In May 2008, publisher Jakob Augstein bought the financially ailing east-west newspaper originally created in a 1990 merger of two periodicals. After Augstein’s acquisition, a modern, forward-looking concept transformed the paper into a full-fledged media brand that literally made headlines. In the course of the newspaper’s relaunch, Jakob Augstein chose version 5 of the multi-channel- publishing platform vjoon K4. This decision paid off in the long-run: meanwhile, the newspaper has been produced successfully with vjoon K4 for almost ten years. Currently, the editorial staff works with version 7 as well as vjoon Storage Engine.
The appearance of the layout plays an important role. Therefore, a decision in favor of Adobe InDesign for the layout design was soon reached. In 2008, general manager of “der Freitag”, Jakob Augstein and (former) Detlev Hustedt, turned to CODE COUTURE, a Berlin-based company specialized in publishing IT, seeking assistance in selecting further hardware and software. CODE COUTURE scrutinized the publishing processes to pinpoint the editorial department’s needs and selected a suitable system. The company then teamed up with Freshmilk GmbH and vjoon integration partner “mainblau” to manage the vjoon K4 implementation and jointly select, modify, and integrate the web content management system.
The transition from the old production workflow with Word and QuarkXPress to Adobe Creative Suite and vjoon K4 happened within just a week and on the fly while producing the paper. The greatest benefit that vjoon K4 brought to the editorial department was transparency in task assignments and job handling. Brief messages that came with the feature version notes made the editors particularly happy. This feature spared them a lot of email traffic and instant messaging.
“der Freitag” launched a new online presence with responsive design in summer 2017. The new website is optimized for all kinds of devices and offers clearly improved usability – new color codings and a clear structure guide the user through the individual departments Politics, Economy, Culture, Daily Life and Community. The Community department shows blog posts and comments of registered users. It is integrated as a separate visual cluster with article recommendations and a chronicle on the homepage. In addition to this, a revised editor facilitates user’s simple and intuitive interaction with contents on “freitag.de”. It is still possible that editorial contributions of the Community are featured in the printed version; frequency varies. Every week, the cover implies a prominently positioned Community quotation linking to a current Community discussion.
“der Freitag’s” online presence
The cooperation with the British daily newspaper “The Guardian” is and will remain an important part of “der Freitag”. “The Guardian” and “der Freitag” have been working in close cooperation since the relaunch of “der Freitag” in 2009: “der Freitag” publishes articles from all “Guardian” departments exclusively for German-speaking countries, thus supplementing its own offering. “The Guardian” provides two to three articles per print issue. Additionally, 50 articles are published annually at “freitag.de”.
In summer 2017, system changeover from vjoon K4 version 5 to version 7 took place. The challenge was to maintain day-to-day business. Therefore, the time frame for replacing all editorial workstations with current hardware, updating all vjoon K4 clients from Adobe CS3 to CC 2015, and updating the vjoon K4 system was limited to one weekend. This meant that every step had to be carefully planned and checked in advance. This was done by “HELDISCH networx”, who took over the IT support for “der Freitag” in 2009, and vjoon’s integration partner “mainblau”. Due to the exact preparation and the execution of extensive tests in advance, “HELDISCH networx” was able to update the IT system landscape and “mainblau” completed the K4 migration in one weekend.
Along with the system changeover, the backup strategy was updated as well. “der Freitag” benefits from vjoon Storage Engine enabling agile data management and high data security. Backups of current publication data structures including metadata are continuously being processed. This allows the recovery of publications in the worst-case scenario and day-to-day business can be operated again within one hour.
“der Freitag” successfully uses vjoon K4 for ten years now. On the whole, production processes were optimized and adapted to the current requirements within this time span. “der Freitag” proofs that software solutions need to be designed agile and flexible nowadays. Adapting to internal company factors and to market conditions is an absolute need to remain competitive in the long run – for the software vjoon K4 as well as for “der Freitag”. “The editors appreciate that the editorial system K4 runs on a stable basis and integrates the different channels in an ideal way”, states managing editor Marco Rüscher.