Media - Issue 33 - Magazine | Monocle

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The revamp diaries

A new look for an old newspaper brings some cheer to the Balkans
By Mario García, newspaper doctor

If newspapers could talk (and when the iPad becomes a widespread medium they will accompany text with audio and video), then Romania Libera, the 133-year-old icon of Romanian journalism, could tell tales of turbulent times. But 15 March signalled a happy occasion for the newspaper: it unveiled its new look, including a new “pill box” logo highlighting the letters RL, and a new brand colour, purple, to replace the red that had been there through five decades of turmoil. The editors want to make sure that a new generation of Romanians see this newspaper as young and modern and not just "that paper full of classified ads that my grandfather used to read".

We took six months to complete the process. During that time the number of printed newspapers in Romania went from 13 to nine and it is no secret that some will not be around come December. Romania Libera’s execs are proud that theirs was the only newspaper introducing something new in 2010. As the marketing department worked on its ideas, all I could think of was the image of Dracula getting his fangs into the front page. Vampire films are in, so why not? The idea didn’t go too far.

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Bonjour Records, one of Tokyo’s best-loved music stores (with base-camps in Daikanyama and Shinjuku) has launched in Fukuoka to provide the Tenjin district with the edgiest tunes, under the guidance of its manager Ippei Masunaga. “We’re not just an information sender,” says staffer Shuichiro Iwanami. “We’ll listen to what kind of new things people are seeking in Fukuoka.”

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