“Berliner Morgenpost”: Funke media group dismisses editor-in-chief

Christine Richter was never just an editor-in-chief, Christine Richter was the symbol for a new zeitgeist. When the journalist became editor-in-chief five years ago Berlin morning post was appointed, it was a big step for her publishing house. A total of twelve daily newspapers in five federal states belong to the Funke media group to this day – and Richter was to be the first woman ever to head one of these editorial offices. In the capital at that, with the long-established West Berlin newspaper, which Funke had taken over from the Axel Springer group as part of a multi-million dollar deal.

Richter’s appointment was the first personnel decision with charisma that had been made under the aegis of the publishing house heiress Julia Becker. Becker himself only took over the chairmanship of the supervisory board in January 2018 – a few months before Richter’s appointment. She was new to the business and, as a woman under 50, felt the harsh, often testosterone-laden headwinds of the industry, as she later explained herself. But the new publisher wanted to help shape the business in the interests of her family – and Christine Richter’s appointment as editor-in-chief fitted her ideas perfectly.

According to SZ information, it was a short-term decision by the publisher to fire Richter

In the meantime, five years later, Julia Becker has become a publishing personality who no longer shies away from podiums, appears in podcasts, only recently with guest posts in the Süddeutsche Zeitung and commented on current debates in the FAZ. Thanks in part to her PR consultant, Becker’s new image led to loud calls for more “diversity” in the media.

"Berlin morning post": She wants to promote women: "In the editorial offices of major newspapers and magazines, the proportion of women in managerial positions has risen significantly"Funke publisher Julia Becker wrote a few weeks ago in her guest article for the SZ.

She wants to promote women: “In the editorial offices of large newspapers and magazines, the proportion of women in management positions has increased significantly,” wrote Funke publisher Julia Becker just a few weeks ago in her guest article for the SZ.

(Photo: Medienfachverlag Oberauer GmbH/Funke)

But now, of all times, the woman power figurehead Christine Richter as morning post– Editor-in-Chief dropped like a hot potato.

The publisher announced their departure on Thursday. According to SZ information, it was a short-term decision that Christine Richter is said to have made unprepared. She herself does not comment on this when asked. In any case, the Funke PR department doesn’t even bother to give a reason for Richter’s end as editor-in-chief in a press release. Richter “leaves the company,” it says there, as briefly as it is disdainful.

At whose request this happens is not explained. The fact that the end is now coming abruptly is also evidenced by the fact that there is currently no successor for the top of the Berlin morning post was found. The post remains vacant for the time being. Jörg Quoos, head of Funke’s central editorial office, all of which are owned by the publisher newspapers supplied with supra-regional content, should step into the breach as “publisher”. Together with him you want “the Berlin morning post continue to develop strategically” says Managing Director Christoph Rüth.

For Richter, the manager finds at least a few parting words in the press release: Thank you “for your tireless efforts,” it says there. And further: “She gave the newspaper a clear line of content and made it a lively capital city newspaper with many new formats. We wish her all the best for her future professional and private life.” That’s how it sounds in PR-speak when you kick out a woman who was trying her best to slow down the decline in circulation in Berlin’s difficult newspaper market.

The Berlin newspaper market is highly competitive – and Richter stood for a clear line

In a dense crowd daily mirror, Berlin newspaper and the major national media such as taz, World and Picturein the Berlin are resident, it had the morning post lately particularly difficult. Its unique selling point, however, was that it was a strong, middle-class regional newspaper from the west – a kind of conservative counter-voice to the daily mirror, the clear market leader among regional media. Christine Richter wrote sharp comments in the direction of the former red-red-green government, recently sympathetically observed the black-red coalition negotiations after the re-election. In fact, she gave the paper a “clear line of content,” as Rüth writes.

Nevertheless, she was gradually disempowered over the past year. The online portal morgenpost.de was co-operated by the central editorial office from the summer. The traditional seat on Ku’damm was also abandoned morning post had to move into the adjoining rooms of the central editorial office on Friedrichstraße. Internally, some journalists have since suspected that the morning post is a kind of “died candidate” who, for his 125th birthday this year, is only dependent on a drip from the central editorial office. According to SZ information, editor-in-chief Richter is said to have always shown backbone and also repeatedly stood up to the management.

It is well known that at Funke there were often rumblings in these upper management levels of the publishing house: there was always talk of disputes among the managing directors in the industry. In 2021 there were even two departures: Michael Wüller and Andreas Schoo were kicked out with high severance payments.

In view of the latest personnel, however, one has to ask oneself: does publisher Julia Becker actually know what her managers are doing there?

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