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The Monitor

The idea of a Romanian press review appeared two years ago, when Mihai, my friend (and my boss at the same time), reached the conclusion that it's too tiring and complicated too read Romanian newspapers on the Internet.

You can buy the printed papers from any stand, you make yourself comfortable (in the tram, at home, in your armchair or at the office - if you have time and nobody bothers you) and you know very well how it will be: you read the favorite editorial on the first page, turn the page and cast a bored look at the political scandals, you see the currency rate is up again and your stomach aches so you turn quickly the page and you look at the top model offered by the newspaper guys. Ready, you've read this paper too.

You "read" like this more 2 or 3 journals then you get bored or you're busy or you've reached your destination and you get off the tram. But what can you don when you're in the USA and you want to learn the Romanian news? Or what happens when your boss would like to know how things go on at Bancorex because he heard something on the radio but he didn't understand very well. Is it so bad? What is the real history of this business?

In this case, it is clear that the printed newspaper is out of the question as it doesn't exist or it's a huge heap of paper in which you have to do archaeology. If you have the luck to work in a big institution (as a bank, for example) that has its own press service and if this service really works and prepares every day a press review, that's good. If you don't, you cannot but launch the browser, roll up your sleeves and begin search the Romanian publications on the Internet. If you don't know where to find them, you go to places as www.ziare. com and you learn quickly what you want. And you begin to surf...

Some sites haven't been updated for months, some are so hard to load that you give up, some offer just two or three articles and invite you to the stand to buy the print. Most of them do not have facilities of archive search, etc., etc. So we thought it would be beautiful to have a place in the Internet world for all those who are interested to learn what Romanian papers write.

It would be also nice to see the evolution of a certain political, social or economical phenomenon in time or to notice the evolution of opinions of some editorialists like Cristoiu or C.T.Popescu, etc., etc.....

At that time, this idea was only a dream as there weren't any journalists, technicians or money for such an enterprise. The luck made that we met last year Mr. Alexandru Lazescu, president of the Northeast Press Group Medianet and editor of 18 local papers in Romania. Mr. Lazescu has a long practice in the field, he was one of the founders of "Viata Studenteasca" magazine and he also belongs to the IT world (He is professor at the Automatic Faculty in Iasi).

It didn't take us more than five minutes to convince him our idea was good. He had also been thinking about that for quite a long time. So we began - together with Bogdan, Theo and Doru who are experienced Internet navigators - to build this site (and many other similar projects that will come out soon), using the huge human resources of northeast Medianet (more than 1000 journalists in staff).

The most difficult part was to use the same language, as we were journalists, program makers, marketing and sales people. Speaking from the point of view of the IT man, who is the orchestra man for this enterprise, as he develops products, plugs in cables, installs operation systems, the journalist is more often than not a difficult person. The journalist does not want to work in any other program than Word, he doesn't like to be bothered with forms filling, he doesn't use any other Romanian fonts than those that were used five years ago, he yells he doesn't have a network but he forgets he shifted his legs and drew the cable out of the plug, his monitor is not lit and he says the technical department doesn't want to fix the computers and so on. But the journalist comes to the office at ten p.m. and he clicks diligently all night until morning.

When we come to work, we see he has read almost 100 newspaper pages, he has made relations between everybody and everything and he's finally made an abstract of five pages. What is the big deal? It is as big deal: this abstract really tells you what is happening in Romania today!

Cezar Mihaila May the 6th, 1999



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