28 October 1999

Heidelberg's "Unispiegel" Celebrates 30th Anniversary: Exhibition in the Foyer of the Old University

"Unispiegel" is one of Germany's longest established university newspapers – Visitors welcome to an exhibition tracing the changes in style and outlook over the last three decades

Tables of the Exhibition

The first edition of "Unispiegel", Heidelberg University's official newspaper, came out on 14 October 1969. That makes it one of the oldest publications of its kind anywhere in Germany. The Press Office of the University has taken the opportunity to devote an exhibition to it opening at 4 p.m. on University Open Day in the foyer of the Old University (Grabengasse 1).

The circumstances leading to the birth of the newspaper make exciting reading. A few months prior to its first appearance a wave of strikes had hit the University. Student unrest culminated in a series of spectacular incidents with protesters breaking into the Old University, misappropriating material on file there and breaking down one side of a door and throwing it into the Neckar. Newly elected Rector Conze retaliated with a temporary cut-off of funds to the General Student Committee and found himself faced with the problem of improving acceptance of the University's new Constitution. An official university newspaper as a forum of information and debate appeared more important than ever.

Conze's journalistic adviser for the "Unispiegel" was the political scientist Dolf Sternbeger. Political science student Lutz Franke, involved at the time in a project on election research conducted by Sternberger, became its first editor. At the time there was no room space available for a press office or an editorial bureau. Lutz Franke, today a programme coordinator with Southwest German Radio, did his work in his student digs. "That was the safest place to be. You were liable to get pelted with eggs and tomatoes at committee meetings or discussion forums. That's why I always wore a rubber coat," Franke (now 60) recalls.

In the course of time, under a succession of different rectors and editors, the "Unispegel" has been through a number of changes in its outward appearance and the subjects it reports on. Interested visitors are cordially invited to the exhibition to see for themselves how these things have changed over the last 30 years. The exhibition has been designed and organised by "Unispiegel"'s present editor, Dr. Christoph Becker.

Thirty years "Unispiegel"

Please address any inquiries to:
Dr. Michael Schwarz
Press Officer of the University of Heidelberg
phone: 06221/542310, fax: 542317

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Updated: 10.12.99