Stern (magazine)

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

Stern magazine cover on 18 February 2016
EditorFlorian Gless, Anna-Beeke Gretemeier
CategoriesNews magazine
Circulation750,810 (2014)
Year founded1948
First issue1 August 1948 (1948-08-01)
CompanyGruner + Jahr
Based inHamburg

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] Its circulation went down to 895,962 copies in 2010[17] and to 750,810 copies in 2014.[6]


In 1950, Stern published an article that criticized the Allies for wasting money and resources during their occupation of Germany. British military authorities responded and had its publication shut down for a week.

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. A British broadsheet newspaper, The Sunday Times, had begun a serialization of the diaries, but after the hoax was uncovered, cancelled it 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've had abortions!, 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.

Four Stern journalists have been 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. In November 2001 Volker Handloik was killed in an ambush in northern Afghanistan.[20]


  • 1948–1980: Henri Nannen
  • 1980–1983: Rolf Gillhausen, Peter Koch and Felix Schmidt
  • 1983–1984: Rolf Gillhausen with Peter Scholl-Latour
  • 1984–1986: Rolf Winter
  • 1986–1989: Heiner Bremer, Michael Jürgs and Klaus Liedtke
  • 1989–1990: Michael Jürgs with Herbert Riehl-Heyse
  • 1990–1994: Rolf Schmidt-Holtz
  • 1994–1998: Werner Funk
  • 1999–1999: Michael Maier
  • 1999–2013: Thomas Osterkorn and Andreas Petzold
  • 2013–2014: Dominik Wichmann
  • 2014–2018: Christian Krug
  • 2019–present: Florian Gless and Anna-Beeke Gretemeier

See also


  1. 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. 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. Stine Eckert (2015). "The Guttenberg Plagiarism Scandal: Myths Through Germany's Leading News Magazines". 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 Archived 27 September 2007 at the Wayback Machine
  9. Sherilyn Bennion (September 1961). "Mass Magazine Phenomenon: the German "Illustrierte"". 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. Archived from the original on 8 February 2017. Retrieved 24 April 2015.
  12. "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" (PDF). Reuters Institute for the Study of Journalism. Archived from the original (Working paper) on 16 April 2015. 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. "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. 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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