Are you familiar with ZEIT Magazin? You should be.

Are you familiar with ZEIT Magazin?  You should be. Thumbnail image for Thumbnail image for chipingym.jpg
Are you familiar with ZEIT Magazin? It's the weekly magazine of German newspaper Die Zeit (translates to The Times in English) and is a regular fixture over on Coverjunkie (each issue features two covers).
They also publish a twice-yearly English language best-of edition, available widely in London and New York.
Berlin-based journalist Kati Krause spoke with ZEIT Magazin's editor Christoph Amend and art director Katja Kollmann for the new issue of Gym Class. Here's an extract from their conversation.

Kati
How does the art department participate in content planning?

Katja
There are a lot of people in editorial meetings. We have set times when we meet and do what we call an optikrunde [a visual round], in which the picture desk, the art department, the editors and Mirko [the magazine's Munich-based creative director] take part.

We discuss the upcoming issue to see what details are missing, other current work and ideas for future content. Mirko might have an idea for a photo story, for example, and then we discuss how to do that, whether it'll be a big story or a small one. So we have regular meetings and also plenty of emails and phone calls on a daily basis, within the office and with Mirko in Munich.

Kati
When is the issue sent to print?

Christoph
On Friday evening, to be published on Thursday. It's like a machine that never stops running. We send pages to the printers every single day. Sometimes we produce two issues completely in parallel. Of course, it's strenuous.

Kati
What is your goal with the magazine?

Christoph
I think that the magazine is the emotional side of Die Zeit. That means our function is to tell personal stories, to be younger, to be a kind of gateway drug for readers. So it is meant to capture new readers but also to create a bond with the ones the paper already has.

Kati
Who had the idea of making two covers?

Katja
We all came up with that, in a group meeting with Giovanni di Lorenzo, the editor-in-chief of Die Zeit. We did an internal presentation in Hamburg and had that idea for just one issue. And someone said: "We could always do that." So we discussed whether it would get boring at some point or whether we'd run out of ideas, but we dared to do it anyway.

Kati
I don't think it's gotten boring.

Christoph
We really didn't know whether we would manage. But during the presentation everyone paused at that double cover, simply because it doesn't exist anywhere else. Many people said we wouldn't be able to keep it up. And it was tough. You have to change your entire way of thinking... to tell a story, you need a punch line.

Katja
It's twice as difficult every time. You have to always think about the punch line. Is it a joke? Is it a before-and-after? Is it a big-and-small? It's quite a challenge.

Christoph
But when you're doing something this unusual, you have to keep it up.

Read the whole Q&A in the new issue of Gym Class. Available to pre-order now. Reserve your copy over at the Gym Class website.

Portrait of Christoph and Katja shot for Gym Class by photographer Marlen Mueller.

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