His story begins in Weinstadt: Tilman Wörtz is one of the Zeitenspiegel managing directors, head of the Peace Counts project and has fulfilled a dream with MUTmagazin: a magazine of his own that deals with inspiring stories – about role models, people and organisations who do not shy away from the great challenges of our time. People who are looking for solutions - and always show great courage.
"Mut" is German for courage.
“For me, courage means doing the things I set out to do, even when it gets difficult. Especially when important values are at stake, it is important to persevere and continue!” says Wörtz.
MUTmagazine is an independent supplement for daily newspapers and magazines in Germany, Austria and Switzerland, with a total circulation of 800,000 copies. MUT is published by the Culture Counts Foundation, a non-profit company and group of journalists and photographers working on reporting on social challenges and problems, with a focus on critical and constructive journalism.
For Tilman Wörtz, the idea for MUTmagazin had its roots in the Global Peacebuilder Summit. This is an event that started five years ago, where peacebuilders from all over the world meet once a year.
“We had always researched stories worldwide about peacemakers trying to bring people back together in crisis regions. Then I came up with the idea of regional daily newspapers as wonderful partners to achieve a very high number of copies. We didn't want to report on the peace summit itself, but on the people and what they do. So we started publishing these reports in our magazine.”
Asking the right questions
Personalities who want to change something and stick to their values define MUTmagazin. Constructive journalism is important, and doing good research, covering not only the surface but drawing a more comprehensive picture of reality – taking a broader look.
“Basically, it's about asking other questions, additional questions when you're on the spot. So not just asking what has gone wrong, but what can be done to solve the problem. In journalism, we speak about the five or seven W's. Every journalist learns this in their training. In a message and a report, the most important questions - Who? Where? What? When? Why? - must get answered. And, in constructive journalism, there is a crucial question: what now?”
Taking the time
The people that the MUTmagazin is talking to are always showing courage. But are the people who can tell courageous stories always happy to talk? Wörtz states that more often it's the organisation that can be challenging than people not being willing to talk.
“We have spoken to a number of mayors from different countries, among others. In these cases, the question was raised as to whether we could be received at all. For example, we portrayed the Mayor of Freetown Sierra Leone, who is doing an incredibly good job and is networking intensively internationally to develop Freetown and give Africa a voice - especially in the migration debate. She is busy in Freetown all year round and travels the world - it was not easy to get a time slot.”
“Since we are not dealing with scandals, people do not block from the outset. It is more a question of whether our interlocutors have time to meet us.”
A printed newspaper insert in the digital age
“This magazine shouldn't actually exist. In the age of the Internet, we are relying on paper and, as runs are getting shorter, we are increasing ours."
Wörtz states that the magazine is also not very well known, and the chosen format of a newspaper insert is not always easy to understand. So why choose print?
"On the one hand, we are print journalists. That is our profession. We find well-made magazines a wonderful way to deal with the world and find things out."
Wörtz also points out that print has an important role to play alongside the digital content.
"I believe that our magazine works particularly well as a printed magazine - we are journalists, we want our content to be conveyed. And I believe that print can be strengthened if digital is taken into consideration."
UPM supports Culture Counts – a non-profit company and group of journalists and photographers working on reporting on social challenges and problems of today, with a focus on critical and constructive journalism. MUTmagazin is published by Culture Counts, with a total circulation of 800,000 copies.
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