Friday, August 10, 2012

Foreign Policy lectures: Cicero

When you are in Germany, read what Germans read. And this sentence could be repeated for various countries that I am visiting all round the year. As long as I know the local language, it is important to get connected through the local political culture. And apparently, I cannot live too much without knowing what is going on in the cultural life. 

As for Germany, for a long time I used to read regularly FAZ and Der Spiegel. Most of the news I hear from radio or, when necessary, I have the Google alerts that offer a basis for further documentation. In the last months, I started to read also Cicero, the "Magazine for Political Culture".

It was created in 2004 as part of Ringier Group and with the aim to be the German variant of The New Yorker or the Atlantic Monthly. Together with the advertising and arts publication Monopol, it is part of the serious porfolio of Ringier. I do not have yet the explanation of the choice of the name Cicero for the publication.

It counted as contributors various local politicians or literary stars - as Wladimir Kaminer or Martin Walser - but also Madeleine Albright and Umberto Eco. Initially planned for 15 pages, it reached around  40 in the first issues, and over 100 nowadays. The design is friendly and you can find almost everything you need for a lazy monthly lecture. If you are a foreigner and you are curious about what is going on in the German political life, buy Cicero and your image will be less blurred. 

A big part of the publication is focused on various local issues, including, in the July issue, the Schlecker case, but during time it also addressed various controversial issues. In 2005, the publication was the subject of a state investigation after it published secret documents about the terrorist of Jordanian origin al-Zarqawi

Most German media - of Western origin - was created in the 1970s, but Cicero succeeded at a certain extent to win permanently new readers. Within the first 2 years, it suceeded to reach a 50,000 copies and nowadays it sells around 83,000. 

No comments: