The Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung (English literally Frankfurt General Newspaper), short F.A.Z., also known as the FAZ, is a centre-right,[2] liberal-conservative[3] German newspaper, founded in 1949. It is published daily in Frankfurt am Main.[4] Its Sunday edition is the Frankfurter Allgemeine Sonntagszeitung (F.A.S.).

The F.A.Z. runs its own correspondent network. Its editorial policy is not determined by a single editor, but cooperatively by five editors. It is the German newspaper with the widest circulation abroad, with its editors claiming to deliver the newspaper to 148 countries every day.

History

The first edition of the F.A.Z. appeared on 1 November 1949;[5][6] its founding editor was Erich Welter. Some editors had worked for the moderate Frankfurter Zeitung, which had been banned in 1943. However, in their first issue, the F.A.Z. editorial expressly refuted the notion of being the earlier paper's successor or of continuing its legacy:

"Arising from the fact that some of our colleagues previously were members of the Frankfurter Zeitung, it often has been suggested an attempt was being made here to be the successor to that newspaper. Such an assumption misjudges our intentions. Like everyone, we too are astonished at the high quality of that paper; …however, showing respect for an amazing achievement does not imply a desire to copy it."

— FAZ Editorial board, Dohrendorf, 1990.[7]

Until 30 September 1950 the F.A.Z. was printed in Mainz.

Traditionally, many of the headlines in the F.A.Z. were styled in orthodox blackletter format and no photographs appeared on the title page. Some of the rare exceptions were a picture of the celebrating people in front of the Reichstag in Berlin on the German Unity Day on 4 October 1990, and the two pictures in the edition of 12 September 2001 showing the collapsing World Trade Center and the American president George W. Bush.

In the early 2000s, F.A.Z. expanded aggressively, with customized sections for Berlin and Munich.[8] An eight-page six-day-a-week English-language edition distributed as an insert in The International Herald Tribune, which is owned by The New York Times Company; the articles were selected and translated from the same day's edition of the parent newspaper by the F.A.Z. staff in Frankfurt.[9] However, F.A.Z. group, suffered a loss of 60.6 million euros in 2002. By 2004, the customized sections were later scrapped. The English edition shrank to a tabloid published once a week.[8]

On 5 October 2007, the F.A.Z. altered their traditional layout to include color photographs on the front page and exclude blackletter typeface outside the nameplate. Due to its traditionally sober layout, the introduction of colour photographs in the F.A.Z. was controversially discussed by the readers, became the subject of a 2009 comedy film, and was still current three years later.[10]

Currently, the F.A.Z. is produced electronically using the Networked Interactive Content Access (NICA) and Hermes. For its characteristic comment headings, a digital Fraktur font was ordered. The Fraktur has since been abandoned, however, with the above-mentioned change of layout.

After having introduced on 1 August 1999 the new spelling prescribed by the German spelling reform, the F.A.Z. returned exactly one year later to the old spelling, declaring that their experience had shown that the reform was ambiguous and partly nonsensical. After several changes had been made to the new spelling, F.A.Z. accepted it and started using it (in a custom version) on 1 January 2007.[12]

Orientation

The F.A.Z. promotes an image of making its readers think. The truth is stated to be sacred to the F.A.Z., so care is taken to clearly label news reports and comments as such. Its political orientation is centre right[2] and liberal-conservative,[3] occasionally providing a forum to commentators with different opinions. In particular, the Feuilleton and some sections of the Sunday edition cannot be said to be specifically conservative or liberal at all.

In the 2013 elections the paper was among the supporters of the Christian Democrats.[13]

Circulation

The F.A.Z. is one of several high-profile national newspapers in Germany (along with Süddeutsche Zeitung, Die Welt, Die Zeit, Frankfurter Rundschau and die Tageszeitung) and among them has the second largest circulation nationwide. It maintains the largest number of foreign correspondents of any European newspaper (53 as of 2002).[15]

The paper is published in Nordisch format.[16]

Ownership

It has the legal form of a GmbH; the independent FAZIT-Stiftung (FAZIT Foundation) is its majority shareholder (93.7%).[17] The FAZIT-STIFTUNG was born in 1959 by the transformation of the then FAZ owner "Allgemeine Verlagsgesellschaft mbH" into a private foundation. The FAZIT-STIFTUNG is 'owned' by up to nine persons who can't sell or buy their share but have to transmit it free of charge to a successor which is co-opted by the remaining shareholders. The foundations statute prescribe that only such persons shall be co-opted as new member, who "by their standing and personality" can guarantee the "independence" of the FAZ. The current group of seven is composed of active or former CEOs, company owners, board members, and corporate lawyers. The FAZIT foundation also owns more than 90% of the shares of the company 'Frankfurter Societät' which in turn is owner of the printing enterprise 'Frankfurter Societätsdruckerei' and the regional paper Frankfurer Neue Presse.

Circulation

The F.A.Z. had a circulation of 382,000 copies during the third quarter of 1992.[4] The 1993 circulation of the paper was 391,013 copies.[19] In 2001 it had a circulation of 409,000 copies.[16] The F.A.Z. had a circulation of 382,000 copies in 2003.[20] The 2007 circulation of the daily was 382,499 copies.[21]

Controversies and bans

In December 1999, future German Chancellor Angela Merkel published a sensational article in the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, lamenting the ‘‘tragedy’’ that had befallen the party, blaming incumbent Chancellor Helmut Kohl and urging a new course.[22]

In 2006, the F.A.Z. was banned in Egypt for publishing articles which were deemed as "insulting Islam".[23] The paper was again banned in Egypt in February 2008 due to the publication of Prophet Mohammad's cartoons.[24] In November 2012, the paper provoked strong criticism in Spain because of its stance against Spanish immigration to Germany during the economic crisis.[25]

Famous contributors