Stern (magazine)


Stern magazine cover on 18 February 2016
Editor Andreas Petzold, Thomas Osterkorn
Categories News magazine
Frequency Weekly
Circulation 750,810 (2014)
Year founded 1948
First issue 1 August 1948 (1948-08-01)
Company Gruner + Jahr
Country Germany
Based in Hamburg
Language German
ISSN 0039-1239

Stern (pronounced [ʃtɛʁn], German for "Star") is a weekly news magazine published in Hamburg, Germany, by Gruner + Jahr, a subsidiary of Bertelsmann.

History and profile

Henri Nannen created the magazine[1] out of the youth paper Zick Zack,[2][3] and the first issue appeared on 1 August 1948.[4][5][6] This was possible after obtaining a licence from the British military government to rename Zick-Zack to Stern,[7] for which Nannen had taken over the licence a few months before. The first issue had 16 pages, with the cover showing actress Hildegard Knef.[8] Nannen also edited the magazine of which headquarters is in Hamburg.[9][10]

In the 1960s the magazine became the founding member of the European Car of the Year.[11] In 1965 the magazine was sold to Gruner + Jahr.[5] In 1968, Stern and Die Zeit began publishing the Stern-Zeit bi-weekly paper for the blind, which stopped publication in mid-2007 due to financial problems.

Stern is published on a weekly basis[12] and has a leftist stance.[1] In the 2013 elections the magazine was among the supporters of the SPD.[13]


In 1999 the circulation of Stern was 1,124,400 copies.[14] In 2000 the magazine had a circulation of 1,082,000 copies.[12] Its average circulation was 1,186,000 copies in 2003.[15] In the fourth quarter of 2006 its circulation was 1,019,300 copies.[15] It slightly rose to 1,042,000 copies for 2006 as a whole.[16] It's circulation went down to 895,962 copies in 2010[17] and to 750,810 copies in 2014.[6]


In 1950 Stern was banned by the British military authorities for one week following the publication of an article criticizing the Allies for waste of money.

It is notorious internationally for publishing the so-called Hitler Diaries in its 28 April 1983 edition.[18] Scientific examination soon proved them forgeries committed by Konrad Kujau who had created the journals between 1981 and 1983 as a hoax. A British broadsheet newspaper, The Sunday Times, had begun a serialization of the diaries, then abandoned that and issued an official apology.[19] The fiasco led to the resignation of the magazine's editors and a major scandal that is still regarded as a low point in German journalism. The incident caused a major crisis for the magazine. Its credibility was severely damaged and it had to rebuild its reputation from an abysmal level. It took the magazine ten years to regain its pre-scandal status and reputation.[18]

In Germany, it is also remembered for the publication in 1971 of We had an abortion!, a public declaration by several hundred women provoked by Alice Schwarzer to defy its illegality at that time in West Germany.

In 1990, Stern published the title story "I am a masochist" in which author Sina-Aline Geißler discussed her literary coming-out as a member of the BDSM scene. This caused an intense public debate, and radical feminists occupied the editorial office of Stern.

Stern has lost four journalists killed while reporting. In January 1995, Jochen Piest was killed by a sniper near the Chechen capital of Grozny. Gabriel Grüner and Volker Krämer were killed near Dulje, Kosovo. November 2001 saw the death of Volker Handloik in an ambush in northern Afghanistan.[20]


See also


  1. 1 2 Richard J. Barnet; John Cavanagh (1 March 1995). Global Dreams: Imperial Corporations and the New World Order. Simon and Schuster. p. 75. ISBN 978-0-684-80027-1. Retrieved 1 March 2015.
  2. Sigurd Hess (2009). "German Intelligence Organizations and the Media". Journal of Intelligence History. 9 (1-2). doi:10.1080/16161262.2009.10555166.
  3. Stern im Schatten des Sterns, Die Zeit, 17/2000
  4. Patrick Roessler (2007). "Global Players". Journalism Studies. 8 (4): 566–583. doi:10.1080/14616700701411995.
  5. 1 2 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 1 November 2014.
  6. 1 2 Stine Eckert (2015). "The Guttenberg Plagiarism Scandal: Myths Through Germany's Leading News Magazines" (PDF). Journal of Communication Inquiry. 39: 249–272. doi:10.1177/0196859914565365. Retrieved 17 March 2015.
  7. Jahreschronik Literarisches Leben der Uni Göttingen
  8. Interview mit Henri Nannen-Meine Stern Stunde
  9. Sherilyn Bennion (September 1961). "Mass Magazine Phenomenon: the German "Illustrierte"" (PDF). Journalism & Mass Communication Quarterly. 38 (3): 360–362. doi:10.1177/107769906103800312. Retrieved 7 April 2015.
  10. "The Media in the German Speaking Countries". University of Chicago. Retrieved 9 October 2016.
  11. "Organizing magazines". Car of the Year. Retrieved 24 April 2015.
  12. 1 2 "Top 50 General Interest magazines worldwide (by circulation)" (PDF). Retrieved 17 January 2015.
  13. Juan P. Artero (February 2015). "Political Parallelism and Media Coalitions in Western Europe" (Working paper). Reuters Institute for the Study of Journalism. Retrieved 8 April 2015.
  14. 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 March 2015.
  15. 1 2 "European Publishing Monitor" (Report). Turku School of Economics (Media Group). March 2007. Retrieved 27 March 2015.
  16. Helmut K Anheier; Yudhishthir Raj Isar (17 September 2008). Cultures and Globalization: The Cultural Economy. SAGE Publications. p. 460. ISBN 978-1-4462-0261-6. Retrieved 24 April 2015.
  17. "World Magazine Trends 2010/2011" (PDF). FIPP. Retrieved 2 April 2015.
  18. 1 2 Esser, Frank; 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.
  19. 1983: 'Hitler diaries' published BBC
  20. A Nation Challenged: The News Media; Two French Radio Journalists and a German Are Killed in Taliban Ambush of a Rebel Force The New York Times.
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