A Clear Case: STERN CRIME's 1st Birthday

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Exactly one year ago, the first issue of STERN’s line extension reached newsstands. STERN CRIME is celebrating its birthday with the issue published on June 4th and is looking back on a successful year. On this occasion, there was an interview with editorial head Giuseppe di Grazia about the success of the magazine, the ingredients of good mysteries and relaxing drinks in the fan community.

Since its launch in June 2015, the true crime magazine is continuously proving to be a success story on the booming crime market. Thus, the magazine was able to win six awards at the ADC Festival and received bronze at the Axel Springer Prize. The figures also prove that the magazine series has brought an entire fan community under its spell: The magazine for true crime sells an average of 80,000 copies and has a continuously increasing number of subscribers, which now stands at around 10,000.

How do you explain the magazine’s success?

The editorial team has managed to captivate the reader with our stories. As with a really good thriller, only that our stories are about true crime. Our reporters research very long and intensively and they then write up the cases in a very sensitive way. Our art director Felix Bringmann creates an unusual visualization in photography and illustration for every case, where it is not about sensationalism. He designs every story so thrillingly that you have to read it just for this reason. The six awards for STERN CRIME at the ADC Festival are a testament to the outstanding design of the magazine.

How may we visualize the typical STERN CRIME reader?

We don’t know exactly. Not yet. We are carrying out a large readership survey with the publishing of the June issue. Then we can get a better idea of the readers. If we look at the recent letters and the activities in social media, we think we know that mostly women read our magazine. On Facebook and especially on Instagram we have a large fan base - young women snapping themselves with the latest edition and a relaxing drink.

How does the editorial team find the magazine’s topics?

STERN has a large and long tradition when it comes to reporting on criminal cases. In this respect, we have have a very competent and experienced team in the newsroom. The main responsibility for the stories in STERN CRIME lies on the society department of STERN, led by the two department heads Dagmar Gassen and Arne Daniels. The colleagues there have many good contacts which are advantageous in their search for new stories. Additionally, we receive story proposals of the STERN correspondents from the USA, England or Italy.

What constitutes a good crime story?

That’s really easy – but also totally difficult. The case should be immediately gripping, should let us shudder. The case should scare us, should make us pensive, angry, understanding and may also entertain us. And then you need the author, who writes down the story about the case and a dramatization that captivates the reader until the end.

Is there a story that you absolutely still have to publish in STERN CRIME?

Loads. One of them is about a mysterious case in Sweden, which is hardly known here in Germany. But I won’t be revealing more yet.

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