I asked Wolfgang Lünenbürger-Reidenbach from our Hamburg office to explain a little of the new plans of Die Welt, the German newspaper Jeff Jarvis referred to yesterday. Here’s his guest blog:

Jeff Jarvis wrote about the new web strategy of Germany’s Die Welt, the conservative newspaper of Axel Springer AG who also owns Bild, Germany’s biggest yellow daily (and Europe’s most read paper). Die Welt claims to be the first German paper with a “web first” codex – which aims posting breaking news on their websites first, rather than waiting for everyone to read about it in the paper edition the next morning.

And indeed: Welt Online is now the best online newsmagazine over here in Germany. I spoke to Thomas Knüwer today, a journalist working for Handelsblatt, Germany’s leading business daily (a competitor of Die Welt) – and also a well-known blogger with high street credibility. He says: “After the relaunch www.welt.de became much better and is now indeed maybe the best news site in Germany (besides www.handelsblatt.com, of course ;-) ). But the revolution is still to come: They don’t link directly to other sites or blogs, the videos are disastrous (don’t try to be better in broadcast than actual tv networks – it won’t work) and there’s too much tabloid content. And, like all other news sites, the homepage looks like a jungle. Welt.de is a start – but it’s only the first kilometer in a marathon.”

What is interesting about Die Welt, is, that it is one of few dailies in Germany, that is still and continuously in deficit. As far as I know, it has not brought in any money since Axel Springer bought it in 1953 and transformed it into a stout conservative voice within Germany’s media arena. There have been several relaunches the last few years – and now they are on their way to create a new brand in the online world. They hired some high profile online veterans and consultants and tried to convince the blogosphere with blogs and link lists a.s.o. But since most well read blogs are written by liberals and left-wingers this attempt was not successful.

Most journalists and bloggers I spoke to think, the “web first” idea is a myth – and Die Welt won’t publish real scoops prematurely on the web, as it may allow other papers to pick up the story and run the story, too.

Wolfgang Lünenbürger-Reidenbach, Director Online Conversations/ Chief Blogging Officer, Edelman Germany, blogs at http://luebue.blogspot.com and hosts Edelman’s German blog PR 2.0.

[tags] Die Welt, Jeff Jarvis [/tags]