Talking truth

21.01.2021, Germany, Bertelsmann Content Alliance

In times of fake news and conspiracy myths, the Bertelsmann Content Alliance companies are facing up to their social responsibility.

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Cover stories and live broadcasts, lavish TV documentaries and podcasts, book publications and events, the various media outlets of The Bertelsmann Content Alliance, reaching 99 per cent of people in Germany, are addressing the importance of truth and lies for society more intensively than ever before and showing what high-quality journalism can contribute to a community’s success. 

The Bertelsmann Content Alliance initiative will run throughout 2021 under the motto JAhr zur Wahrheit. Weil’s stimmen muss (YE(s)/ar of truth. It has to be correct), sending an important message about good, serious journalism.

Stephan Schäfer

Stephan Schäfer, Managing Director Content and Brands Mediengruppe RTL Deutschland and Chief Product Officer Gruner + Jahr, adds: “2021 is a decisive year in many respects, which we must and want to actively support and help shape, because the Bertelsmann Content Alliance encompasses a unique variety of media genres and can therefore reach every target group in Germany. This reach is both a privilege and a social responsibility: the truth is not always pleasant and can also hurt. But we see it as our duty to also show the other side of the coin.”

Just as they did for the inauguration of US President Joe Biden, Mediengruppe RTL Deutschland’s channels will report extensively on the major political events in this big election year. For instance, for the first time there will be an “election trail” before the German Bundestag elections, which will be broadcast in primetime on RTL Television in August 2021. In addition, Vox will cover the topic of influencer marketing in the four-hour documentary Die Macht von Social Media – Wie Influencer unser Leben verändern (The Power of Social Media - How influencers change our lives). There will also be documentaries on the subject of racism and the National Socialist Underground investigation. Other original documentaries and reports are being planned by Mediengruppe RTL Deutschland. The focus will be on the 20th anniversary of 9/11, the first anniversary of the Hanau shootings, climate deniers, and the coronavirus mass vaccinations in the summer.

TV Now has commissioned UFA Fiction to produce three complex, politically and socially relevant programmes: a docudrama about the Wirecard scandal will be shown in the first quarter of 2021, a four-part documentary about Angela Merkel is planned for the end of 2021, and Faking Hitler, a film adaptation of the successful Stern podcast of the same name, will be shot this year.

Among other things, the Henri Nannen School and RTL School of Journalism are planning, various seminars and workshops for students on the topics of press freedom, disinformation, and quality journalism.

The  “Tag der Wahrheit” (Day of Truth) festival of journalism, jointly organised by Gruner + Jahr and Mediengruppe RTL Deutschland, which had to be postponed due to coronavirus, is planned for a suitable time after the end of the pandemic, where politicians, writers, journalists, bloggers, scientists and many other personalities will debate current affairs and the role of journalism.

RTL Radio Deutschland gives its listeners an insight behind the scenes of the radio stations and invites them to exchange ideas. In addition, various stations are introducing a Fact Check section, in which current events and common myths are scrutinised for veracity.

Audio Now is accompanying the filming of the Wirecard scandal with its own podcast and is planning special episodes on the topic of truth in the knowledge podcasts produced by the Audio Alliance.

Gruner + Jahr and Penguin Random House are also using the diversity of their brands to highlight the topics of journalism and truth. JAhr zur Wahrheit. Weil’s stimmt muss is a comprehensive initiative supported by a cross-divisional marketing campaign.

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