Observation - Issue 49 - Magazine | Monocle

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The view from my office at Midori House is a little different than it was four weeks ago. Outside the leaves have changed and fallen from the trees in the park below, the lunchtime sunbathers are now gone and the Jack Russells, podengos and various terriers are wearing their winter coats. Inside there’s been a change of footwear. While I rather like the idea of slippers in the workplace (we follow this rule in our Tokyo bureau) everyone has swapped Aldens, Quoddys and Louboutins for the fastest sneakers they can find – if it’s mid-November at Midori House then it’s a mad dash to the finish line. The only difference this year is that we’ve moved the tape well beyond the last Friday before Christmas – such is the nature of a very hungry radio station.

You might have noticed that this 49th issue of Monocle has tipped the scales as our biggest issue to date and almost tipped our little team of editors over the edge. From the launch of Monocle 24 on October 17 to compiling our Soft Power Survey to reporting from Denmark for our national survey and then adding our first ever Monocle 100 round-up of the people, places and products we like, it’s been a non-stop, round-the-clock operation at our HQ and also our outposts overseas. Thankfully there are some new faces on the editorial floor with Sophie Grove (of Danish Navy cover-story fame) adding to our foreign affairs desk and Ed Stocker on his way back from Buenos Aires to help support our chief sub editor Louise Banbury who’s also become one of our main newsreaders. Louise has developed a rather jaunty trot that takes her from her first floor desk, down the stairs and then into the studio to read her bulletin. Rounding out the newsreading duties we have Jonathan Wheatley on the early shift, Nick Kelly on evenings and our neighbour Emma Nelson on weekends and pretty much anything else that fits in with her 27 second commute from her front door to ours. Morning anchor duties have largely been the domain of editor Andrew Tuck, foreign editor Steve Bloomfield and new voice to the family Amy Guttman. Matt Barbet and Ted Kravitz have been handling our midday Briefing bulletin. We’ve also had the good fortune of getting Sky News foreign affairs editor Tim Marshall in for a shift.

Midori House, our early evening show, has been a revolving door of presenters but the lovely Nancy Durham has woven her name onto the back of her chair and has been coming up from Wales for her shifts. During launch week I fulfilled a boyhood dream of working alongside the elegant and sharp Christine Ockrent and enjoyed three evenings of swapping stories, sharing interviews and learning a lot while we danced around the world talking to guests and correspondents. Despite the odd technical hitch and musical hiccup, I’m thrilled that Madame Ockrent will be rejoining me in studio one before the year is out.

For issue 49 we’ve tried to edit and design it so it will last all the way to Christmas. We’ve hopefully offered up enough to tuck into with our Soft Power Survey and knowing that this time of year is particularly demanding socially, you can dip in and out a couple of times before settling down with it properly for the holidays. In case you manage to devour the whole thing over US Thanksgiving weekend or on that endless Emirates flight from Dubai to São Paulo, we’ve got Monocle Alpino currently circulating around the office and about to hit presses in the coming weeks. For Christmas we’ll have the ultimate print and audio package when our special edition newspaper hits kiosks from Verbier to Whistler and our holiday line-up of programmes on Monocle 24 take to the airwaves for the weeks spanning the run-up to Christmas to just beyond New Year. And should you be short of an idea or two on the gift front, we believe that Monocle 24, KCRW, Radio Netherlands and the ABC sound best on our edition of Revo’s Heritage radio.

For 2012 we’re going to be expanding our print offer with another special edition come summertime, bolstering our correspondent network and we’re currently exploring where we’ll open our next bureaux – Sydney and São Paulo are still the lead contenders. At the same time the success of our café at Hankyu department store in Tokyo will see us exploring new opportunities in other markets across Asia and perhaps scouting for some real estate around London.

On this, the eve of our fifth birthday, we’d like to thank all of our readers, listeners, viewers, shoppers, collaborators, advertisers and suppliers for all your support, advice and feedback. At a time when many print-based media businesses are struggling to find the right business model or how to expand their reach, we managed to move into Ad Age’s Top 10 ranking of the world’s best magazines, this editor in chief was given the title of editor of the year and our Monocle 24 app debuted at number one in our main markets. We look forward to hosting more events over the year ahead allowing you to meet the people that get this magazine out of the door every month and keep us on air every day of the year. All the best for the Christmas season and cheers to a healthy, happy and prosperous 2012.

For more from our editor-in-chief, read his column in the ‘FT Weekend’.

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