ch/complaints/archivdokumente-illustrationen-montagen-verschleiern-des-berufs/ (accessed on May 14, 2020).
  8. ↑ In- house communications. In: WOZ The weekly newspaper. January 17, 2019, accessed March 8, 2020.
  9. Quoted from Howald 2018, p. 343.
  10. See Bettina Dyttrich: Self-administration in the other city. In: Hans Widmer (ed.): The other city. Zurich 2017, pp. 101–104.
  11. Details in WEMF Circulation Bulletin 2018 , p. 35
  12. Reviews: Richard Aschinger: The WOZ is alive, better than ever - (not) a miracle on Infosperber , April 2, 2018 and Rainer Stadler : Eine Geschichte der Linke Presse , NZZ, March 22, 2018.