How Germany’s Zeit Online is connecting the world, one conversation at a time

2023-03-22. Die Zeit’s editorial initiative, My Country Talks, is an inventive approach to engage a large audience by bringing together readers with divergent opinions to cultivate empathy.

by Neha Gupta | March 22, 2023

My Country Talks, the editorial initiative from Germany’s Die Zeit is an innovative case of audience engagement at scale that connects readers with opposing views to foster mutual understanding. In June this year, it will connect readers around the world with a unique global media alliance.

Die Zeit is a national weekly newspaper, and Zeit Online – the digital arm of the brand – is one of the biggest news brands in the country.

Hanna Israel (Head of My Country Talks, Zeit Online) joined WAN-IFRA’s recent Digital Media India conference in New Delhi to talk about how this brand initiative works and their future plans. 

My Country Talks is a software that brings together people of diverse political opinions through a matching algorithm. Die Zeit developed the concept in 2017 and since then has empowered more than 250,000 people from over 35 countries to have “controversial” conversations about politics. 
Inception of My Country Talks
Back in 2017, around the federal elections in Germany, there was an influx of immigrants from Syria. Amidst a tense political atmosphere, right wing populists, Alternative für Deutschland (AfD), came into power. 

Die Zeit saw this as an opportunity to diffuse the tensions and bring people with polarising opinions, unwilling to indulge in healthy debate, together by means of conversations.

The team began putting together this software by first asking its readers on the Zeit Online homepage if they would be interested in participating...

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Neha Gupta

Multimedia Journalist

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