Thursday. 20/8/2020

The Monocle Minute

Opinion / Josh Fehnert

Delivering the goods

Global media brands, television networks and news agencies pride themselves on doing things first. But when it comes to considered journalism it’s OK to come second every once in a while. If you want to see the perils of rushing things, look no further than the news industry at large. In many nations, broadcasters and broadsheets have taken a narrow view: they ditched slick productions, even-handed reporting and knowing columns (delivered by trusted voices) and replaced them with clickbait, instant updates and hastily written headlines gleaned from groundless Tweets. In some circles, quality has been traded for availability, nuance for sensationalism and journalism for churn. But there is another way. What about a more careful, positive and slower approach to news?

Today marks a fresh chapter for us courtesy of the launch of our Digital Editions, a newly designed way to read the magazine – along with access to our back-catalogue of global reporting and some exclusive travel tips – on your phone, tablet or laptop on the go. With some newsstands shuttered and global supply chains strained, we’ve also launched a digital subscription option to supplement your print issue of the magazine.

If you value a knowledgeable, no-nonsense, global view on the world – one that knows when to be polite and patient, and when to offer a wry smile or suggest fixes – then you’ll want to subscribe. If you’re already a subscriber, you can just log in to see the result. Being first isn’t everything (in media or whatever business you’re in), especially when it takes time to do something properly. We hope that you enjoy the upgrade.

Politics / USA

Crowd trouble

Political-party conventions have always been choreographed affairs. But if there’s one thing that we’ve learned from the US Democratic party’s nominating conflab this week, it’s that making a speech hit home is much harder without an audience. One-line zingers and well-rehearsed soundbites can fall flat when there’s no one there to laugh or roar you on. Instead, it’s been the calm, no-nonsense, genuine and heartfelt speeches that have come across the best and been appreciated the most on screen. The most impressive of those have come from two leading women: former first lady Michelle Obama on Monday and Jill Biden (pictured, with husband Joe) on Tuesday. Today it’s the turn of Joe Biden himself, when he’ll accept the presidential nomination. He might be nicknamed Uncle Joe but don’t expect him to rise to the emotional heights of the leading ladies who went before him. Next week it will be Donald Trump’s turn to see how his once raucously applauded speeches will land without the crowd’s fanfare to goad him on.

Diplomacy / Greece and Turkey

Man in the middle

When Turkey’s foreign minister, Mevlut Cavusoglu, visited Bern last week it barely made the headlines. This made it all the more surprising when Reuters reported that Cavusoglu had agreed in principle to an offer from Switzerland to mediate between his country and Greece. The two nations are locked in a dispute over oil and gas reserves in the eastern Mediterranean as well as the long-running tensions concerning the still-divided island of Cyprus. Details remain murky: a Swiss ministry spokesman said that foreign minister Ignazio Cassis (pictured, left, with Cavusoglu) had only renewed an earlier offer of mediation, whereas the Neue Zürcher Zeitung newspaper reported that Cassis’s proposal to mediate was positively received on the Turkish side. In the coming days, Bern plans to explore the reaction from Athens. Whether dialogue will actually take place remains up in the air. But one thing seems clear: Switzerland is ready to contribute to a peaceful solution if the parties are willing.

Aviation / Japan

Welcome departure

It’s no secret that the global aviation industry is undergoing a major rethink when it comes to its flight destinations and volume but not all of those ideas involve a retreat. In Japan, Skymark Airlines announced plans this week to launch a new route to Miyako-jima, a remote subtropical southern island with stunning white beaches beside the blue ocean. Flights, which commence in October, will depart from Tokyo, Kobe and the main island of Okinawa. The move is largely designed to cater to growing domestic-travel demands as many Japanese are seeking alternatives while international trips remain constrained (Skymark has cut its only international route, to Saipan in the Northern Mariana Islands). However, it also represents the potential of regional airlines, which are often the only means of getting to remote places such as Miyako-jima. To read more about these airlines and other key transportation projects around the globe, pick up a copy of Monocle’s September issue today.

Culture / The Netherlands

Art ahoy!

Whether you like them or not, drive-ins are having a moment. From fine-dining restaurant Canlis in Seattle to nightclubs in Germany, this once-popular method is literally driving new businesses. Now Rotterdam Ahoy is teaming up with Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen (pictured) to host a new art exhibition to be viewed only if you own an electric car – or you can rent one on-site. Housed in a vast dark space the size of two football pitches, visitors can drive to each of the 40 artworks, with sound being used to bridge the windscreen-shaped gap between them and the exhibit. Whether we really want to view a work of art in the same way that we do a traffic jam remains to be seen – and it should hardly become a replacement for art galleries. It is, however, another demonstration of the extreme lengths that cultural institutions are going to in order to safely encourage people through the doors.

M24 / Food neighbourhoods

Recipe edition, Nicholas Balfe

A favourite recipe by UK chef Nicholas Balfe, who recently opened his new restaurant, Larry’s, in London’s Peckham neighbourhood.

Monocle Films / Global

The perfect workplace

As employers increasingly acknowledge the welfare of their workers, Monocle’s Quality of Life Conference in Lisbon addressed the topic of the modern workplace. In this visual essay Josh Fehnert explores what can be done to create offices that make it a joy to clock in.

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