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Visit to Stern Magazine


The Chinese Media Ambassadors 2014 found themselves on the rooftop of Stern Magazine, one of the best of its kind in Germany, on July 24. The view of the office of Hans-Ulrich Jörges, the magazine's editor-in-chief, sees the magnificent Berlin Dom and Spree River.

The discussion between the Chinese journalists and Mr. Jörges mainly focused on the challenges print media confront with in both countries.

As a prestigious news magazine with 66-year history, Stern used to see a monthly circulation of 1.7 million copies 30 years ago, but the number has declined to 760,000 now. Google and even some mail service websites attract a decent number of advertisers.

Young people are more used to reading online now. Jörges cited a survey by the Central Institute for the Youth and Educational Television in Germany, saying that as early as in 2011, those 14-19 years old had spent only seven minutes on magazines every week, while 125 minutes on the Internet.

"Only about 10 percent of the young people still read print media," he said. "In 10 to 20 years, even fewer would read it."

Stern tries to adapt itself into the change of times by setting up an online version, for which reporters contribute shorter preview versions of in-depth stories before the print version comes out.

The daily visits for the website, according to Dr. Lutz Kinkel, the magazine's Berlin office manager, is around 700,000, which ranks the 6th among all websites of German publishing houses. However, the website cannot make profits now. The magazine still does, but the profit is shrinking slowly.

Chinese journalists shared how Chinese media deal with the challenges from new media, too. Most of them are facing the same decline in readership, and striving for a feasible way to attract it back. For example, as one media ambassador mentioned, a new App called Pengpai by Shanghai United Media Group was newly launched and captured wide attention immediately by intensive investigative reports on the Chinese government' efforts to tackle corruption. Some other news organizations, in a similar try with Stern's, has set up their own websites and social media accounts to be close with the younger generation.

Mr. Jörges and Chinese media leaders will have a more extensive dialogue in August, when he will take part in the fifth China Germany Media Forum and deliver some serious messages.

"Journalists in the world are the same," he said, "they struggle for truth under different circumstances."

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