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Spiegel Sours on Kraut Vanity Fair

Oct. 27 2008, Published 7:07 a.m. ET

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SPRECHEN ZE DOUCHE? German VF

Is there a German Tina Brown? If so, she's desperately needed at the helm of the German Vanity Fair, which is going down in flames—at least according to a gleeful hit piece in rival Spiegel. (You can get a sense of the piece's flavor from its title, "Banality Fair.")

Launched six months ago, the magazine—which is weekly, unlike its American counterpart—is losing around half a million Euros with every issue. Editorially, it started off making noises about being upscale and highbrow, but has had to compromise in the face of commercial pressures, resulting in coverlines such as "A Pop Star Turns 80," about Pope Benedict XVI. "The magazine sucks up to celebrities without being able to report anything interesting about them," chides Spiegel. "At best, it presents a flea market of niceties."

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Other problems include "the sometimes flamboyant arrogance of its editor in chief," Ulf Poschardt, and "the already-visible burnout syndrome of his still-junior staff." Also, we hear the mac and cheese at Poschardt's restaurant is only average.

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