A sign against the "one-size-fits-all": Berner Zeitung and Der Bund gather together

Editors of the Bernese newspapers Der Bund and Berner Zeitung gathered for a risotto lunch on Thursday in view of the drastic cost-cutting measures that Tamedia is planning to implement very soon.


Even if communication has been very cautious so far, the staff of the two Bernese daily newspapers fear with good reason that there will be painful job cuts. From the indications given so far, it must be concluded that this is likely to have a very unfavorable effect on the journalistic side, the editorial offices write in a joint press release. When talking about competence centers, this means in plain language that as much content as possible is to be produced centrally - with fewer staff, of course. The articles would then be printed practically identically in all titles. If this scenario were to become reality, all subscribers would receive the same content, regardless of which title they subscribed to. A kind of uniform mash would be served up.

Markus Dütschler, President of the Staff Commission (Peko) at the Confederation, described the risotto meal as a signal both internally and externally. On the one hand, the management must know that the workforce is very concerned about the impending redundancies, but it will "not allow itself to be led like sheep to the slaughter". On the contrary, the workforce wants to be more involved because, after all, they are the ones who produce the content. And it is because of this content that people subscribe to newspapers in the first place. "You can expect Tamedia, the top dog in the industry, to do more than just cut back on journalism," said Dütschler. However, he also described the event as a signal to the outside world, as the general public had hardly grasped the scope of the very sporadic information that had leaked to the public so far. In his speech, Jürg Steiner, President of the BZ staff committee, focused on the fact that the two local competitors in the same building - Bund and BZ - were protesting together against the threat. BZ and Bund strive every day to produce a good newspaper that stands out from the competition, that offers a variety of opinions and diversity, professionally and beyond ill-considered social media snapshots. "Heart, passion, commitment - that's our currency that we put on the scales," says Steiner.

On Thursday afternoon, Tamedia commented on the matter at the request of SDA:

Newspapers, magazines and news portals "are and will remain our core business and account for 70 percent of our turnover", said Tamedia spokesman Christoph Zimmer on Thursday in response to a query. However, the advertising market continues to decline sharply. In the first half of this year alone, it fell by 15 percent compared to the previous year. According to Zimmer, the Group must therefore ask itself how it can still offer good daily newspapers in three or five years' time with significantly less advertising revenue and at the same time invest in digital journalism.

"Our aim is to continue to offer two daily newspapers with different profiles in Bern," Zimmer explained. However, as no definitive decisions have yet been made, he did not want to speculate on scenarios. Zimmer also addressed the dilemma between the greatest possible diversity and quality. Good data journalism and tools for this, investigative research teams or good video offerings are only possible in editorial offices of a certain size; conversely, diversity and strong local roots are also important.

"We are aware of this dilemma and our responsibility for Switzerland as a media center and will try to take all aspects into account as far as possible," said Zimmer.

The journalists from the Bund and BZ were supported by the Syndicom trade union and the Impressum professional association. Around one hundred people took part in the risotto dinner.

More articles on the topic