After criticism of his German-Ukrainian media project, the founder and editor-in-chief of the Greifswald-based "Katapult" magazine, Benjamin Fredrich, has resigned from his management positions. "It bothers me that I failed to meet basic expectations and communicated poorly," Fredrich wrote on his magazine's website on Tuesday.
He admitted not having pursued the project with the consistent perseverance he had announced. "That's why I'm drawing the following conclusions: I'm going to hand over the operational management and the editor-in-chief of "Katapult"," said Fredrich, but at the same time announced that he now wanted to concentrate on the "Katapult Ukraine" project.
Immediately after the start of the Russian war against Ukraine, Fredrich initiated the project in order to strengthen reporting from and about Ukraine. He hired people from the Ukraine as editors and tried to set up his own editorial team in Odessa as well.
The online magazine for media criticism "Übermedien" reported on Tuesday about outstanding salary payments and inconsistencies, citing Ukrainian editorial staff. According to the media magazine, Fredrich quickly lost interest in the project, wanted to change employment contracts to fee-based contracts and accused the Odessa office of "bigger problems with corruption".
In the “Ostsee-Zeitung” (Wednesday), the Ukrainian journalist Sergey Panashchuk, who was commissioned to set up the Odessa office, accuses Fredrich of not having implemented his own announcements and of not having been interested in further developing the project. "With the 310,000 euros he raised, he could have hired a large team and set up a serious project that would have been significant," Panashchuk quoted the Ostsee-Zeitung as saying.
Fredrich justified the changed assignments on his homepage. "I stand by my decision to only pay article-by-article people who have barely turned in articles anymore," he wrote. A functioning Ukraine editorial team has been set up in Greifswald, which has published 144 articles so far. Here, too, there are preliminary work and articles by editors from Ukraine. "The collaboration works well," emphasizes Fredrich.
In 2015 he founded the magazine "Katapult", which attracted national attention primarily with data journalism and clear graphics. He later became involved in local journalism. Fredrich was named Germany's best regional editor-in-chief 2022 by "Medium Magazin". With the card magazine "Katapult", Fredrich shows how you can still get started today with courage, fresh ideas and a portion of radicalism.