‘Final Times Deutschland’ bows out with grace

The last edition of the Financial Times Deutschland business newspaper was published on Friday with an all-black front page bearing the words "Finally Black" in a gallows humour take on the financial trouble which forced its closure.

'Final Times Deutschland' bows out with grace
Photo: DPA

Editors knocked out letters in the title to leave Final Times Deutschland on the masthead, and filled the final edition with a review of the paper’s 13-year history; its best stories, illustrations – and greatest mistakes.

The tone was fatalistically funny, with a photograph of the editorial team bowing on the final page, above the line, “Sorry dear readers, that these are the last lines of the FTD. We’re sorry. We unconditionally apologise. But – if we were able to start again from the beginning – we would do it exactly the same.”

The editors have a line apologising to share-holders for getting through “so many millions” – and to the advertisers, “that we have reported so critically about your companies.”

The page numbers were dropped, in favour a count-down to the end of the paper, which finished with a “Last Will” commentary piece – supposedly the last testament of the paper’s commentary writers and columnists.

Staff have raised nearly €25,000 for the “Reporters Without Borders” non-profit organisation, by auctioning off mementos from their office.

Publishers Gruner + Jahr announced last month that the Financial Times Deutschland had lost too much money and was not in a position to make a profit – and would be closed down. More than 360 staff will be affected and although some will be found jobs within Gruner + Jahr, most are expected to end up unemployed, something they are not accepting with black humour.

A demonstration is planned for Friday afternoon in front of the head quarters in Hamburg. The workers’ council said Gruner + Jahr was letting 350 people go during what it called the “worst structural crisis in the media since the founding of the federal republic.”

The Frankfurter Rundschau newspaper registered its insolvency recently, while the Nuremberg-based Abendzeitung was closed at the end of September. In October the news agency DAPD also applied for insolvency, while jobs are due to be cut at the Berliner Verlag newspaper group which publishes the Berliner Zeitung and the Berliner Kurier.

DAPD/The Local/hc

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