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Blick Switzerland’s best-selling newspaper turns 60

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A new Swiss media voice introduced itself on October 14, 1959, with the following words: “Blick is courageous, aggressive and will always stand up for your rights as free citizens, and it’s not afraid to tell the truth.”

Blick reporters were often the first on the scene in their cars with the newspaper logo painted on the side; even in the first edition readers were being asked to write in with topics they wanted covered.

In launching Switzerland’s first tabloid paper, publisher Ringier was reacting to the social changes of the 1950s: prosperity, consumer society, electronic mass media. The model was Bild, founded in Germany in 1952.

Zeitung

The Blick frontpage from October 14, 1959

(Keystone / Str)

Controversy and protests

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Blick was an immediate hit among the man and woman in the street, but it was disdained by the Swiss elite. Middle-class students even went a step further and protested in Zurich, Bern and Lucerne just two months after the first edition by actually burning piles of the newspaper.

Protest

A protest group in Zurich sets fire to a doll stuffed with Blicks on October 31, 1959

(Keystone)

Blick celebrated its 60th anniversary on Monday by producing a special edition costing CHF0.20 ($0.20) instead of the usual CHF2.50. It included extra pages and memories from readers.

What do the other media say?

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“No other media title in recent decades has made a greater impression in Switzerland than Blick,” writes Stefan Millius in Die Ostschweizexternal link

Blick has changed many times in its 60 years – and changed back a few times too. Who can remember Blick for Women? The weekly appeared from 1985 until 1990, when people realised that women weren’t actually from another planet and could get by perfectly well with the ‘normal’ Blick – even though this was assumed to be primarily a toy for men.”

Blick

Checking out 'Blick for Women' in the mid-1980s

(Keystone)

Circulation rise and fall

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Having a monopoly in the tabloid market, Blick became the best-selling paper in the country, with circulation peaking at 380,000 copies a day in the late-Eighties, when the population was about 6.5 million. 

Changes in the media landscape in the 1990s, for example the internet and freesheets, hit Blick. Since then, circulation has continued to drop and at the end of March 2019 stood at 107,000, according to media research consultants Wemfexternal link

The SonntagsBlick appeared in 1969.

swissinfo.ch, Keystone/SDA

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