Ringier School of Journalism: Hannes Britschgi announces retirement

After 12 years as Director of the Ringier School of Journalism (affectionately known as Jouschu), Hannes Britschgi has announced that he is stepping down as the school’s director. He will hand over management of the school in the spring of 2022. The search for his successor has already begun. Britschgi has worked at Ringier for a total of 17 years in a wide variety of journalistic roles.

Renowned journalist Hannes Britschgi will step down as Director of the Ringier School of Journalism and hand the reins to a successor next spring. «The beginning of a new school year is the ideal time to oversee an orderly transition. I’m 67 years old, so it’s time to hand things over to the younger generation,» says Britschgi. «I’m leaving the Ringier publishing house after 17 years of intensive work. I would like to thank Michael Ringier, Marc Walder, Frank A. Meyer and everyone else who has helped me along the way for the trust they have shown in all my activities.»

Britschgi has enjoyed a media career spanning nearly 40 years. After being admitted to the bar, he joined TV broadcaster Schweizer Fernsehen. Working on the early evening show «Karussell», he demonstrated a talent for moderating and an ability to engage in intelligent and entertaining conversations. As moderator of the «SRF Rundschau» programme as well as «Max» and «Kassensturz», he displayed a cultivated and charming, yet persistent style of questioning, which won him the TELE Prize in 1997. After 15 years of working on television, he moved to newspaper and magazine journalism in 2001, working for three years as editor-in-chief of the Swiss news magazine FACTS, before taking over as the programme director of «Ringier TV» for Ringier, where he created new formats, including «Genial daneben» and the «Ricardo Hammershow». This was followed by three successful years as editor-in-chief of the SonntagsBlick newspaper. During this period, he worked to expand the Blick newsroom. As a Ringier journalist, he helped to develop the formats «Blick on Tour» and the political column «Bellevue-Bar» in the Blick am Abend evening newspaper. Britschgi took over as head of the Ringier School of Journalism in 2011. He followed in the footsteps of a number of high-profile predecessors – Werner Meier (1974–1978), Franz C. Widmer (1979–1986), Manuel Isler (1987–1998), Fridolin Luchsinger (1998–2009) and Jürg Lehmann (2009–2010). Britschgi developed a two-year education model and accelerated the school’s digital courses without neglecting its traditional activities – www.ringierjournalistenschule.ch.

He developed a number of video and performance courses to accompany the innovation at Blick TV. In order to initiate a reflection on social developments, Britschgi invited well-known figures to the «Denkwerkstatt» debate forum. As host of BLICK-Mediacamp and organiser of the «YouNews» media week, he gave young people their first insight into the media world. In addition to his work at Ringier, Britschgi also served as the jury president of the Zürcher Journalistenpreise for seven years. As a member of the Foundation Board of the Hans Ringier Foundation, he initiated the sponsorship at the three major Zurich publishing houses: NZZ Media Group, Ringier AG and Tamedia.

The early announcement of his retirement will enable Ringier AG and the Hans Ringier Foundation to work together with Britschgi to find the best successor, which will be communicated at the appropriate time.

Frank A. Meyer, Chairman of the Foundation Board of the Hans Ringier Foundation, the sponsor of the Ringier School of Journalism, which aims to promote and develop Swiss journalism: «With Hannes Britschgi’s departure from Ringier, we are losing a major figure in Swiss journalism. Professionally and personally, as a member of the profession and as a person, as an editor-in-chief and as a colleague, his presence enriched the company for 17 years. As Director of the school, he modernised the training, which Ringier has been providing on its own initiative for Swiss journalism since 1974. Hannes Britschgi combined digital skills with the profession’s more traditional activities. He was always an excellent teacher, one who showed great commitment to students. Anyone who had a problem could turn to Hannes Britschgi. He was the ideal of what used to be called a «journalistic father». Hannes Britschgi’s well-deserved retirement is a major loss for me.»

Graduates of the Ringier School of Journalism, which was founded as a training initiative by publisher Hans Ringier and its president Heinrich Oswald in 1974, include Arthur Honegger (SRF 10vor10 moderator), Christian Dorer (editor-in-chief of the Blick Group), Martin Beglinger (NZZ writer), Rita Flubacher (Tages-Anzeiger business journalist), Peer Teuwsen (NZZ writer), Silvia Binggeli (former editor-in-chief of Annabelle and designated editor-in-chief of Schweizer Illustrierte) and Ueli Schmezer (SRF Kassensturz moderator). Michael Ringier and Marc Walder also completed the training programme at the School of Journalism.

Marc Walder, CEO of Ringier AG: «The School of Journalism is an institution in the Swiss media landscape. Jouschu has provided a large number of journalists with the basis for starting in this wonderful profession. Hannes Britschgi led the School of Journalism with great passion and put his heart and soul into guiding our young journalists. The list of special tasks with which he was entrusted is almost endless. In honour of his dedication, his independently moderated Ringier events will be continued. The broader public will miss his expertise on media topics on television and radio. I would like to thank Hannes for his professionalism, his untiring dedication, his sound management of the School of Journalism and his forthright journalistic approach.»

Ringier AG, Corporate Communications