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Back Then: “University of Bremen Newspaper” – Even More Paper?

The Long History of the Internal University Publications

University & Society

The editorial in the pilot issue of the “Bremer Universitäts-Zeitung. Nachrichten Kommentare Diskussionen (BUZ)” (University of Bremen Newspaper. News Comments Discussions) from June 4, 1973 featured the same headline as above. The Commission for Information and Publicity (KIO) at the University of Bremen had previously commissioned the information department with preparing the publication of a university newspaper – as it also criticized that there was a lack of information. In the convention of the University’s former policy committee, the information department had already been labeled as the “information prevention department”.

Of course, the prevention of information was the exact opposite of the aspiration for transparency that the University of Bremen had when it was first founded. All of the committees held public meetings, and Wednesday was committee day. The editorial statute, drawn up by the KIO and confirmed by the legal agency in June 1973, obligated the BUZ to “responsibility towards the working population, as well as to advocate for onethird parity and the principle of the public sphere, on the basis of the Bremen Modell (…)”. The newspaper was supposed to involve university members and make planning and decision-making processes transparent.

Was the BUZ Really the First University Newspaper?

The “Bremer Uni-Information” had already been previously published on November 19, 1971. It was, at first, considered to be an experiment – just like the first semester and a “transition period to try out new organizational structures” proposed by the founding director. The newspaper was published irregularly, with a different layout – even its name would change. At the same time, the university press office had already published the first issue of the “Bremer Modell. News and Commentary from the University” in May 1972. This newspaper had also stepped up to “improve the flow of information within the university, to bring awareness to the differences of opinion associated with practicing the Bremer Modell, and the successes of university members (…)”. It also wanted to make clear to the public “that the University of Bremen is not exclusively a scientific and academic center, but that it also deals with issues from the workplace – in other words, from the realm of experience of broader sections of the population”. The first issue of this publication was dedicated to one-third parity. All status groups had an opportunity to speak. As was typical for the time, they only had monotonous text to present – hardly any illustrations were used and at the time, words were the key means used to question the world and change it. A second issue appeared in July 1972, the main topic that it covered was: Research strategy and co-determination. However, after that things got quiet at the university, at least with regard to newspaper production. Staff shortages at the press office prevented further issues from being printed.

The first BUZ was published under these unfavorable conditions in June 1972, it was followed by two more. Starting in the fall of 1974, the staff situation permitted regular production of the newspaper. The BUZ appeared every two weeks with a circulation of about 5,000 copies until the end of 1980. It covered general as well as education- policy topics or debates on these matters. Then in 1981, it was suspended completely again due to staff shortages. Due to the lack of a university newspaper, a few bustling minds at the university became impatient. So on November 20, 1981, a fake BUZ extra edition came out on the occasion of the ten-year anniversary of the University of Bremen: “The uni university isn’t creating a University of Bremen newspaper, so we are making one ourselves”. In 1985, the first BAUZ (“Bremen Autonome Universitäts-Zeitung” – Bremen Independent University Newspaper) was published, however it too was unable to fill the information gap. It took three more years, until finally in April 1988, the “Bremer Universitäts- Schlüssel” (BUS) reached “the first BUS-station”.

30 Years of the “Bremer Uni-Schlüssel”

The BUS, published by the press office on assignment from the Rector, began with a circulation of 3,500 copies “as a new way of transferring information and exchanging ideas within the university”. It was hoped that it “would go a long way without all too many mishaps”. It was published with at least four issues per year, first in A4-format and later in classic newspaper format.

The President’s greeting included the following: “The Bremer Universitäts-Schlüssel intends to examine processes within the university, address and clarify questions about teaching and research, showcase exceptional achievements and activities, and provide information about education-policy developments. The newspaper is intended to provide a forum for discussions that arise – some of which will probably also be controversial.” After 30 years, publication of the BUS and with it the previous university archive “Histörchen”, was discontinued. The BUS will remain in the collection – its successor is called “update.” and it is a magazine. You are holding it in your hands.

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