"Let the past die ..." (retro 5/12)

By Daniel Nepgen Switch to German for original article

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The Journal-team looks back at 2021 - it's Daniel Nepgen's turn. The past twelve months have been exciting, challenging and enriching, and they also mark our first digital birthday. To celebrate the occasion, each team member has chosen the piece whose research or production had the biggest impact on them in 2021.

The retrospective 2021 is provided to you free of charge. If you want to support our team, subscribe!

Who would have thought that so much wisdom could be contained in the statement of a fantasy character? The quote from Kylo Ren, one of the (anti-)heroes of the third Star Wars trilogy, ends like this: "… Kill it if you have to! It's the only way to become who you were meant to be!" When I joined the Lëtzebuerger Journal in mid-2020, these words kept coming back to me.

A history rich in tradition can be a stable and trend-setting foundation for something new. However, it must not become a concrete block that nips every new, tender seedling in the bud. When one observes the despair and helplessness displayed by many journalistic publications in recent years, one cannot help but notice that often action was only taken when it was already too late. In the golden era of the print press, those in charge failed to think about tomorrow. Instead of seeing an opportunity in people's changing habits, people held on to yesterday for too long and did not give room to new ideas. The internet was laughed at, and when it was taken halfway seriously, the same content was blindly put online, without facing the urgent questions about the content itself.

"We came to the conclusion that one should not be afraid to try new things."

For me, it was clear that the rich press landscape in Luxembourg could only continue to exist in its abundance and plurality if readers, listeners and viewers were offered real alternatives instead of the same content, but only in different packages. The survival of the Journal also depended on this. But what aspects of the Lëtzebuerger Journal could be integrated into a digital-only model? Was there a core that was a unique selling point? Yes. You can find this essence in our nine principles. In the spirit of Kylo Ren, the daily Journal had to become ashes in its physical form in order to fulfil the promise of a digital phoenix in the form of a magazine, which was already envisaged in 2012 during the last relaunch.

By now, many freelancers have also committed themselves to the Journal philosophy and are continuously expanding the colourful spectrum of topics and formats. One of them is Jana Degrott. And I am still amazed today that a single moving tweet can be the beginning of an exciting, unpredictable and fruitful adventure. It was not a one time thing. We came to the conclusion that one should not be afraid to try new things. If I had to break the Lëtzebuerger Journal down to one recipe for success, it would probably be curiosity, with a dash of naivety. I hope we can continue to defend it against the rampant cynicism in our society.