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TIME FOR DIE ZEIT: ZEITmagazin is going international. The Berlin-based magazine section of Germany’s weekly Die Zeit is bringing out an English language edition. Under the title “The Berlin State of Mind,” the 260-page debut issue will hit selected points of sale at home and in Paris, Milan, New York, Shanghai, Amsterdam, London and other metropolitan centers on Thursday.
The launch issue, 99 percent of whose contents were culled from the weekly’s last six months, will have a print run of 10,000 copies and a cover price of 8.90 euros, or $12 at current exchange. In comparison, its newsprint parent Die Zeit, which is published in Hamburg, boasts a circulation of 520,000, over two million readers each week, and costs 4.50 euros, or $6.
“One of the happy situations with our publishing house is that you can go to the top and say we have this crazy idea and they say let’s do it,” ZEITmagazin editor-in-chief Christoph Amend said. “This is the number one issue and we have to see how it works., but we’d love to do it twice a year and keep up this kind of rhythm.”
The impulse to go English was prompted by a comment Amend had heard once too often: “I love your magazine, the design, the look. I just wish I could read it.” In the last instance, it came from photographer Brigitte Lacombe, who has taken over the magazine’s show and tell photography column that ZEITmagazin initiated with Jürgen Teller in 2009.
A dozen of Lacombe’s “In the Moment” shots, in which she talks about the situation in which the featured photo was taken, are included in the launch issue, which covers everything and everybody, from David Hasselhoff and Nelson Mandela to Iggy Pop; dreams and nightmares; American Pulitzer Prize novelist Anne Tyler and German comedian Anke Engelke; the colors of love, and a stark black and white look at the violence torn streets of Rochester, N.Y. There also is fall/winter fashion snapped in the woods of Brandenburg, above Manhattan’s skyline, in the rooms and apartments that models call home, or in personally motivated still lives.
“For us, the aesthetics are as important as the story, and the small things as important as big drama,” said style director Tillmann Prüfer. “Everything can be a cover story, so we did a complete issue out of cover stories.”
“What hopefully shines through,” Amend added, “is that if we tried to produce [these] stories for this issue, we couldn’t afford to.” Or perhaps they could, for “generally speaking, this has been the best year in our existence,” he said. “Ad pages are growing and growing, and since ZEITmagazin was reintroduced in 2007 [the-then almost 30-year-old supplement was put on ice in 1999], circulation has gone up nearly 50,000 copies a week for the paper and us.”