Irish-educated woman to edit German tabloid ‘Bild’
Former boarder at St Columba’s College gets top job at Europe’s largest newspaper
Tanit Koch: defending her newspaper’s treatment of her former home, Ms Koch indicated Bild had adopted a far more sympathetic attitude towards Ireland than was the case with Greece.
Tanit Koch was last Thursday appointed the first female editor in chief of popular German tabloid Bild, which sells almost three million copies daily.
In an interview with The Irish Times, the 38-year-old former student of St Columba’s College in Dublin explained her lasting affinity with Ireland and said she tries to maintain contact with her former teachers and classmates as much as possible.
She attended the boarding school for two years in the mid-1990s before completing the Leaving Cert, but was quick to point out that she received only an A2 in her native language for mock exams.
“The examiner in the oral exam joked about whether she was asking everything correctly. That exam was basically just to get the grade,” she said. “At Columba’s I felt we received a very thorough, good and creative education.”
Her former teacher Julian Girdham, now deputy principal of the boarding college, said: “I taught her in English and she got an A1 even though it’s another language for her. Just very bright indeed. She’s really very able so they’ve obviously spotted her talents and nurtured her over the years.”
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From there she progressed through various editorial roles within sister publications Die Welt and Bild, where she was elevated to her current role as deputy editor in chief.
Having looked forward to reconnecting with some old colleagues at the Web Summit, she said her promotion, effective from next January, was no surprise but the timing of the announcement was.
“I was a the Web Summit last week when I got a call that my new job was about to be communicated. I’d wanted to stay until Friday and then had to leave in a rush. But I think for that announcement it was okay to leave,” she said.
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Defending her newspaper’s treatment of her former home, Ms Koch indicated Bild had adopted a far more sympathetic attitude towards Ireland than was the case with Greece.
“I’m personally relieved that Ireland is working itself out of the crisis. Greece hasn’t. That is what we’ve recorded. There actually hasn’t been huge coverage on Ireland because Greece is a much bigger problem really,” she said.
She was also dismissive of suggestions that Bild’s ongoing fixation with scantily-clad glamour models may prove conflicting for the paper’s first female editor, but was generally guarded about any changes that may be in the offing under her stewardship.
“If it had been conflicting I wouldn’t be working here. I think people make too much fuss about that really,” she said.