Blog in English - Media Gossip
COMPETITION FOR NOVÝ PROSTOR
In about a month, cashing in on Christmas time solidarity, a new weekly magazine, called Na Hraně, will start fighting the "monopoly" of Nový Prostor.
The magazine will also be sold in the streets, but not only by the homeless - anyone jobless can apply to become a vendor. The new title intends to be a so-called "right wing" version of Nový Prostor, in response to the turn to the left taken by the weekly, after Ondřej Slačalek and Erika took over their content for a while. The editor-in-chief will be a Law student (I cannot yet reveal his name). To help break taboos against the Roma ethnic, a Gypsy reporter will be covering the Parliament.
The magazine has no intention to discuss issues that have to do with the homeless nor social problems of the poor - it will be a "normal" newsweekly, with investigative reports, news bits, interviews and entertainment.
Only the way of selling it aims at helping those with economic troubles. It will have 48 pages and will be sold for 40 crowns. A Supervising Board is being formed. Among those who will be invited to become Board members are Pavel Bém, Erazim Kozak, Milan Knížak, Taňa Fischerová, Václav Karas, Jiří Hromada and Vladimir Železný.
Men´s monthly Esquire is looking for a new editor-in-chief. Luděk Staněk is leaving the title to launch also male lifestyle title FHM. Publishing house Stratosféra would like someone in his early thirties, modern, who likes cars and women and with experience in media for the job. Bořek Slezaček was tipped for the job, but the commentary goes that they already have Bára Nesvadbová (who is the chief, at least on paper, of female lifestyle magazine Bazaar), so they do not need another "illiterate celebrity". Petr Prokopec, who used to work for Stratosféra´s Speed and now is on Top Class, is another name being considered, but he has some opposition from his former chief. There is an unwritten rule in that publishing house: if you leave Antonín Herbeck (the "owner"), you will never be accepted back.
Cashing in on Pink Money, a lifestyle magazine aimed at gays and metrosexuals is being put together. It probably will be called eGo and will test its potential already in December on the Internet, when their webpage will be launched, months before the paper version is out. The title will not have any kind of pornography or activism. It is understood that the new generation of gays, who have grown up in a much more accepting world, with plenty of famous gays and film or TV series characters to identify with, do not like activism. It is supposed to be a modern magazine for gays, which can be consumed by straights without shame.
ECONOMIC MLADA FRONTA
Publishing House Mladá fronta a.s. - which has nothing to do with MfDnes - is lauching a new economic weekly. František Savov is behind the investment. He is the son of a former communist apparatchik, who worked at the Ministry of Agriculture during the past regime. Somehow, after the Revolution, he got the magazine and books wing of Mladá Fronta, while the newspaper was "sold" to the Germans of what became Mafra.
When I went to work in MF (directing all its 11 titles and creating MfPlus) I was told by the director that I should never receive reporters in my office nor admit that the company´s address was in Braník, because it had to be, officially, still on Radlická, in a building bought for very little and sold for a lot.
I was also instructed to not reveal that the man in charge was young Savov. There was a whole game being played, supposedly for tax purposes, with Europrint, also under the same investor´s auspices, where we had to print our magazines there, even if the prices charged were outrageous.
The problem with the new economic title is that it will be done "na koleno", without the professional structure of Ekonom and Euro. Mostly done from the desk, a member of the redakce told me that some companies and businessmen are not supposed to be mentioned, because of the financial interests of the owner. Plus, bad news about his many investments are also forbidden. And a few "friends", like two banks which invest in other companies administrated by the owner of MF, are to have a good coverage. Although an editor-in-chief has been hired, the real chief is René Decastelo, who is very good at lifestyle amenities, but not at serious journalism.
RF-Hobby is a publishing house owned by Pavel Kvoriak, who also is in charge of Leo and the network of Erotic City shops all around the country. He has been trying to become a big player in mainstream media, first with titles like 21. Stoleti and Epocha, then with Papparazzi. Now, to add to his portfolio, that includes Paní Domu, Salon, Top Class and Rezidence, he is looking for editor-in-chief for a new title. Rumors go that he wants to start a popular newsweekly, a la Mlady Svět. Kvoriak is smart and travelled, compared with a couple of his competitors, he is much more audacious.
Michaela Novotná, the editor-in-chief of Women Only - the female half of the unisex free lifestyle magazine being distributed by daily Metro - has exported her know how in doing the title to many other countries. First, she went to Russia to train their local Metro staff in doing the magazine. The graphic layout she created, plus the expertise on how to put together this kind of magazine, are to be used all over the world. Michaela comes from experience in Stratosféra and as chief of Nový Prostor. By far the best professional in Metro´s newsroom (we do not get along at all, so do not take this as some licking ass of a friend), she survived almost a year of deep opposition to her. She was rejected for not integrating with the rest, which happened actually because she was much more modern and much more Western in her work ethics, than her colleagues, so she felt no connection with them. But her work was done responsibly, on time and with creativity, which was an exception in that newsroom :-)
Her other half, Alexander Korab, is in charge of the Male part of the magazine. Korab has successfully modernized daily Metro´s layout and added a necessary new system to the newsroom. He has a no-nonsense administrative style and, unlike me, seems to have successfully won against some internal švejkisms that prevailed at the top management of the local branch of the firm.
I got the newest issue the other day, and I liked it very much. The tendency is that even magazines, like all print media, will have to survive only from advertisement, not from cover price.