The Tagesschau is the oldest and most watched news program on German television. It is produced by the news division ARD-aktuell in Hamburg. The newscast debuted Christmas 1952 with three editions per week. Starting in October 1956, the Tagesschau began broadcasting daily from Monday through Saturday. The first Sunday edition was aired on September 3, 1961. The flagship broadcast is live seven days a week at 8:00 p.m. for 15 minutes. Nearly 23.000 editions have been aired until December 2018 alone.
The name of the broadcast originates from the term “Wochenschau” (“review of the week”), a weekly newsreel shown in cinemas. Until March 1955, the Tagesschau staff used news footage from this newsreel to produce its own broadcast. The packages were edited in a basement beneath the “Wochenschau” offices and then – according to legend – transported to the broadcast station by bike. The new television news program was very similar to the cinema edition: both consisted mainly of edited packages about miscellaneous topics while politics and governmental affairs only played a minor role.
On March 2, 1959, the Tagesschau changed again. For the first time, a news presenter became part of the broadcast. Since then, the presentation of the news by a host is the trademark of the program.
Regarding content, the Tagesschau staff soon began making their own decisions. The department started as a project of the NWDR, the Northwest German Broadcasting, which was later separated into the WDR (West German Broadcasting) and the NDR (North German Broadcasting). In November 1954, other networks from the ARD (Association of Public Broadcasting Institutions in Germany) became part of the nightly broadcast. Since then, all public television networks in the different states file news stories from their regions to the Tagesschau.
In the early days of the Tagesschau, the ARD only had one daily edition of the newscast live on its television program (Das Erste/Channel One). Starting in the 1960s, morning as well as late and night editions were added to the programming. In 1985, six to seven newscasts were aired each day. Since the start of the morning show (Morgenmagazin) in 1992, the Tagesschau (alternating weekly with the ZDF, the Second German Public Network) delivers news every thirty minutes from 5:30 to 8:30 a.m. With this frequency, the news department adapts to the habits of morning viewers who switch channels repeatedly and only watch the broadcast for short periods of time.
In the case of breaking news, the department can add special newscasts (Tagesschau EXTRA) within a short time period to the regular scheduled programming on Channel One.
In addition to the Tagesschau editions, the news division also offers the digital news channel Tagesschau24. This channel features the news content of the Tagesschau from 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. It is streamed live as well.
Over the years, political reporting gained more importance for the newscast. The reputation of the Tagesschau ultimately became one of a reliable and reputable news source. To this day, the flagship edition is the one at 8 p.m. On average, this edition is watched by 9.6 million viewers, which translates to a market share of 34,5 percent.
TAGESTHEMEN (“Subjects of the Day”)
The Tagesthemen news show has been on air since January 1978. With its start, it replaced the late edition of the Tagesschau. The program is half an hour long and airs weekdays around 10:15 p.m. On the weekends, the newscast may be abbreviated due to other programming. The main anchors Caren Miosga and Ingo Zamperoni rotate weekly. Pinar Atalay fills in at the desk when the two anchors are away.
The Tagesthemen deliver additional information about the latest news developments and offer more background information than the Tagesschau. Oftentimes, several stories cover one topic, with each highlighting a different aspect. In addition, an interview with an expert or a reporter could provide further background information to the viewers. The main topic of the day is generally accompanied by a commentary.
The program also includes short news segments with the headlines of the day. Each edition ends with the weather report. On weekends, in-depth sports’ reporting is an important part of the newscast.
In general, the issues covered in the Tagesthemen can be broader than those in the Tagesschau. The news magazine offers not only background stories on current events but also features longer reports. Political reporting followed by segments about the economy dominate each edition, but stories about arts, movies, as well as miscellaneous subjects are also part of the program.
On average, about 2.2 million viewers watch the Tagesthemen every day. That equals a market share of about 10 percent. But the importance of the show reaches beyond the numbers. Not only does the broadcast receive a lot of attention for its background reporting but it also has an important influence on puplic opinion making. Interviews aired on the program are often featured in articles by news agencies and are quoted in radio reports and newspapers.
NACHTMAGAZIN (“Nightly News”)
The Nachtmagazin completes a day of news on Channel One (Das Erste). It was first aired in March 1995. The broadcast is live Monday to Thursday shortly after midnight. In roughly 20 minutes, the day’s events are summarized while the following day already comes into focus. The news magazine can set its own topics as well.
With the Nachtmagazin, the news division ARD-aktuell accommodates the rising numbers of viewers who watch television around midnight or later.
Similar to the Tagesthemen as well as the afternoon editions of the Tagesschau, the Nachtmagazin is hosted by an anchor.
Acknowledging the later air time, lighter topics can be part of the Nachtmagazin while the news of the day still remain the focus of the program. On average, nearly 510.000 viewers watch this newscast. That means a market share of around 6 percent.
Tagesschau24 is the digital news channel of the ARD. It features the news content of the Tagesschau. Currently the program airs from 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. every day. The broadcast is produced by the news division ARD-aktuell in Hamburg.
Tagesschau24 offers its viewers key stories from politics, business, arts, and sports. In interviews throughout the day, our correspondents as well as experts from different fields analyze current events.
In addition, longer segments provide background information, for example in world news, media, and the arts. These segments are produced with the help of the editorial staff from the corresponding NDR departments. Several NDR colleagues also take on the responsibility for anchoring individual segments.
Movie recommendations as well as weather reports complete the programming of Tagesschau24.
BERICHT AUS BERLIN („Report from Berlin“)
This political television magazine, broadcast live from the capital of Germany, offers its viewers the most important and up-to-date information from parliament, government, and all political parties.
Political topics as well as key players are analyzed in packages as well as interviews. The “Bericht aus Berlin” is the adequate television magazine for everybody interested in politics.
The weather forecast first became part of a Tagesschau edition on March 1, 1960 under the title “The Weather of Tomorrow.” The weather maps were animated by a department at the Hessischer Rundfunk (Hessian Broadcasting) in Frankfurt/Main and replaced traditional weather boards. Before that switch, the weather report as well as the cloud development were drawn on boards with charcoal crayons during the live broadcast. Over the years, the weather report progressed further: High-performance computers with special design software are now used to develop the graphic elements.
In addition to the technical advancements, the presentation of its content also changed over time. In the early days, the scripts delivered by the Deutscher Wetterdienst (German Weather Service) were adapted without changes because the matter-of-fact and realistic weather report was deemed appropriate for a news broadcast. Today, the report is geared toward the viewer using everyday language.
ARD-aktuell is the central news division of the ARD Public Broadcasting Network based in Hamburg. Tagesschau, Tagesthemen, Nachtmagazin as well as the website tagesschau.de are produced here. The foundation of the department and its work was laid out in an administrative agreement between all nine regional broadcasters which form the nationwide ARD. The directive includes the structure of the department as well as the fundamental principles of the newscast.
The department is managed by a First and Second Editorial Director. Both are appointed by the chairmen of all ARD broadcasters with a two-third-majority.
About 150 producers and journalists work for the division. They are supported by technical, production, and administrative staff. All in all, around 330 employees work in the Hamburg main office. Additional personnel work in the correspondent bureaus in Germany and across the world.
The department is grouped into two large divisions: An office, which develops program ideas and organizes packages as well as interview partners, and a broadcast team, which is responsible for the actual content of the newscasts. It is headed by several executive producers (in German: CvD = Chef vom Dienst).
THE WEATHER DEPARTMENT
The weather department of the ARD has been based at the Hessischer Rundfunk (Hessian Broadcasting) in Frankfurt/Main since 1960. Its staff of around 30 people includes not only anchors and editors but also meteorologists. They are supported by a team of graphic artists, sound engineers, photographers, directors, and the crew in the studio.
The team keeps the viewers informed about current weather conditions around the clock. Every day, three editorial journalists are responsible for the multiple weather reports that are aired in all editions of the Tagesschau, Tagesthemen, and other newscasts. They produce around 20 forecasts with an all in all air time of about 45 minutes.
BERLIN – HAUPTSTADTSTUDIO (Berlin Bureau)
Berlin is the capital of Germany. Important political decisions are made here on a daily basis. To cover the political process in a timely manner as well as providing background information, the ARD established its Hauptstadtstudio (Berlin Bureau) right in the city center of Berlin. The building is in close proximity to the Reichstag, the representatives’ office buildings, as well as the chancellery.
Seasoned correspondents, sent to Berlin on behalf of their regional broadcasting networks, provide daily reports for all news programs on Das Erste (Channel One), the news channel Tagesschau24, as well as for the local stations and the ARD radio channels. In addition to the regular reporting, they work on special edition broadcasts about political events, elections nights, and party conferences.
Each Sunday, the bureau produces the “Report from Berlin”, an ARD program about the political week in Berlin.
The public television channel Phoenix, which features political coverage as well as documentaries, has its own crew based at the Berlin Bureau.
Anytime, everywhere: Tagesschau.de is the news website of the ARD and the online branch of the Tagesschau. Since 1996, the website features news reporting around the clock – in text, audio, and video.
The department is based in Hamburg. The staff works around the clock 365 days of the year to cover national and international news, using original and wire service reporting. A major resource is the news division’s programming, including Tagesschau, Tagesthemen, Nachtmagazin, Tagesschau24 and all Special Reports. The staff also monitors the internet as well as social media to report on current developments.
ARD-correspondents working in Berlin, at network bureaus all over the world, or for the ARD radio channels also provide content such as original reports as well as blog entries for Tagesschau.de.
In addition, the news divisions at the ARD networks in all German states cover regional events. Departments, specialized in a certain area (i.e. law or investigative reporting), analyze and provide additional background on the website. Their articles may include multimedia-based content as well as interviews with experts. To cover major developments, all articles and graphics of a certain topic are combined in in-depth dossiers on the website – easy to find for the users.
The web staff also interacts with users on different online platforms. Readers can participate in polls and comment on recent developments using the website meta.tagesschau.de as well as the Facebook or Google+ fanpages.
Blogs written by the managing directors as well as by correspondents around the world provide a look behind the scenes of the news broadcast.
All programs produced by the news division ARD-aktuell are streamed live on Tagesschau.de. Viewers, who have missed a broadcast or want to rewatch a report, can find the major newscasts in the online archive. For those who just want to get up-to-date with current events, the website offers a video news brief called “Tagesschau in 100 Sekunden” (Tagesschau in 100 seconds) which features the news headlines of the hour.
Tagesschau.de is also accessible with a smartphone or tablet app. Breaking news stories are distributed as push notifications via the app or in a special header online.
With Tagesschau.de, the ARD provides the same high standard it has for its television news broadcasts. Tagesschau.de is a reliable and always up-to-date platform for national and international news.
The staff working for Tagesschau.de is also responsible for the news pages on the videotext system (ARD-Teletext). Further information can be found at www.ard-text.de
To stay informed about current events, Tagesschau.de also offers a smartphone and tablet app. In addition, the website can be used with any mobile browser. It automatically detects and supports the screen size.
The major broadcasts such as the Tagesschau at 8:00 p.m., the Tagesthemen as well as the news brief “Tagesschau in 100 Sekunden” can be downloaded as podcasts.