This is where I work

The Tageszeitung (taz) has a pretty fierce rivalry with the Axel Springer publishing group, which prints the conservative-leaning tabloid Das Bild and daily Die Welt, among others. When I was first given a tour of the taz building back in the fall, my guide brought me up to the lovely rooftop deck and pointed out the huge Springer building a block away. “The enemy,” she said.

Of course, it’s a fairly one-sided rivalry: The taz has a fraction of the revenue, readership, and reputation of Springer. But the tazlers have gotten their revenge in little ways.

First, they managed to get the street that runs from taz HQ to the Springer building renamed, from the neutral Kochstraße to Rudi-Dutschke-Straße, after the radical 1960s student leader. (Dutschke and his compatriots routinely attacked Springer and once blockaded the company’s newspaper distribution.)

But the tazlers weren’t satisfied. Read more of this post

I, tazler

Yesterday, having wrapped up three months as a guest reporter at Der Spiegel, I moved down the street to the tageszeitung, better known as the taz. The paper — and yes, it is too cool for a capitalized name — has a reputation as a witty, edgy, lefty rag. It’s a cooperative, owned by over 10,000 paying members, with some funky staffers, including a middle-aged man who hasn’t worn socks or shoes for decades. And in a German media industry dominated by men, the taz charter specifies that at least half the staff, including the top editor, must be female.

But lest you mistake the taz for an agenda-feeding hippie haven, it’s one of the most respected daily papers in the country, with lots of brilliant reporters and editors (and a great cafe with half-price for tazlers, to boot).

Anyway, I started there yesterday, and today I wrote my first-ever story in German. It’s just a little thing, culled mostly from a report that came out today. But for any German speakers out there: have a look.

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