This newspaper is an institution of perfidy. It is wrong, to read it. Somebody who contributes to this newspaper is socially absolutely unacceptable.

(Max Goldt, German author)
More than 100 times it got criticized by the press council.
And yet, 11 million people read it. 30% trust it.
What is the secret of BILD’s success?
How can a newspaper with such a negative image gain such a share of readers?

For the first time printed in 1952 the newspaper rapidly developed to one of the highest circulating tabloids in Europe, coining politics and society.

The majority of BILD readers have not received higher education and as a conclusion the BILD adjusts to this target. When printing a newspaper for the working class, they should be able to afford it. This factor Axel Springer, the founder, was aware of and introduced the newspaper for 10 Pfenning to the market, available for everyone.

However, Springer’s business plan did not really pay off. Until 1952 165 000 issues were printed. So Springer decided to add more text to the so far image-focused newspaper. By September 1953 more than one million copies were sold. The articles are with regards to grammar and content widely shortened and very provocative.

One characteristic feature is directly addressing the reader, especially by means of the collective “we”. In April 2005 for example BILD announced:
“we are pope!”

BILD prefers catchwords and breaks down the headlines to a minimum of words.
Superlatives, extremely high or low numbers and neologisms try to make an article more interesting.

Captions try to connect to emotions to evoke certain feelings, a common example is the “gasoline-anger”. By writing in capital letters BILD wants to horrify the reader like in “CANCER-FEAR because of cell phones”.

The BILD loves drama and fictionalizes reality. It has been criticized endless times for its polemic reporting. In spite of its criticism, its frivolus reporting and its high pornographic share the BILD ist the most widely read newspaper in Germany. However, the distressing thing is not the high number of circulation. It is its power. It is distressing that the parliament sits within its summer break because of the BILD. It is distressing that the BILD is disruptive of privacy and is still the print number one in many households. It is distressing that the BILD forms our policies and opinions.

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