60th birthday? The mystery of Susanne Daubner’s age

Susanne Daubner has been presenting the “Tagesschau” for more than 20 years. Millions of people are familiar with the moderator. But what many do not know: She is older than expected.

“Susanne Daubner turns 60”. It is something like this in many places on the internet today. For example, when their name is entered into Google. Or on Wikipedia. Or on portals like “Celebrity Birthdays” and “Born.am”. Everywhere it is claimed that the TV presenter is celebrating her birthday today.

But that’s not true.

Photo series with 11 pictures

When asked, Susanne Daubner thanks her for the interest in her birthday and lets the NDR announce: The anniversary is long gone. “Ms. Daubner celebrated her milestone birthday last year,” writes a spokeswoman for NDR when asked by t-online. The “Tagesschau” spokeswoman herself hardly gives any interviews, has no management and, even when asked several times, does not comment on how this misinformation came about.

Behind the confusion is a man from Berlin

“The information in Wikipedia is wrong,” says only the broadcaster. Only one statement is correct: March 26th. But instead of the incorrectly assumed year of birth 1962, Susanne Daubner was born on March 26, 1961. A source also correctly noted this. On the official blog of the “Tagesschau” there is a short biography of Daubner with the information: “Susanne Daubner was born in Halle an der Saale in 1961.”

So how did this involuntary rejuvenation of the news anchor come about? Why can’t the NDR reconstruct on request how this false information got into the world?

Call a man in Berlin. His name is Torsten Schulz and he was born in 1967 – at least that’s how he says it. Research by t-online was able to identify him as the person responsible for the birthday information on Wikipedia. On September 16, 2009 at 10:42 p.m. there was a change in the online lexicon. Since then there has been confusion: 1961 or 1962 – when was Susanne Daubner born?

Susanne Daubner: It appears on Google when you combine her name with "date of birth" seeks.  (Source: Google/Screenshot)Susanne Daubner: This appears on Google when you search for her name in combination with “birthday”. (Source: Google/Screenshot)

“At the time I called the NDR in Hamburg and asked,” Schulz tells t-online. After a callback, he was “freely given information”. An employee of Norddeutscher Rundfunk was kind enough to give him the date over the phone, he reports. So that’s the version of the man from Berlin-Weißensee. It can no longer be verified. Schulz can no longer remember the name of the employee, after all the phone call was more than twelve years ago. The station itself is similar: “We can’t remember this (possible) call from 2009,” NDR replies when asked.

One way or another: the information took on a life of its own – and thanks to the supposed seriousness of Wikipedia, it reached many other online services and providers, who felt safe after referring to the encyclopedia.

But why do you call a public broadcaster to find out the date of birth of a news anchor? Was it about the right date for sending the bouquet? Should Mrs. Daubner reach a box of chocolates in time? Not quite, but almost: astrology is the keyword. “I have an affinity for zodiac signs,” reveals Schulz on the phone. He is interested in how Aries, Leo, Scorpio and Aquarius tick, he explains. After the fall of the Wall, he began to research and deal with the interpretation of the signs of the zodiac.

Other TV presenters are also affected

“I once studied human resources management and statistics, but unfortunately dropped out,” says Schulz, who was socialized in the GDR, who says he is currently unemployed and mainly deals with “blogging and social media”. At Wikipedia, Schulz is a worker bee. Many of his user contributions posted there show that he often uses his zodiac sign affinity for the online encyclopedia.

He has already called many stations, he reports. “WDR, RBB, NDR – none of this used to be a problem, but recently they no longer give out the dates of birth for data protection reasons.” The new General Data Protection Regulation, GDPR for short, has been in effect since May 2018. That doesn’t stop Torsten Schulz from working. He also keeps phoning around for German presenters like Cathrin Böhme, Anne Willems, Andrea Gießelmann and Bettina Schausten. Sometimes with more, sometimes less success – as the example of Susanne Daubner has shown.

*Info: After the repeated phone calls to the NDR and the information from t-online about the wrong date of birth for Susanne Daubner, the broadcaster corrected the year of birth on Wikipedia. So it’s quite possible that by the time you’re reading this article, the confusion has been resolved.