It was an exceptionally good day when we went back to our old, almost forgotten habits. We visited neighbourhood shops in search of a Nedjeljni Jutarnji (Sunday morning) newspaper that included the first issue of Svijet kulture (The World of Culture) with playwright Tena Štivičić on the cover. On that Sunday morning, in September of last year, Svijet kulture could almost no longer be found in Zagreb until the early afternoon.
We had not dared to hope for such a good start. Nevertheless, we believed there was still life in the old print and that our audience was eager for a large format, beautiful photos, smart text, an excellent graphic design, and a good selection of topics.
Furthermore, we hoped that the topics concerning culture are not only the interest of some imaginary elite but that readers of different generations are interested in what we write about with great passion (and, hopefully, decent erudition). It was also nice that for several days, at least in journalistic and cultural circles, something as unimportant as it was — a new monthly magazine for culture — was discussed.
Of course, we have also heard a lot of friendly criticism — on the one hand, that we are too mainstream and that we would have to be more cutting edge, pointing out the new and the unknown. On the other hand, we should only deal with content on streaming platforms, and “serious” topics do not interest a wider audience.
Finding a following
But our main authority is our readers. For eight months in a row, they have been interested enough to buy every copy of our publication, Svijet kulture. Not only that, but they say they are collecting them, so we have become a collector’s edition.
Since the autumn of 2020, we had been trying to start a new culture magazine for Jutarnji list. But the pandemic delayed our project many times. We really wanted to follow this new, post-pandemic cultural and creative awakening with new content — a magazine that we somewhat old-fashionedly called The World of Culture.
Jutarnji list has always had a strong editorial board for content dealing with culture, our authors are the most eminent art critics, and their texts have been guiding us in our cultural consumer desires for years.
Cultural contributions in newspapers have long been extinguished, just like dreams that the time will come for them again — especially in such an outdated concept as print. But times change, today it is important to find your niche, and long-discarded things from the past, such as vinyl records, find their fancy audience again.
We believe we have our niche — an audience eager to interpret the pile of content they experience every day. But what we are most loyal to is excellent writing. Therefore, we opened ourselves up to a number of external collaborators and new voices on the scene.
We managed to do the impossible: We became a self-sustaining culture magazine. Our concept that ads for our clients are designed and drawn by students of the Academy of Fine Arts has brought us a nearly 400% increase in ads.
Our honeymoon is still going on. As their partner, we have been recognised by numerous cultural institutions, and artists and authors come to us with the desire to enter our world.
Moreover, we have partly managed to convince advertisers that the audience that reads our magazine — a settled middle generation with an emphasis on educated women doing well-paid jobs — is a remarkably interesting target group for advertising. We managed to breathe new life into print and position Svijet kulture — as the cover says — as “the status magazine of Jutarnji list.”