10.03.2020 / Knud Wassermann

Print makes you strong..

...and the Hubert Burda Media Group is standing up and campaigning for print. Whereby print is synonymous with high-quality journalism that finds its way to people today digitally, live or in print.

The origins of Burda are clearly in the print sector. Journalistic content forms the foundation and starting point of the company's multimedia value creation today. That is why the company sees itself as a “tech and media company” and thus also underlines the changes it has faced in recent years. 

Philipp Welte, Director of Media Brands National, on the motives behind the “Print makes you strong” campaign : “The contribution that thousands of journalists make in editorial offices of publishing houses in Germany to the success of society, freedom of opinion and the implementation of the most diverse life plans is irreplaceable. Their work is a foundation of our pluralist democracy.”

Celebrities are supporting the campaign
Numerous figures from the worlds of culture, politics and business have been won over for the campaign. Among them is the President of the German Bundestag, Wolfgang Schäuble, who assures that assessing information and well-founded research are becoming increasingly important. “Democracy needs responsible journalism!” 


The German film director and screenwriter Caroline Link stresses in this context that the basis of a democracy is the duty and understanding to be fully informed. Fully also means to know the viewpoints of the other side. The German actor Florian David Fitz, in turn, makes it clear that the world is not a tweet. At this point, it's inevitable to think of a president who wants to reduce the ever more complex world to 150 letters.

Get out of the media echo chambers
Philipp Welte also addresses the topic of social media: “We all know that social media are echo chambers for lies and half-truths.” The problem behind this is that 39 percent of people in the US today use Facebook as a source of news – in Germany, the figure already stands at 25 percent. Burda's Board of Directors emphasizes the need to counteract this and wants to galvanize people with the campaign. 

Under Section 1 of the Press Code, editors undertake to respect human rights and report truthfully. “This makes us publishers the value-based counterpart to the flood of manipulative content and half-truths that are pouring in on people from the web,” says Philipp Welte, summing up the situation. As is well known, Facebook refuses to accept any responsibility for the content on its platform. 

Effective protection against colds 
Numerous media professionals are also speaking out and at the same time ambitious media projects are being presented. This is how Jan Fleischhauer, columnist for Focus Magazin, describes the special aspect about the medium of print: “A text simply looks better in print. No online offering in the world can compete with a beautifully designed double page.” 

Moreover, from a columnist's point of view, people who read a newspaper or magazine on the subway in the morning seem more sophisticated than those who stare intently at their cellphone screen. And, as effective protection against any virus emanating from the sneezing person with a cold sitting opposite you, he simply recommends holding up the newspaper. 

No either-or in media use
Simon Peter, Editor-in-Chief of Blue Ocean, shows the potential of children's magazines despite the digital revolution that has spread to children's rooms. Blue Ocean now publishes 60 regular magazines that are loved by girls and boys alike. In 2019, 44 million magazines were printed. 

“For children there is no either-or, there is an as-well-as. When children aged six to twelve are interested in a topic, they soak up every snippet,” says the editor-in-chief, summarizing his experience. As different as the individual statements are, they share the conviction that journalism is absolutely necessary as a reliable and trustworthy source of information.

Economic challenges
According to Philipp Welte, the world of publishing has been facing major economic challenges for some time now. Journalism is more important than ever before, but it is very challenging to finance it from a market economy perspective. As recently as the 1990s, publishing houses largely dominated the advertising market – now they play only a subordinate role. Advertising is increasingly falling into the hands of the internet giants. 

Amazon alone achieved a net advertising turnover of 1.9 billion euros in Germany in 2019 – more than twice as much as all the almost 2,000 German general-interest magazines combined. In this environment, it is important to convince people of the importance of print. The publishing industry has to fight for its future – not only for economic reasons, but also to preserve liberal democracy. 

A look behind the scenes of journalism
A landing page has been set up for the contents of the campaign. Here, you will find exciting views from both senior and junior journalists, a look behind the scenes of journalism, and facts and figures about print. For this reason, the campaign tries to speak for the entirety of the publishers and refrains from a direct reference to the initiator. 

Hubert Burda Media's campaign is inspiring and should find its imitators in one form or another, who also confidently present and communicate the strengths of print.

Knud Wassermann
Editor-in-Chief of Graphische Revue