Mother Liz and son Christoph Mohn 2018: "Should an entire workforce be worn down here?"
Photo: Franziska Krug / Getty Images
Europe's most important magazine house, a generous employer with a proud workforce: That was Gruner + Jahr (G+J) for decades.
But since the Hamburger Verlag was merged with the Cologne TV broadcaster RTL in 2021, employees have been worried about their jobs.
In February, it will be announced which magazines the merged company intends to keep.
The priority here is the question of possible synergies with the RTL program.
Some of the most renowned G+J editors are now turning to the Mohn family, which owns the Gütersloh media company Bertelsmann and thus RTL.
“Preserve this unique publishing house and lead it into a good future together with us!” says a fire letter obtained by SPIEGEL.
The letter is addressed to family spokesman Christoph Mohn and his mother Liz.
The editorial advisory boards of "Art", "Brigitte", "Eltern", "Geo"/"PM", "Geolino", "Stern" and the so-called Quality Board, which includes the final editors and fact checkers, signed.
The advisory board wrote that several “speculative reports” about the future of Gruner + Jahr were published immediately before Christmas.
“We were shocked that RTL and Bertelsmann didn't comment quickly and clearly on this.
This is not how you treat people who have been working with great dedication for their brand for many years.
Or is an entire workforce supposed to be worn down here?”
Gruner + Jahr should "officially" no longer exist, they say.
»But the spirit that has sustained this publishing house over the decades lives on.«
Publishing house in Hamburg, former logo: »Nothing seems safe anymore«
Photo: Manngold / IMAGO
The events of the past few months have led to “great uncertainty among colleagues”, according to the advisory board.
»Nothing seems certain anymore: What was announced last year – the commitment to the name, to the location, to the editorial offices – is under scrutiny.«
Bertelsmann boss Thomas Rabe visited the "Stern" editorial team in November and assured her of a future at RTL - "he didn't come to the other editorial offices".
It goes on to say: The editorial advisory boards resisted “the split that is being carried out.
Gruner + Jahr is a complete package that works both in editorial collaboration and in the advertising market.«
Appeal to »social responsibility«
At the end of the letter, the advisory board members turn directly to Liz and Christoph Mohn: the owners and staff have a "common, long-term interest in a journalistically independent and economically strong media company," they write.
“Employed managers, on the other hand, often think far too short-term.
We appeal to your entrepreneurial, societal and social responsibility.«
For tomorrow, Wednesday, the unions Ver.di and the German Association of Journalists invite you to a "combative lunch break" in front of the publishing house on Hamburg's Baumwall.