It’s possible to think critically and nevertheless be enthusiastic about politics.
Mr. Schwennicke, you have been editor-in-chief of Cicero since May 2012. How would you describe your experience at the publication so far? What has changed since you started?
Cicero is a first-class medium for political journalism and has been known as such long before I was appointed as editor-in-chief. This is one of the reasons why I was particularly pleased to take on this role. We’ve revamped and, I’d say, improved the visual appearance of the magazine by putting more emphasis on photos and impressive illustrations. We have a greater variety of formats and much more true-to-life reporting than before. Opinion pieces continue to be pointed, but are now more unpredictable – hopefully. We appointed new columnists such as Amelie Fried and Philipp Blom. The cover story was moved to the front pages and we introduced the new section 'Style' which was much welcomed by our readers.
Book author or journalist? Which do you prefer?
I am a journalist to the core. My book ['Happiness on the Hook', published by Droemer Knaur] about fishing was a little exercise, an enjoyable exercise which was a lot of fun.
How would you describe the typical Cicero reader?
Typical Cicero readers are interested in different and intelligent opinions, in diverse and insightful perspectives. They also enjoy reading longer, elaborate pieces of writing. They enjoy style and a certain savoir-vivre, and they are interested in politics and culture. They don’t enjoy the cynicism which is often used in political journalism. It’s possible to think critically and nevertheless be enthusiastic about politics.
In your opinion, what makes Cicero different from other publications in this sector?
The fact that the publication satisfies all these described requirements and expectations of our readers.
Is the increasing relevance of online journalism an issue for the editorial team and how do you react to it?
Every day. Our online portal is very successful and the editorial teams for print and online work closely and symbiotically together. Cicero seems to be made for the hectic, hyperventilating, digital world. It is like an island, an oasis for those who want to take a break, those who prefer to read in-depth and relevant content once a month rather than reading stuff they will have forgotten an hour later. By the way, we use the same approach for our online platform. Cicero lasts. Cicero doesn’t disappear.
About your collaboration with PRs
How do you prefer to work with PRs?
I often get in touch with PR colleagues and I know what they are looking for and that the information they provide is not altruistic and selfless. With this in mind, the collaboration is always enriching.
How do you like them to get in touch?
I don’t have a preference.
What suggestions do you have for PRs about the collaboration with editorial teams?
Be clear and precise about what you are looking for. To hum and haw or to conceal one’s interests won’t work. Journalists appreciate clarity.
The Cicero team are tweeting @cicero_online.