Stern (magazine)

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Editor Andreas Petzold, Thomas Osterkorn
Categories news magazine
Frequency Weekly
Circulation 1.07 million / month
Year founded 1948
First issue 1 August 1948; 66 years ago (1948-08-01)
Company Gruner + Jahr
Country Germany
Language German
ISSN 0039-1239

Stern (pronounced [ʃtɛʁn], German for "Star") is a weekly news magazine published in Germany by Gruner + Jahr, a subsidiary of Bertelsmann. In the first quarter of 2006, its print run was 1.019 million copies and it reached 7.84 million readers according to Media-Analyse.


Henri Nannen created the magazine out of the youth paper Zick Zack,[1] and the first issue appeared on 1 August 1948.[2] This was possible after obtaining a licence from the British military government to rename Zick-Zack to Stern,[3] 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.[4] It is published weekly.[5]

In 1965 the magazine was sold to Gruner + Jahr.[2] 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.

In the period of 2000-2001 Stern had a circulation of 1,082,000 copies.[5]


In 1950, after the magazine had published an article about the waste of money by the Allies, the British administration banned it for one week.[4]

It is notorious internationally for publishing the Hitler Diaries in its 28 April 1983 edition.[6] Scientific examination soon proved them forgeries. A British broadsheet newspaper, The Sunday Times, had begun a serialization of the diaries, then abandoned that and issued an official apology.[7] 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.[6]

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.[8]

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