Sat Oct 29th, 2005 at 07:25:48 AM EST
Well, the locust won in taking over the Berliner Zeitung...
"I have to admit the mood of the meeting was a bit cynical," Renate Gensch, the head of the paper's works' council told the Guardian. "Mr Montgomery doesn't speak German. He had to talk to us using translators," she added. "We looked hard on the internet and couldn't find a single good word about this guy."
some quotes after the fold
David Montgomery, former chief of Mirror Group, the newspaper publisher, has overcome local opposition to unveil the £53 million takeover of Berliner Verlag, the leading newspaper group in the German capital.
Peace in our time. David Montgomery's outspoken German critic has decided to calm down, now that the former Mirror Group boss has bought his newspaper. Uwe Vorkötter, Editor-in-Chief of the upmarket Berliner Zeitung, used his first column, after the deal was announced earlier this week, to say that Montgomery had made "far reaching promises" in terms of editorial quality and publishing integrity, and that the Briton's approach was "more contained and more responsible" than that of a financial investor interested in just short-term profits. Can the love-in last
Mr Montgomery also ruled out changing the leftwing stance of the Berliner Zeitung or interfering with its editorial integrity, one of the biggest fears among staff. "Why would we do that? Editorial integrity is part of the value we are building. The culture of the newspaper is sacrosanct. We are not going to disturb the political ethos and we would be crazy to do that."
good to see that the first quote was from a union representative, in the Berliner Kurier they interviewed a former employee of Montgomery, who highly recommended that every member of staff should join the union, because, even if he makes the right sounds - he does know anything about making longterm profits. so that it will come to a "fight". better being in a union then...
! Ich möchte meinen Kollegen in Deutschland dringend ans Herz legen, einer Gewerkschaft beizutreten, wenn sie das noch nicht getan haben. Geht davon aus, dass es ein Kampf wird. Aber lasst euch nicht von ihm einschüchtern, denn er ist nicht wirklich gut. Seid vorbereitet und verteidigt eure Sache mit kühlem Kopf. Viel Glück!
and finally some quotes from the man himself - to reassure the reader:
Wollen Sie die journalistische Qualität erhalten?
Das ist nicht mein Job. Über die Inhalte einer Zeitung entscheidet der Chefredakteur.
Wäre es Ihnen lieb, wenn es bei dieser Qualität bleibt?
Persönlich ja. Es beweist, dass Ihre Leser gebildete Leute sind, die viel Wert auf Kultur legen. Es gehört zu den hervorragenden Merkmalen dieser Zeitung, dass Sie solche kulturellen Nachrichten bringen.
Do you want to retain the journalistic quality?
That is not my job. The content of a newspaper is being decided by the Editor. (I only tell him how little money to spend....)
Would you be in favour of the newspaper retaining its Quality?
Personally, yes (but since I represent the interests of my investers and they don't give sh.. - who cares) It is one of the distinguishing features of this newspaper, that it reports cultural news in such a encompasing way. (he talked about a free six page Opera supplement published the previous week as an example for the quality of the paper, and that would not have happened in Britain - me: and not with MY newspaper in future...)
and cultural differences:
Referring to his meeting with the paper's staff, the left-leaning Tageszeitung, or Taz, wrote: "[Montgomery] looked a bit like a European tourist at a Chinese tea party, who behaves as if he understands the jokes."
however - having started out with a union quote at the beginning, the Union itself was excluded from the talks and "he has not made up his mind", if he is going to include them in the executive. However someone more familiar with German company law might advice me on this, I always thought a company surpassing a certain work force size has to have a representative of it work force on its executive board. Anyone?
Anyway, here as a bonus:
the headline of one of the newspapers Montgomery just bought.