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  #41  
Old 16.05.2021, 19:37
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Re: How representative of Zürich is the NZZ [Neue Zürcher Zeitung]?

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Goodness, what is a left-leaning liberal? I read the Guardian and the Daily Mail as my morning routine on the loo. I’ve usually read all the good, impartial, Swiss news beforehand.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Left-libertarianism
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  #42  
Old 16.05.2021, 21:53
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Re: How representative of Zürich is the NZZ [Neue Zürcher Zeitung]?

Late to this but thanks for asking. I subscribed to the NZZ briefly in the 1990s but found the local section unpalatable even then. My background is bourgeois but includes the kind of pragmatic bent towards protecting nature often found there, think WWF or Sierra Club, and that bent has only become stromger over time. Mainly I vote Green or GLP, as far right as FDP and as far left as AL. All this means I think of bike lanes pretty much as a panacea for all urban ills, not only in terms of emissions but also as the mother of a kid who rides to school, and for public health reasons. Whereas the NZZ has long had this stance that cyclists are... perhaps not quite subhuman, but certainly substandard consumers, and generally suspicious if not quite always subversive elements. It got worse when they employed (edit, wrong first name) Lucien Scherrer a few years ago, who was with Weltwoche before. It would‘ve got still worse with Somm. Thank goodness that didn‘t come to pass.

Which is too bad because the Feuilleton used to be the best around, and the international section was also notably good.

Currently, like almost all Swiss newspapers (at least in the German-speaking part), the NZZ is struggling. Since I only read it in cafés any more, very sporadically and not at all since the pandemic began, I don‘t know how severe a toll was taken but I hear the NZZ is not what it used to be.

The single thing that bugged me most about it is that for all its PR about freedom of opinion, there have been situations where journalists were forbidden to write what they thought. This leaked through when we got to vote on the Energiestrategie 2050. Under Eric Gujer, NZZ journalists were explicitly forbidden to publish anything supporting the bill. It passed anyway (proving that it was far from being as extreme as they insisted; the country as a whole is pretty conservative). Gujer always seemed a little... slick to me, is that the word? As though he came not from journalism itself (though he does) but from one of those large consulting firms they bring in when they want to fire people.

The second thing that really bugs me is their bid to overtake FAZ on the right in the German market, mainly online. The German market is obviously much bigger. Equally obviously, German media are hesitant to veer further right than mainstream politics. Given that there is a largeish segment of voters to the right of German mainstream politics, their policy makes economic sense, though it has been damaging their reputation in the political centre. The AfD has called the NZZ „Westfernsehen“. Here‘s hoping that needs no further explanation.

Some sources if you‘re interested:

https://www.srf.ch/news/schweiz/deut...hts-zu-spueren

https://www.republik.ch/2020/02/11/das-leidmedium

https://www.infosperber.ch/medien/ue...-die-angst-um/

https://www.tagesanzeiger.ch/schweiz...story/16588250

Last edited by missenglish; 17.05.2021 at 00:04.
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  #43  
Old 16.05.2021, 22:18
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Re: How representative of Zürich is the NZZ [Neue Zürcher Zeitung]?

Having said all of the above, what are the alternatives? I read the Tagi to get an idea of what‘s going on about town, though of course it has suffered too in recent years. Also srf.ch (our equivalent to BBC and NPR, with similar criticisms; I appreciate it though) as well as overseas publications (they vary a bit and currently include the Atlantic). Infosperber and Blick are available for free online, as are Watson and Nau. The WOZ abolished their paywall in the pandemic, and has a policy of putting only part of their articles behind one anyway. I am told it has a good reputation among journalists; it often covers neglected subjects. To my mind it is quite uneven, however. And as predictably one-sided as the Weltwoche is on the other end of the spectrum.

Since reading „In Badehosen nach Stalingrad“, the biography of Weltwoche‘s Roger Köppel (whose dad left the family and whose mother committed suicide shortly after), I find it hard not to see him as a traumatised adult child whose coping strategy has been to withhold all empathy for the weaknesses of others - and presumably his own. It will be interesting to see what becomes of him as he ages. He is clearly driven and will stop at nothing. And might be too clever for his own good. Quite literally - not being snide. He used to write well but has slipped; now his fervour gets the better of his style. His early article about Scheissfilme is legendary.

The Republik has already been mentioned. Its target audience is probably a typical Stadtzürcher, or someone with similar demographics and views. Its initiator is Constantin Seibt, who used to write for the WOZ and later the Tagi, anywhere between brilliantly and totally off-target. I remember his spin on Switzerland‘s first female Bundesrätin, Elisabeth Kopp, as the tragic heroine of the country’s greatest romantic love story. IMHO that one was even better than Köppel‘s about Scheissfilme. But neither one seems to be online.
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  #44  
Old 16.05.2021, 22:22
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Re: How representative of Zürich is the NZZ [Neue Zürcher Zeitung]?

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Having said all of the above, what are the alternatives? I read the Tagi to get an idea of what‘s going on about town, though of course it has suffered too in recent years. Also srf.ch (our equivalent to BBC and NPR, with similar criticisms; I appreciate it though) as well as overseas publications (they vary a bit and currently include the Atlantic). Infosperber and Blick are available for free online, as are Watson and Nau. The WOZ abolished their paywall in the pandemic, and has a policy of putting only part of their articles behind one anyway. I am told it has a good reputation among journalists; it often covers neglected subjects. To my mind it is quite uneven, however. And as predictably one-sided as the Weltwoche is on the other end of the spectrum.

Since reading „In Badehosen nach Stalingrad“, the biography of Weltwoche‘s Roger Köppel (whose dad left the family and whose mother committed suicide shortly after), I find it hard not to see him as a traumatised adult child whose coping strategy has been to withhold all empathy for the weaknesses of others - and presumably his own. It will be interesting to see what becomes of him as he ages. He is clearly driven and will stop at nothing. And might be too clever for his own good. Quite literally - not being snide. He used to write well but has slipped. His early article about Scheissfilme is legendary.

The Republik has already been mentioned. Its target audience is probably a typical Stadtzürcher, or someone with similar demographics and views. Its initiator is Constantin Seibt, who used to write for the WOZ and later the Tagi, anywhere between brilliantly and totally off-target. I remember his spin on Switzerland‘s first female Bundesrätin, Elisabeth Kopp, as the tragic heroine of the country’s greatest romantic love story. IMHO that one was even better than Köppel‘s about Scheissfilme. But neither one seems to be online.
Interesting observations, thanks. Didn't know about Koeppel's family.

Good thread. Keep it coming.
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  #45  
Old 16.05.2021, 22:55
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Re: How representative of Zürich is the NZZ [Neue Zürcher Zeitung]?

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Late to this but thanks for asking. I subscribed to the NZZ briefly in the 1990s but found the local section unpalatable even then. My background is bourgeois but includes the kind of pragmatic bent towards protecting nature often found there, think WWF or Sierra Club, and that bent has only become stromger over time. Mainly I vote Green or GLP, as far right as FDP and as far left as AL. All this means I think of bike lanes pretty much as a panacea for all urban ills, not only in terms of emissions but also as the mother of a kid who rides to school, and for public health reasons. Whereas the NZZ has long had this stance that cyclists are... perhaps not quite subhuman, but certainly substandard consumers, and generally suspicious if not quite always subversive elements. It got worse when they employed Michael Scherrer a few years ago, who was with Weltwoche before. It would‘ve got still worse with Somm. Thank goodness that didn‘t come to pass.

Which is too bad because the Feuilleton used to be the best around, and the international section was also notably good.

Currently, like almost all Swiss newspapers (at least in the German-speaking part), the NZZ is struggling. Since I only read it in cafés any more, very sporadically and not at all since the pandemic began, I don‘t know how severe a toll was taken but I hear the NZZ is not what it used to be.

The single thing that bugged me most about it is that for all its PR about freedom of opinion, there have been situations where journalists were forbidden to write what they thought. This leaked through when we got to vote on the Energiestrategie 2050. Under Eric Gujer, NZZ journalists were explicitly forbidden to publish anything supporting the bill. It passed anyway (proving that it was far from being as extreme as they insisted; the country as a whole is pretty conservative). Gujer always seemed a little... slick to me, is that the word? As though he came not from journalism itself (though he does) but from one of those large consulting firms they bring in when they want to fire people.

The second thing that really bugs me is their bid to overtake FAZ on the right in the German market, mainly online. The German market is obviously much bigger. Equally obviously, German media are hesitant to veer further right than mainstream politics. Given that there is a largeish segment of voters to the right of German mainstream politics, their policy makes economic sense, though it has been damaging their reputation in the political centre. The AfD has called the NZZ „Westfernsehen“. Here‘s hoping that needs no further explanation.
What a well-informed and written answer. That kind of perspective is only acquired along time and putting attention to events. Newspapers bring balance to society, but newspapers need to be observed too. They're not sacred or untouchable because there's only humans behind the pages/pixels.
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  #46  
Old 16.05.2021, 23:05
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Re: How representative of Zürich is the NZZ [Neue Zürcher Zeitung]?

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Moreover, if the NZZ is putting its finger on the political-psychological pulse of the Swiss people in my neighborhood, or of the older Zürich generation that raised my Swiss age-peers who are now raising my kid's future peers, that'd be very useful for me to know.
Personal opinion: Worldviews shift here, but probably more slowly than the attitude of the paper itself... In the old days, you needed to be an FDP member to buy shares. It was the organ of old money, with a lot of overlap to the FDP, also an organ of old money and in its turn part of an old boys’ network among economic, military and political leaders in the Protestant parts of the country (as the CVP was for the Catholic regions) also known as „der Filz“. All very understated and discreet. With the decline of the Filz, and of traditional newspapers, its priorities have shifted towards the values of nouveaux riches. It is now garishly, unashamedly commercial compared to a few decades ago. Then again, what isn‘t? O tempora...

(My dad was active in the FDP in the 70s, and the paper was delivered to our house for the entire two decades I lived there. But not even my octogenarian parents subscribe to the NZZ any more - because it does not take environmental issues seriously enough in their opinion. The FDP has been debating similar issues hotly after being called the F... de Planet party by climate strikers. The whole family objects to environmental concerns being ridiculed as „woke“ the way they often are in all but the science section of the paper.)
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  #47  
Old 17.05.2021, 00:20
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Re: How representative of Zürich is the NZZ [Neue Zürcher Zeitung]?

MissEnglish, your replies are extremely elucidating and substantive. Thank you for describing this evolving terrain betwixt politics and media for those not steeped in its history. I also appreciate the inside-baseball elegance of your explanations, the psychobiographical take on Köppel, the part about how you and your parents see the NZZ from your respective political angles, and the sense that memorable pieces of writing matter to you.

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The second thing that really bugs me is their bid to overtake FAZ on the right in the German market, mainly online. The German market is obviously much bigger. Equally obviously, German media are hesitant to veer further right than mainstream politics. Given that there is a largeish segment of voters to the right of German mainstream politics, their policy makes economic sense, though it has been damaging their reputation in the political centre. The AfD has called the NZZ „Westfernsehen“. Here‘s hoping that needs no further explanation.

Some sources if you‘re interested:

https://www.srf.ch/news/schweiz/deut...hts-zu-spueren

https://www.republik.ch/2020/02/11/das-leidmedium

https://www.infosperber.ch/medien/ue...-die-angst-um/

https://www.tagesanzeiger.ch/schweiz...story/16588250
Interesting, this thumbs-up from the AfD, and NZZ's self-positioning vis-à-vis the FAZ. Thanks for the links. I guess in that light an NZZ piece like this ("Das Märchen vom Rechtsrutsch – wie politische Prüderie das Meinungsklima vergiftet") could be read as veiled self-justification.

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Personal opinion: Worldviews shift here, but probably more slowly than the attitude of the paper itself... In the old days, you needed to be an FDP member to buy shares. It was the organ of old money, with a lot of overlap to the FDP, also an organ of old money and in its turn part of an old boys’ network among economic, military and political leaders in the Protestant parts of the country (as the CVP was for the Catholic regions) also known as „der Filz“. All very understated and discreet. With the decline of the Filz, and of traditional newspapers, its priorities have shifted towards the values of nouveaux riches. It is now garishly, unashamedly commercial compared to a few decades ago. Then again, what isn‘t? O tempora...
This is fascinating! Even if my knowledge of Switzerland never gets this deep and granular, snapshots like the above are enlightening as to how power, historically, has been distributed in this society. "Understated and discreet" has always been a good cover; at least "garishly, unashamedly commercial" lays more bare.

May I ask whether you've also any thoughts on the more general issue of elites/elitism mentioned above (copied below)?

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curious about the attitudes around "elite"ness in this (German-speaking part of) Swiss culture, no doubt a complex topic, e.g., how old/new/foreign elites perceive one another; to what extent "elite"ness is defined here in terms of wealth; how much or how little social mobility figures into the dreams of young people amid an education system that seems to honor equality, support all professional paths, and eschew elitism.

Last edited by Aujourdhui; 17.05.2021 at 00:44.
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  #48  
Old 17.05.2021, 09:56
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Re: How representative of Zürich is the NZZ [Neue Zürcher Zeitung]?

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Articles expressing indignation against "wokeness" seem to crop twice a week. This is very odd to me. The social movements sweeping the US aimed at advocacy for disenfranchised group identities and condemning police violence have, in my impression, hardly rocked Swiss society. (Have similar social-justice efforts within a Swiss context made any dent in the Swiss establishment?)
There is a reason for this. I appreciate that there are countries where these are real issues and need to be addressed.

Luckily in Switzerland we don't have issues with police brutality, for example. Therefore indignation against such things, in the local context, is perceived to be baseless - thus the reluctance against 'wokeness', as you have called it.

As for the situation abroad, in Switzerland the mindset generally is "let each country handle their own issues". This means that we avoid getting involved in conflicts/issues abroad, and similarly we also expect that other countries avoid giving us lessons in how to run our country

Hopefully this explains the context
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  #49  
Old 17.05.2021, 10:14
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Re: How representative of Zürich is the NZZ [Neue Zürcher Zeitung]?

Just my two Rappen . I haven’t yet read all of this thread but this is how I see it

I used to like the Tagi . It covered a broad range of topics and a broad range of opinions . Especially the local news section and as of interest to me as I think when settling down in a new place understanding local politics and events helps you integrate faster .

The NZZ on the other hand I considered to have insufficient coverage of local stuff and a general pitch and tone that I disliked reading. Often being academic and long winded with a leaning to dogmatism and fundamentalism . As if it was written by a university professor with a hangover .

Bűz i think over the years that has changed . The Tagi has repeatedly cut back on editorial staff and increased its reliance on syndicated content , often of mixed quality and sometimes from German sources that miss the Swiss perspective . Things started going downhill even faster when the free newspapers such as a Blick am Abend and 20 Minuten started coming out. Ironically 20 Minuten was produced by the same company that owns Tagi . Tagi entered the race to the bottom and descended into filling pages with unbearable fluff.

I think at about the same time NZZ managed to clean up its act and several heterodox and nonconformist writers joined the contributors . People who make you think rather than telling you what to think . Of course there is also still a lot of fluff sd well, but I just skip those bits .I think these days NZZ is just about the only daily newspapers that is still readable . Not just in Switzerland but in the whole German speaking world .
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Old 17.05.2021, 10:16
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Re: How representative of Zürich is the NZZ [Neue Zürcher Zeitung]?

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Your post (and others today) are complete and utter crap, designed only to provoke. I don‘t read the NZZ, as you need to subscribe, but read otherwise most serious international press daily, so this reply doesn‘t come from an NZZ fan. I read the Daily Mail when on the loo as light reading. Before that I read other international press. However I don‘t brand all UK people (although it‘s sometimes hard not to) according to what I‘ve read in the Daily Mail. It takes common sense and insight into the society in order to be able to make an informed decision. That you clearly don‘t have.
Walk into bathroom. Pull down pants. Have a wee and read the Daily Mail or the Guardian
Realize this is going to take longer: Take out the NZZ

The things I (wish I wouldn't) read and learn on EF
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Old 17.05.2021, 10:21
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Re: How representative of Zürich is the NZZ [Neue Zürcher Zeitung]?

People read newspapers when EF exists? On EF we have the world's best journalists, researchers, epidemiologists etc etc
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Old 17.05.2021, 16:18
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Re: How representative of Zürich is the NZZ [Neue Zürcher Zeitung]?

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People read newspapers when EF exists? On EF we have the world's best journalists, researchers, epidemiologists etc etc
Yup, and mostly these top epidemiologists are also the best experts on economics, politics, research.

We are truly priviledged.
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Old 17.05.2021, 22:58
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Re: How representative of Zürich is the NZZ [Neue Zürcher Zeitung]?

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I guess in that light an NZZ piece like this ("Das Märchen vom Rechtsrutsch – wie politische Prüderie das Meinungsklima vergiftet") could be read as veiled self-justification.

May I ask whether you've also any thoughts on the more general issue of elites/elitism mentioned above (copied below)?
Agreed on everything except „veiled“. And no, I haven‘t. Back in the days of the Filz, it was obvious. But by now, everybody has own definition of words like elites or success (or, for that matter, liberal). IMHO the kind of folks we need most are those who can build bridges. So I subscribe to the maxim: stop trying to raise successful children and start raising kind ones.

(Easy to say with a kid who soaks up what interests her like a sponge. That seemingly egalitarian school system you mention is all very well in theory. In practice, competition is fierce in the Zürcher Mittelstufe, and it does something to the social dynamics of many a class. Perhaps others are luckier. But it has been our experience that children who do too well too effortlessly are called Streber, and woe betide you if you dare to call a spade a spade and mention elitist words like top of the class. Which I only did because the situation posed a problem, not to brag or imply others weren‘t just as bright in their ways. But since then, the Mittelstufe teacher had me down as a tiger mom. Glad that‘s over.)

Last edited by missenglish; 17.05.2021 at 23:51.
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Old 17.05.2021, 23:01
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Re: How representative of Zürich is the NZZ [Neue Zürcher Zeitung]?

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Just my two Rappen . I haven’t yet read all of this thread but this is how I see it

I used to like the Tagi . It covered a broad range of topics and a broad range of opinions . Especially the local news section and as of interest to me as I think when settling down in a new place understanding local politics and events helps you integrate faster .

The NZZ on the other hand I considered to have insufficient coverage of local stuff and a general pitch and tone that I disliked reading. Often being academic and long winded with a leaning to dogmatism and fundamentalism . As if it was written by a university professor with a hangover .

Bűz i think over the years that has changed . The Tagi has repeatedly cut back on editorial staff and increased its reliance on syndicated content , often of mixed quality and sometimes from German sources that miss the Swiss perspective . Things started going downhill even faster when the free newspapers such as a Blick am Abend and 20 Minuten started coming out. Ironically 20 Minuten was produced by the same company that owns Tagi . Tagi entered the race to the bottom and descended into filling pages with unbearable fluff.

I think at about the same time NZZ managed to clean up its act and several heterodox and nonconformist writers joined the contributors . People who make you think rather than telling you what to think . Of course there is also still a lot of fluff sd well, but I just skip those bits .I think these days NZZ is just about the only daily newspapers that is still readable . Not just in Switzerland but in the whole German speaking world .
Funny how our perspectives diverge. Perhaps you just got older? Not that I got younger... but in my youth, my political perspective was that of my milieu, and I have come to question a lot of that.
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Old 18.05.2021, 09:08
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Re: How representative of Zürich is the NZZ [Neue Zürcher Zeitung]?

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Agreed on everything except „veiled“. And no, I haven‘t. Back in the days of the Filz, it was obvious. But by now, everybody has own definition of words like elites or success (or, for that matter, liberal). IMHO the kind of folks we need most are those who can build bridges. So I subscribe to the maxim: stop trying to raise successful children and start raising kind ones.

(Easy to say with a kid who soaks up what interests her like a sponge. That seemingly egalitarian school system you mention is all very well in theory. In practice, competition is fierce in the Zürcher Mittelstufe, and it does something to the social dynamics of many a class. Perhaps others are luckier. But it has been our experience that children who do too well too effortlessly are called Streber, and woe betide you if you dare to call a spade a spade and mention elitist words like top of the class. Which I only did because the situation posed a problem, not to brag or imply others weren‘t just as bright in their ways. But since then, the Mittelstufe teacher had me down as a tiger mom. Glad that‘s over.)
I'm not sure "elitist" is the word though. Two tiers? It starts early. I'm thinking of "Begafö" here, the "gifted education" lessons. Kids who show interest, special talents or abilities are stimulated accordingly. It is not a bad thing as long as the system aims to offer a higher general level of education. As a parent I'm rather grateful. I'm not sure how's that affecting class dynamics though, but teachers here are very careful with these sorts of things, in my experience. There are different expectations according to individual abilities, but this does not seem to segregate kids. So in that sense it is "egalitarian" IMO.

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(My dad was active in the FDP in the 70s, and the paper was delivered to our house for the entire two decades I lived there. But not even my octogenarian parents subscribe to the NZZ any more - because it does not take environmental issues seriously enough in their opinion. The FDP has been debating similar issues hotly after being called the F... de Planet party by climate strikers. The whole family objects to environmental concerns being ridiculed as „woke“ the way they often are in all but the science section of the paper.)
Aww, that "woke" thing again. Nice.

Last edited by greenmount; 18.05.2021 at 09:29.
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  #56  
Old 18.05.2021, 10:38
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Re: How representative of Zürich is the NZZ [Neue Zürcher Zeitung]?

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For another view, try the Weltwoche. Under new management, it took a turn towards the right a few years ago.

For a more left/alternative slant, have a look at the WoZ (Wochenzeitung).

For critical protest and practical info on the Swiss way things work (or don't) on societal, family, legal topics, and for articles about the application if the laws about topics such as employment and personal insurances, consult the Beobachter.

For articles about the realities of living at the struggling end of society, try Surprise.
also try Die Zeit. It is from Germany but it has good Swiss coverage and Swiss editions? I only read the print version as i prefer print papers. Although my German is nowhere perfect. I also like to read Der Spiegel but it's German of course so not too many Swiss topics covered.
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Old 18.05.2021, 10:57
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Re: How representative of Zürich is the NZZ [Neue Zürcher Zeitung]?

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also try Die Zeit. It is from Germany but it has good Swiss coverage and Swiss editions? I only read the print version as i prefer print papers. Although my German is nowhere perfect. I also like to read Der Spiegel but it's German of course so not too many Swiss topics covered.
Der Spiegel is good, rarely read it lately though for the reasons you mentioned. What I do read mostly now is Zürichsee-Zeitung, it is good and informative enough for me...
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Old 18.05.2021, 12:01
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Re: How representative of Zürich is the NZZ [Neue Zürcher Zeitung]?

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Funny how our perspectives diverge. Perhaps you just got older? Not that I got younger... but in my youth, my political perspective was that of my milieu, and I have come to question a lot of that.
Maybe. I'm maybe one of those guys Clemenceau had in mind when he said that if you're not a socialist when you're 20 you have no heart, but if you're still one when you're 40 ....
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Old 18.05.2021, 12:05
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Re: How representative of Zürich is the NZZ [Neue Zürcher Zeitung]?

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Der Spiegel is good, rarely read it lately though for the reasons you mentioned. What I do read mostly now is Zürichsee-Zeitung, it is good and informative enough for me...
,
Spiegel used to be good. But they've gone downhill a long time ago. The Reloutius affair didn't really teach them the lesson it should have taught them. Plenty of people there in the senior departments who must have known exactly what was going on. If they had wanted to rebuild their credibility, heads should have rolled there and then. But they didn't.

Maybe symptomatic of German journalism as a whole. Which brings me back to why I like the NZZ. It managed to keep sufficient distance between itself and the German mess.
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Old 18.05.2021, 12:38
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Re: How representative of Zürich is the NZZ [Neue Zürcher Zeitung]?

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Spiegel used to be good. But they've gone downhill a long time ago. The Reloutius affair didn't really teach them the lesson it should have taught them. Plenty of people there in the senior departments who must have known exactly what was going on. If they had wanted to rebuild their credibility, heads should have rolled there and then. But they didn't.

Maybe symptomatic of German journalism as a whole. Which brings me back to why I like the NZZ. It managed to keep sufficient distance between itself and the German mess.
I think I'll stick to National Geographic.
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