Saturday, March 10, 2012

Bild

For an American to grasp the true nature of Germany....you have to understand the German national paper....Bild.

Germany has dozens of newspapers....and there are maybe five that you'd consider as a national newspaper. But when you talk to the bulk of regular Germans....like bus drivers, cooks, cleaning ladies, mechanics, plumbers, etc.....they all read Bild.  It's published throughout the country, and the bulk of regular folks pick up a copy each morning....on the way to work.

So the best description would be a USA Today-like newspaper.....with about a quarter of the news that USA-Today offers.  I admit, it's barely twelve pages, with a fairly larger font than what you'd normally see.  They tend to tell stories on crime, political analysis, entertainment....in a fairly condensed fashion.  There's lots of pictures....on dogs, women, and vacation spots.

Up until this week, it was possible to buy a Bild which had a neat photo on the front page of some gal showing her boobs.  But this week....the newspaper finally took suggestions....and accepted the fact that some women felt it was shameful to feature these shots on the cover page, so they moved it to page two or three.  Note, they obviously didn't get rid of the photos of boobs....they just moved it deeper into the paper.

How many copies are read daily?  Around 3.5 million, more or less.  You can figure it's shared....so there might be ten million Germans who read some portion of the paper daily....out of eighty million total Germans.

The neat thing I always admired about the newspaper....was the ability to take a complicated story and tell the facts....only the facts.....in 100 words or less.  I admit, there might be a great deal of information left out.....but every German tended to know the basic news of the day.

Slanted news?  Well....the entertainment world probably got just as much news in Bild as political news.  Maybe that's not a bad thing.  And the political side of things is kept simple.....mostly because the folks reading this really don't want 200 points of data to determine how screwed up things are.

So my advice to an American who picks up a Bild to understand Germany....well....it might not be the absolute best source of news in Germany.  But at least you know the general prospective of most Germans.  They don't want complicated problems, complicated facts, or complicated news.  Bild delivers what they want.

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