Der Spiegel (German pronunciation: [deːɐ̯ ˈʃpiːɡl̩], lit. "The
Mirror") is a German weekly news magazine published in Hamburg. It is
one of Europe's largest publications of its kind, with a weekly
circulation of 840,000.
It was founded in 1947 by John Seymour Chaloner (de), a
British army officer, and Rudolf Augstein, a former
operator who was recognized in 2000 by the International Press
Institute as one of the fifty World Press Freedom Heroes. Spiegel
Online, the online sibling of Der Spiegel, was launched in 1994 with
an independent editorial staff. Typically, the magazine has a content
to advertising ratio of 2:1.
Der Spiegel is known in German-speaking countries mostly for its
investigative journalism. It has played a key role in uncovering many
political scandals such as the
Spiegel scandal in 1962 and the Flick
affair in the 1980s. According to The Economist,
Der Spiegel is one of
continental Europe's most influential magazines.
3 Investigative journalism
5 Head office
7 See also
9 External links
Old Spiegel headquarters, Hamburg
Spiegel headquarters since 2011, Hamburg
The first edition of
Der Spiegel was published in
Hanover on Saturday,
4 January 1947. Its release was initiated and sponsored by the
British occupational administration and preceded by a magazine titled
Diese Woche (meaning This Week in English), which had first been
published in November 1946. After disagreements with the British, the
magazine was handed over to
Rudolf Augstein as chief editor, and was
renamed Der Spiegel. From the first edition in January 1947, Augstein
held the position of editor-in-chief, which he retained until his
death on 7 November 2002.
After 1950, the magazine was owned by
Rudolf Augstein and John Jahr;
Jahr's share merged with Richard Gruner in 1965 to form the publishing
company Gruner + Jahr. In 1969, Augstein bought out
Gruner + Jahr for
DM 42 million and became the sole owner of Der Spiegel. In 1971,
Gruner + Jahr bought back a 25% share in the magazine. In 1974,
Augstein restructured the company to make the employees shareholders.
All employees with more than three years seniority were offered the
opportunity to become an associate and participate in the management
of the company, as well as in the profits.
Der Spiegel has been headquartered in its own building in
the old town part of Hamburg.
Der Spiegel's circulation rose quickly. From 15,000 copies in 1947, it
grew to 65,000 in 1948 and 437,000 in 1961. It was nearly 500,000
copies in 1962. By the 1970s, it had reached a plateau at about
900,000 copies. When the
German re-unification in 1990 made it
available to a new readership in former East Germany, the circulation
exceeded one million.
The magazine's influence is based on two pillars; firstly the moral
authority established by investigative journalism since the early
years and proven alive by several impressive scoops during the 1980s;
secondly the economic power of the prolific Spiegel publishing house.
Since 1988, it has produced the TV programme Spiegel TV, and further
diversified during the 1990s.
During the second quarter of 1992 the circulation of
Der Spiegel was
1.1 million copies. In 1994,
Spiegel Online was launched.
It has separate and independent editorial staff from Der Spiegel. In
1999, the circulation of
Der Spiegel was 1,061,000 copies.
Der Spiegel had an average circulation of 1,076,000 copies in
2003. In 2007 the magazine started a new regional supplement in
Switzerland. It was the first regional supplement of the magazine
which covers 50-page review of Switzerland.
Der Spiegel was employing the equivalent of 80 full-time fact
checkers, which the
Columbia Journalism Review
Columbia Journalism Review called "most likely the
world's largest fact checking operation". The same year it was the
third best-selling general interest magazine in Europe with a
circulation of 1,016,373 copies.
Stefan Aust took over in 1994, the magazine's readers realised
that his personality was different from his predecessor. In 2005, a
documentary by Stephan Lamby quoted him as follows: "We stand at a
very big cannon!" Politicians of all stripes who had to deal with
the magazine's attention often voiced their disaffection for it. The
Franz Josef Strauß
Franz Josef Strauß contended that Der Spiegel
Gestapo of our time". He referred to journalists in general
as "rats". The Social Democrat
Willy Brandt called it
"Scheißblatt" (i.e., a "shit paper") during his term in office as
Der Spiegel often produces feature-length articles on problems
Germany (like demographic trends, the federal system's
gridlock or the issues of its education system) and describes optional
strategies and their risks in depth. The magazine
plays the role of opinion leader in the German press.
Der Spiegel has a distinctive reputation for revealing political
misconduct and scandals. Online Encyclopædia Britannica emphasizes
this quality of the magazine as follows: "The magazine is renowned for
its aggressive, vigorous, and well-written exposes of government
malpractice and scandals." It merited recognition for this as
early as 1950, when the federal parliament launched an inquiry into
Spiegel's accusations that bribed members of parliament had promoted
Frankfurt as the seat of West Germany's government.
Spiegel scandal in 1962, which followed the release of a
report about the possibly low state of readiness of the German armed
forces, minister of defence and conservative figurehead Franz Josef
Der Spiegel investigated. In the course of this
investigation, the editorial offices were raided by police while
Rudolf Augstein and other
Der Spiegel editors were arrested on charges
of treason. Despite a lack of sufficient authority, Strauß even went
after the article's author, Conrad Ahlers, who was consequently
Spain where he was on holiday. When the legal case
collapsed, the scandal led to a major shake-up in chancellor Konrad
Adenauer's cabinet and Strauß had to stand down. The affair was
generally received as an attack on the freedom of the press. Since
Der Spiegel has repeatedly played a significant role in
revealing political grievances and misdeeds, including the Flick
Spiegel scandal is now remembered for altering the political
culture of post-war
Germany and—with the first mass demonstrations
and public protests—being a turning point from the old
Obrigkeitsstaat (authoritarian state) to a modern democracy.[citation
In 2010, the magazine supported
WikiLeaks in publishing leaked
materials from the United States State Department, along with The
Guardian, The New York Times, El País, and Le Monde and in
October 2013 with the help of former
NSA contractor Edward Snowden
unveiled the systematic wiretapping of Chancellor of
Merkel's private cell phone over a period of over 10 years at the
hands of the National Security Agency's
Special Collection Service
The leading role of the magazine in investigative journalism and its
monopoly came to end in 2013 since other German media outlets,
including Süddeutsche Zeitung, Bild, ARD and ZDF, began to
effectively deal with political scandals.
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One of the main criticism of
Der Spiegel concerns its use of language.
In 1957, writer
Hans Magnus Enzensberger
Hans Magnus Enzensberger published his essay Die
Sprache des Spiegels (“The Language of Der Spiegel”), in which he
criticised what he called a "pretended objectivity". Wolf Schneider,
an eminent journalist and stylist has called
Der Spiegel "the biggest
mangler of the German language" and used quotations from the magazine
as examples of inept German in his style guides. Their criticism was
not so much one of linguistic aesthetics as an argument that Der
Spiegel "hides and distorts its actual topics and issues by
manipulative semantics and rhetoric rather than by reporting and
analysing them". In 1957, however, Enzensberger admitted in a written
statement that no other contemporary German magazine attained the
Spiegel's level of objectivity.
Opinions about the level of language employed by
Der Spiegel changed
in the late 1990s. After hiring many of Germany's best feature
Der Spiegel has become known for its "Edelfedern" ("noble
quills"—wordsmiths). The magazine frequently wins the Egon Erwin
Kisch Prize for the best German feature.
Der Spiegel ended up joining
the ranks of the guardians of proper grammar and jargon with the
Zwiebelfisch ("(printer's) pie") column on the magazine's website,
which has even produced several best-selling books.
Some critics, in particular the media historian
Lutz Hachmeister and
the Augstein biographer and former
Der Spiegel author Otto Köhler,
have brought charges against the magazine's dealings with former
Nazis, even SS officers. Allegedly, Der Spiegel, which at other times
showed no restraint when exposing the Nazi past of public figures,
distorted history and covered up for criminals after enlisting
insiders hired to write about
Third Reich topics. Its
early reports and serials about the Reichstag fire, written by former
Paul Carell (who had also served as chief press spokesman
for Nazi Germany's Foreign Minister Joachim von Ribbentrop) and Fritz
Tobias, have since been considered influential in historiography
because since the 1960s the Spiegel reports written by these two
authors have been corroborated by authoritative historian Hans
A special 25 March 2008 edition of
Der Spiegel on
Islam was banned in
Egypt in April 2008 for publishing material deemed by authorities to
Islam and the Prophet Muhammed.
Der Spiegel began moving into its current head office in
September 2011. The facility was designed by Henning Larsen Architects
of Denmark. The magazine was previously located in a high-rise
building with 8,226 square metres (88,540 sq ft) of office
1962–1968: Claus Jacobi
1968–1973: Günter Gaus
Erich Böhme and Johannes K. Engel
Erich Böhme and Werner Funk
1989–1994: Hans Werner Kilz and Wolfgang Kaden
1994–2008: Stefan Aust
2008–2011: Mathias Müller von Blumencron and Georg Mascolo
2011–2013: Georg Mascolo
2013–2014: Wolfgang Büchner
13 January 2015 – present: Klaus Brinkbäumer
List of magazines in Germany
List of non-English newspapers with English language subsections
Media of Germany
^ "DER SPIEGEL is Germany's oldest news magazine, founded in 1946 as
an obvious imitation of America's TIME and NEWSWEEK magazines".
Retrieved 9 April 2011.
^ Kevin J. O'Brien (19 April 2004). "Scoop on Bundesbank head returns
focus to Der Spiegel". International Herald Tribune. Archived from the
original on 26 February 2008. Retrieved 2 January 2008.
^ "Average circulation: 1.1 million". Retrieved 9 April
^ Catherine C. Fraser; Dierk O. Hoffmann (1 January 2006). Pop Culture
Germany!: Media, Arts, and Lifestyle. ABC-CLIO. p. 200.
ISBN 978-1-85109-733-3. Retrieved 14 November 2014.
^ Laudatory submission for Hero of World Press Freedom Award: Rudolf
Augstein Archived 8 June 2011 at the Wayback Machine.
Der Spiegel and Germany's press: His country's mirror". The
Economist. 16 November 2002. Retrieved 30 June 2013. Mr Augstein's
success in making
Der Spiegel one of continental Europe's most
^ a b "Six Decades of Quality Journalism: The History of DER SPIEGEL".
Der Spiegel. 5 October 2011. Retrieved 23 March 2015.
^ "Wicona lands Spiegel project in Hamburg". www.hydro.com. Retrieved
^ a b Frank Esser; Uwe Hartung (2004). "Nazis, Pollution, and no Sex:
Political Scandals as a Reflection of Political Culture in Germany".
American Behavioral Scientist. 47 (1040): 1040–1071.
doi:10.1177/0002764203262277. Retrieved 4 October 2013.
^ Georg Hellack (1992). "Press, Radio and Television in the Federal
Republic of Germany" (Report). Inter Nationes. Bonn. Retrieved 27
^ a b Christina Schäffner (2005). "Bringing a German Voice to
English-speaking Readers: Spiegel International". Language and
Intercultural Communication. 5 (2): 154–167.
doi:10.1080/14708470508668891. Retrieved 4 October 2013.
^ Anne Penketh; Philip Oltermann; Stephen Burgen (12 June 2014).
"European newspapers search for ways to survive digital revolution".
The Guardian. Paris, Berlin, Barcelona. Retrieved 7 January
^ Ingomar Kloss; M. Abe (1 January 2001). Advertising Worldwide:
Advertising Conditions in Selected Countries. Springer Science &
Business Media. p. 130. ISBN 978-3-540-67713-0. Retrieved 29
^ "European Publishing Monitor" (Report). Turku School of Economics
(Media Group). March 2007. Retrieved 27 March 2015.
^ a b Stephan Russ-Mohl (27 June 2007). "The Lemon Dealers". Der
Tagesspiegel. Retrieved 23 December 2014.
^ Craig Silverman (9 April 2010). "Inside the World's Largest Fact
Checking Operation. A conversation with two staffers at Der Spiegel".
Columbia Journalism Review.
^ "World Magazine Trends 2010/2011" (PDF). FIPP. Archived from the
original (PDF) on 21 June 2012. Retrieved 2 April 2015.
^ ""We stand at a very big cannon!" Aust ranks his influence with the
Spiegel - and openly acknowledges that he has enemies". Archived from
the original on 3 March 2012. Retrieved 9 April 2011.
^ "Strauss claimed that journalists were like vermin around shit
(Ratten und Schmeißfliegen)". Retrieved 9 April 2011.
^ tagesschau.de. "70 Jahre "Der Spiegel": Alles Gute, "Scheißblatt"".
tagesschau.de (in German). Retrieved 2017-12-25.
^ "The best investigative reporting, the widest foreign coverage, the
sharpest political analysis, and the most insightful social
commentary". The Economist. 14 November 2002. Retrieved 9 April
^ Sarah Lambert (29 September 1992). "'Der Spiegel' report hits VW
shares". The Independent. London. Retrieved 9 April 2011.
^ "Holders of sovereign bonds, while taking a so-called haircut, would
be guaranteed half the bond's face value as an incentive to take part
in debt restructuring, Spiegel said". Retrieved 9 April 2011.
^ "Here's how Spiegel puts it: "
Germany is witnessing a stunning
political about-face". It said ..." BBC News. 22 March 2011. Retrieved
9 April 2011.
^ Luke Harding (14 March 2011). "
Der Spiegel has long been a German
institution and is essential reading for anyone who wants to
Germany or German politics". The Guardian. London.
Retrieved 9 April 2011.
^ Wolfgang Donsbach (May 2004). "Psychology of news decisions".
Journalism. 5 (2): 131–157. doi:10.1177/146488490452002. Retrieved
15 December 2014.
WikiLeaks FAQ: What Do the Diplomatic Cables Really Tell Us? Der
Spiegel, 28 November 2010
^ Embassy Espionage: The NSA's Secret Spy Hub in Berlin Der Spiegel,
27 October 2013
^ a b Eric Pfanner (29 April 2013). "As One German Weekly Falters,
Another Celebrates Big Gains". The New York Times. Serraval. Retrieved
1 November 2014.
Der Spiegel issue on
Islam banned in Egypt". France24. 2 April
2008. Retrieved 29 September 2013.
^ "Leading German Magazine Banned in Egypt". The Arab Press Network. 3
April 2008. Archived from the original on 10 September 2014. Retrieved
9 September 2014.
HafenCity Headquarters: SPIEGEL Moves to a New Home" (Archive). Der
Spiegel 5 October 2011. Retrieved 29 July 2015.
^ Eric Pfanner (29 April 2013). "New
Der Spiegel Editor will Also
Oversee Web Business". The New York Times. Serraval. Retrieved 6
Der Spiegel, printed edition
Der Spiegel cover gallery and archive since 1947
Spiegel-Mobil (Mobile Website, E-Paper, App)
Spiegel TV Magazin (in German)
DE, AT, CH
RTL Nederland (NL)
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Random House Studio
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