Popular English-language news website moves into print

A new English-language magazine has hit Czech news stands. The Prague Monitor is already something of an oddity in that the team behind it have a background in Internet printing and are now moving into print. Most of the industry is moving in the opposite direction.

Bryn Perkins
The new magazine – Prague Monitor – went on sale Friday. It has been produced by the same team that have been producing a daily online newspaper – the Prague Daily Monitor - for the last six years. The publisher of the online daily and new bi-weekly magazine is Bryn Perkins. He explains the reasoning behind the move to embrace paper.

“It does seem backwards from the conventional wisdom but we got started on the Internet and we have had six years to determine, to learn, from our readers what they are interested in and what they want to hear more about and we realised that there are still things that are done better on paper than on the Internet”

These, he says, include in-depth features which can step back and take a longer view and the use of photos. The magazine aims to at least explore one major issue in depth. The first number examines the growing pressures on one Roma family who want to stay in the Czech Republic while friends and relatives feel fleeing to Canada is the only way to escape discrimination.

The magazine - which covers business and lifestyle as well as current affairs – will be sent free to the subscribers of the online daily - of whom 90 percent are non-Czech speakers - and sold to non-subscribers. The initial print run of around 3,000 should be boosted to 5,000 by the end of the year.

Mr Perkins says the target audience is not English speakers who have just got off the plane and are seeking the nearest pub or bar.

“We think the magazine should be interesting to anyone who is interested in the Czech Republic, especially people who know it a little and maybe have lived here a while and maybe are interested in understanding behind the headlines they see all the time but do not know the background to it.”

Although Prague is not well served by local English-language papers and magazines, the new venture appears a daring step in a time of hard hit advertising budgets and readers used to getting online news for free.