What was the first news website

History of television news

The "Tagesschau" - a German institution

Everyone knows it, the theme song of the "Tagesschau". From the end of the 1950s, broadcasting time between 8:00 p.m. and 8:15 p.m. was "Tagesschau-Zeit" in many families. Telephone calls and other disturbances from friends and relatives were tried to prevent during this quarter of an hour.

On December 26, 1952, the first news of the day flickered across the screen. The program began in Hamburg, where the Northwest German Broadcasting Corporation (NWDR) had been operating a television research institute since 1948. The West German Broadcasting (WDR) and the North German Broadcasting (NDR) later emerged from the NWDR.

The idea of ​​producing news for television and not for the cinema had only slowly gained acceptance in Germany. Like much in those years, this development can be attributed to the influence from the USA. Initially, the broadcasts could only be received by a few device owners who lived in the catchment area of ​​broadcasting stations in Hamburg, Hanover, Berlin and Cologne - in the beginning that was only a few thousand people.

Initially, the daily news was broadcast three times a week - Monday, Wednesday and Friday. Each issue was repeated the following day. From October 1, 1956, it had its permanent place in the program from Monday to Saturday, and in September 1961 the Sunday edition was added.

News pictures on television

Until March 1955 the Tagesschau editors used the footage of the "Neue Deutsche Wochenschau", but since 1953 they also had their own cameraman who traveled the world with the German statesmen. On the basis of a television contract, which at the time comprised six state broadcasters (BR, HR, NWDR, RB, SDR and SWF), from 1954 onwards the other ARD stations also delivered contributions from their broadcasting area.

In the early years of the Tagesschau, however, transporting the film was inconvenient. Until the introduction of magnetic image recording (MAZ) in the summer of 1959, film contributions could not be transferred: the exposed film material had to be brought by a courier from the recording location to the broadcast studio - depending on the distance by bike, car, train or plane. Even within Germany, up to 24 hours could pass from recording to broadcast.

Until the end of the 1950s, the film contributions were captioned "off-screen", that is, the speaker was not in the picture. It was not until 1959 that "Mister Tagesschau" Karl-Heinz Köpcke entered the news studio - and it quickly became a trademark of ARD news.

"heute" - the ZDF news alternative

With the establishment of ZDF in 1961 (broadcasting started April 1, 1963) and the start of the news program "heute", the daily news became a competitive program format. ZDF was deliberately designed to compete with ARD, and this was also evident in the news sector. The broadcast time of "heute" was always before the Tagesschau - from 1973 it was fixed at 7pm. The ZDF advertised with the slogan: "On ZDF, watch out, dear ones, you know the latest at seven!"

Flicker, less stiff presenters and magazine-like film contributions made up the profile of the heute program and brought the Tagesschau under quota pressure in the 1970s.

The introduction of private television

In January 1984 the channels Sat1 and RTL Plus broadcast their programs for the first time in part of the Federal Republic of Germany - the beginning of commercial television in Germany. A news program was part of the daily program of all new channels from the start.

There is now such a large number of different news offers that it is difficult to keep an overview. But of course there are differences in the reporting and the preparation of the news: In the private sector, for example, political reporting takes up less space than in ARD and ZDF.

Instead, topics from the everyday life of the audience and so-called "human interest" topics are increasingly taken up. Elements of entertainment, looser clothing, and the behavior of presenters or speakers, and live studio staging have vastly expanded the breadth of what constitutes a typical news program.

"Current camera" - news in the east

The news landscape in the GDR was less diverse. Just in time for Stalin's 73rd birthday, "Current Camera" was broadcast in the GDR on December 21, 1952, the first public news program. In the early days, it consisted of a few slides for which messages were read out. The focus of the reporting was on domestic and economic issues - state receptions and reports of success from production filled the program.

Reports were also made from the so-called "socialist brother countries", although sensitive topics such as the successes of the Solidarność trade union movement in Poland or the Gorbachev program of glasnost and perestroika were avoided.