After only ten months as managing director, Ella Wassink is leaving the German Association of Journalists (DJV) again. “At your own request,” as the union says explained in a brief message on the homepage. The political scientist and former spokeswoman for the German Press Council took over the management of Kajo Döhring last November, who had headed the DJV for twelve years. Your quick retreat has now surprised many. In July Wassink negotiated an extension of the Corona collective bargaining agreement for journalists with the BDZV publishers’ association. Association spokesman Hendrik Zörner said on SZ request that the termination was “completely unexpected”. “She has not yet given the exact reasons.”
In the association’s environment, it is said that the workload has increased sharply in recent years, for example due to increasingly frequent negotiations on in-house tariffs in individual media companies that do not follow the collective agreement. One person could no longer handle that. DJV spokesman Zörner does not want to “confirm” this reason. In terms of tasks, nothing changed when the managing director changed last year, Wassink had known the association and its profile for years. The post is, however, admits Zörner, “a huge challenge for anyone who takes on such a task”. Journalism is in a state of digital upheaval. Many editorial offices are restructuring and downsizing, which means a lot of work for the union. In addition to collective bargaining, the DJV also provides legal advice, political work and education for its 30,000 members.
The Bavarian state chairman, Busch, would like a successor to slowly grow into office
After Wassink’s resignation, the legal advisor Hanna Möllers temporarily took over the management duties; she was previously her deputy. The change will not affect day-to-day business and member service, assures association spokesman Zörner. However, he cannot yet say how the search for a successor will continue. The federal board, which appoints the managing director and unanimously decided in favor of Wassink in 2020, has not yet had the opportunity to speak to her. She left a request for a conversation from the SZ unanswered on Tuesday.
“It’s a shame that Ella Wassink is leaving,” comments Michael Busch, chairman of the Bavarian regional association BJV on request. “She was the right woman in the right place.” Busch now wants a managing director for the DJV, “who has the opportunity to slowly grow into the office”. Perhaps, he says, one should also think about distributing the tasks over several shoulders in the future.