Berlin - This past week at the English Edition has been a good reminder of why we're here and what we're trying to do with this site.
Our most read article was a moving Q&A with the fantastically named author Syd Atlas, a Brooklyn native and long-time Berliner who published a memoir about caring for her husband who had ALS - but also an affair. I'd never heard of her nor the book but our German colleagues had and pointed out the interview. My former boss at a German financial newspaper refused to print Q&As that had been adapted from German. Q&As don't exist in English-language journalism, he swore. "But what if they're interesting?" I thought every time he ranted. And so it's a good example of the hybrid journalism we're trying to do – and what we can learn from our German colleagues. Also, it's just a great read.
Almost equally popular was a short piece on changes German politicians made to rules that affect your 2020 tax return because of corona. It's not a whole lot but it must be nice for anyone without a command of Beamtendeutsch (bureaucratic German, nearly a dialect) to better understand the taxes they're paying. "Service journalism" this is called and it's an important role for any newspaper. We're lucky to be able to tap the expertise of the Berliner Zeitung's entire newsroom to help you better understand our Hauptstadt.
Our service journalism efforts continued with a piece about how landlords will react if the Mietendeckel rent cap gets overturned by Germany's top court. The English Edition is split in its opinions about the law but the results of the survey were enlightening: should the law be overturned, private landlords will ask renters to pony up the difference between the lower, Mietendeckel-stipulated rents they've been paying since November and the higher free-market rents. Government landlords? Keep it, they say. Which is a very good argument for putting more apartments in the hands of our city-state.
Also in the Top 10 last week was a listicle which, admittedly, we do because we're an online publication. But we recommended nine German TV shows and readers were curious – so if you haven't looked yet, see if you can find something for this weekend. A German teacher once recommended more German TV to help our kids' German and I was amazed how right she was – I'm looking at you, German learners. The Sendung mit der Maus kids show, for example, is on every Sunday at 9.30am (ARD) and 11.30am (KIKA) and is always perfect for coffees and hangovers, even if the Shaun the Sheep theme stays with you all day.
Check out our Twitter and Facebook and use them to drop us a line if you have a service journalism idea you'd like to learn more about or if you have a friend worthy of a Q&A. It's always nice to prove an old boss wrong.
Have a good weekend.