Turkey, Istanbul: BirGün

BirGün newspaper was founded as a leftist newspaper. It was supported by labor unions, engineer and architecture chambers, and socialist political parties.

The editors. Bild: BirGün

In 2004, BirGün newspaper was founded as a leftist newspaper which was supported by labor unions, engineer and architecture chambers, and socialist political parties. In the monopolistic media sistem, our newspaper encountered some difficulties about distrubution, paper prices etc.

Now circulation of our newspaper is low (it’s also about the conservative political atmosphere in Turkey) but the impact of our paper is high because we are the only socialist paper and also in the new media system only opponent media instution in Turkey.

BirGün on the market

The main competitors are the big national quality /mainstream papers in Turkey (Hurriyet, Milliyet, Sabah, etc.) and also the Islamic papers which are supported by goverment and some Islamic religional groups. This sets Birgün as a disadvantage because in Turkey, papers are financed by big global companies or İslamic capital.

Distrubution system is also monopolistic, there are two distrubution firm which are owned by big companies. Also the advertisement sector is monopolistic so it is difficult to compete with the mainstream papers in this system.

In Turkey there are two cencorship mechanism, one of them is self-cencorship which is applied by journalists, the other one is instutional cencorship whis is applied by instutions. Authoritarian goverment also keeps the judgement system and they arrest the journalists. Our two reporters are in prison now and also we have a lot of lawsuits.

Our readers are especially socialists in Turkey. And also some social democrats, revolutioner youths are the readers of us. Our readership is so active and with high regard for solidarity. Especially in the social media our readers make effort to make known our newspaper.

What makes us different from others

The front page and its bold, creative headlines are famous in Turkey. Every day our headlines are agued in social media. We have two inserts on weekends, book insert and Sunday insert which have some special topics argued by academics and intellectuals. We have the largest columnist staff among all daily newspapers in Turkey.

We have 35 fully employed, 10 casual/freelance staff work for our paper. BirGün has many big editorial achivements for 8 years. But the highly argued one is a news about a hidden agreement between the Chief of General Staff Yaşar Büyükanıt and the President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan. We found the hidden documents of the agreement. BirGun also found the hidden tombs of some Kurdish people who were killed by state.

The paper's financial resources are scarce compared to its main competitors in the market. The main problems are, our advertisement revenues are low, paper prices are high and volatile, distrubution fees are high because of the monopolistic system.

The main strategy of us is to expand our subscription system. And also we want to use the online side more efficient. We will sell the pdf of our published newspaper from our website. And also we have many supporters who live in Europe, especially in Germany, Switzerland and Holland. We want to publish our paper in Germany also but we need a partner from this country.

Where we want to be in 5 years

In 2017 BirGun will have a large subscription/distrubution system, will have an effective online journalism and online sell, will solve the print house and paper problem.

In Turkey the commercial newspaper work is not possible with cooperative structure. So BirGun Newspaper started its work with a joint-stock company. Our company initially had 3000 share holders. Our company has founded in 2004. Our initial capital was 400.000 Turkish Liras.

Now our financial capital is 1 million Turkish Liras. There is no lost or profit now, our paper can keep its lost-profit balance. There are some disadvantages for us in the monopolistic media system so we can not gain big profits in this system.

We have some projects for increase our profişts but now we hav not enough capital. For example we can found a left-socialst web site with a foreign newspaper or news agency. We can sell subscription of e-Newspaper with PDF’s.