A Look Back
A Look Back

The Newspaper of the University of Münster from 1907 until today

The University newspaper wissen|leben was founded more than 100 years ago, making it the third oldest university newspaper in Germany. Its name and appearance have changed numerous times, but one thing has always remained the same – the clearly written articles and feature pieces continue to appeal to all members and friends of the University across all disciplines and working areas. A look back at 100 years of newspaper history ...

Münster University Newspaper (1907-1914)
Münster University Newspaper
© Uni MS

Münstersche Universitäts-Zeitung (Münster University Newspaper, 1907-1914)

It was 1907 when the University of Münster received the name “Westfälische Wilhelms-Universität Münster” (WWU). Only 1,554 students were enrolled at the time, and not one of them was a woman. That same year the university became the third German university after Heidelberg and Leipzig to print its own newspaper, entitled “Münstersche Universitäts-Zeitung, Organ für die Westfälische Wilhelms-Universität”. Published weekly during the lecture period, each issue was delivered to students free of charge.

The newspaper contained University announcements, information on enrolment deadlines, reader contests, news from the museums and library and lists of newly enrolled students and graduated doctoral candidates. Even back then the newspaper thrived on the feedback from its readership. For example, the debate on whether to allow women to study was the subject of numerous letters to the editor. Another popular topic was whether consuming beer was detrimental to one’s health. The newspaper aimed to forge a more intensive dialogue between members of the university and everyday citizens. It boasted a relatively large section of advertisements with offers on everything from clothing to office materials, dance instruction, flowers, cigars, books, furniture, and lessons to reduce stuttering – everything a student could wish for!

The last issue of the “Münstersche Universitäts-Zeitung” was printed on 25 July 1914, after which the newspaper was shut down. To this day, it is unclear whether this decision had anything to do with the outbreak of World War I.

All the issues of the first Münstersche Universitäts-Zeitung (1907-1914) are available online in the digital collections of the University Library (ULM) (in German only).

News & Reports (1968-1984)
News & Reports
© Uni MS

Nachrichten & Berichte (News & Reports, 1968-1984)

The next University newspaper appeared several decades later during an especially eventful time. “Nachrichten & Berichte” (News & Reports) debuted in 1968 and was published by the Press Office until 1984. In the beginning the newspaper was a rather modest affair with only the essential announcements, along with reports on university policy, research and teaching activities, staff news, distinctions, upcoming events and statistics.

Jürgen Böckling, who became the first “official press officer” of the University of Münster in 1970, is credited with giving the newspaper a new look and new style. Its larger format and paper quality corresponded to that of traditional newspapers. Using newspaper rotary presses, the editors were now able to print photos. Unlike today, when readers can keep abreast on the latest events online, “Nachrichten & Berichte” was published just twice a semester and was often 50 to 60 pages long which consequently necessitated a larger print run. The primary objective was to promote communication between the different departments of the vast university. The pages were filled with stories on the student revolts, integration of the teacher training college (Pädagogische Hochschule, PH) and the increasing number of newly enrolled students.

The teacher training college also printed a newspaper called “PH-Info” from 1973 to 1980. Its purpose was to publicise its plans for integrating into the University of Münster, which was accomplished in 1980.

In 1979 “Nachrichten & Berichte” ceased operations for two years. The reason for this “creative hiatus” was a lack of personnel in what was a chronically understaffed press office. The staff members then implemented significant changes to the concept of “Nachrichten & Berichte”. The newspaper was redesigned into clearly divided sections. The reports and interviews from the University administration were allotted less space overall. The final issue of “Nachrichten & Berichte” appeared in July 1984.

University Newspaper (1987-1994)
University Newspaper
© Uni MS

Universitätszeitung (University Newspaper, 1987-1994)

What was once the “by-product” of the Press Office, as Jürgen Böckling called “Nachrichten & Berichte”, became the full-fledged “Universitätszeitung der Westfälischen Wilhelms-Universität”, issued from 1987 to 1994. The Rector served as publisher of this “official organ” which boasted a circulation of 25,000 copies. These years saw the appointment of the first female rector of a German university, the introduction of the semester ticket and Germany’s first special funding programme for higher education, initiated by then-Federal Minister of Education Jürgen Möllemann.

There were very high expectations attached to the “University Newspaper”. It was supposed to establish and strengthen communication, serve as a discussion forum about the tasks and goals of the University, and reflect the University’s broad diversity of subjects on one hand while emphasising their many common traits on the other. In terms of format and appearance, it resembled a small newspaper. Featuring a red design as its trademark, the eight-page paper was printed six to seven times a year. Extensive space was dedicated to news and information on upcoming events. The paper was not subject to any policymaking directives. Young researchers were given the opportunity to describe their current research projects in detail.

Münster’s University Newspaper (1994-2007)
Münster’s University Newspaper
© Uni MS

muz – Münsters Universitäts-Zeitung (Münster’s University Newspaper, 1994-2007)

The transition to “Münsters Universitäts-Zeitung” in December 1994 can be described by two contrasting words – change and continuity. The former and rather cumbersome name “Universitätszeitung der Westfälischen Wilhelms-Universität Münster”, which seemingly resisted any kind of abbreviation, was changed to “Münsters Universitäts-Zeitung”, or “muz” for short. In keeping with its motto “Information, Identification, Integration”, it provided a journalistic home to all members of the University who could participate in the current debates through suggestions and letters to the editor. “We need a central instrument, with which we can reach everyone,” said Norbert Frie, director of the Press Office at the time. The newspaper was supplemented by target-group-specific publications such as special editions for first-semester students and for employees.

With its columns Uni-World, Uni-Forum, Times & People, Research, Study and Signposts, “muz” covered all areas of university life and was enthusiastically received by instructors, students, employees and alumni alike. The editors continued to publish “muz” three to four times a semester in the same classical newspaper format with the same number of pages as its predecessor. Even then, the newspaper was only one component of an extensive range of information services provided by the Press Office. When the university went online in 1995, readers were also able to view issues of “muz” on the web. The newspaper was now virtually accessible to readers all around the world.

Many issues of the "muz - Münsters Universitäts-Zeitung" are available online in the digital archive of the University Library (ULM) (in German only).

wissen|leben, The Newspaper of the University of Münster (since 2007)
wissen|leben, The Newspaper of the University of Münster
© Uni MS

wissen|leben, Die Zeitung der Universität Münster (living|knowledge, The Newspaper of the University of Münster, since 2007)

Following the implementation of the University’s new corporate design, the newspaper was given an entirely new look on the occasion of its 100th anniversary in 2007. It was given a new logo and renamed “wissen|leben” (living|knowledge) based on the motto of the University of Münster. The newspaper would hardly have survived if there weren’t such a rich supply of new and exciting stories about the University to tell and if its readers hadn’t helped enliven the paper with their suggestions and advice. The Communication and Public Relations team of the university of münster proudly looks back on this tradition, knowing that today’s “wissen|leben” not only serves to report on the University as an institution of research and teaching, but more importantly, about the people who work there.