The rapid growth of digital media hasn't deterred a young man from creating a new world devoted to culture and art and crafted on pages of a newspaper. We are talking about the print magazine "Spozavanje" whose creator Darko Berovski is the young man from Bitola, North Macedonia. He started developing the idea two years ago due to his immense passion for music and culture.
"`Spoznavanje` means recognition, and at first, I wanted the newspaper to consist only of music interviews. However, during the creative process, I realized that I should not limit myself and exclude alternative culture as a whole. Then I started structuring 'Spoznavanje' into three sections—fashion, art corner, and interviews with musicians. Over time, the art corner and the fashion section merged, and that gap was filled with a blog, through which more curious young people engage in creating content", explained Berovski about the content of the newspaper.
In the past issues of "Spoznavanje", readers can find inspirational stories and interviews with well-known local and regional artists, which, according to Berovski, is a significant challenge and can be demanding.
"Of course, with famous artists, the tension is higher because they have a build-up character, and you have to extract that through a good interview and carefully chosen questions. In such moments, you need to listen and actively think and be thoroughly prepared", says Berovski.
He says that the process of creating a newspaper is not easy at all, for the magazine to shine, a great design is needed to attract the readers' attention. The young graphic designer Anamaria Mishachkovska is in charge of that.
"I try for each issue to have a different approach and technique, so it can be said that I get the idea through experimentation and improvisation. Once I have the design for the cover, I carry the same sensibility through the rest of the pages. Of course, first, I gather the entire content, create a map for it, and in the end, only the details remain", says Mishachkovska.
According to her, being part of an independent magazine is a huge challenge, but it also brings immense excitement. "I immediately wanted to be part of it because I saw it as a project with great potential, something that can make an impact", adds Mishachkovska.
Does Print Magazine Have Potential for Young Audience?
The magazine "Spoznavanje" can be purchased by ordering through its Instagram page. But how much do young people have the habit of reading newspapers? According to the report on North Macedonia from the regional research "Youth and Media", "the majority of young people read electronic news daily (76%) and use the Internet (75%), with 67% using the Internet on their mobile phones. This is followed by watching television, with 58%, and listening to the radio, with 40%. To have suitable content for the young, they themselves must be involved in creating the content. So, for example, when asked about the content they have created, the majority (54%) say they have created multimedia content, while 52% have created written work (book, essay, poem, blog post, column, etc.). The smallest percentage of young people have written a letter to a newspaper (8%) and an article in a magazine (13%), the research shows.
These data do not discourage the creator of "Spoznavanje", Darko Berovski. According to him, although it is a traditional medium, the desire of young people to read a good interview and column or see a good printed photograph is significantly increasing over time.
Therefore, we asked several young people if they would buy the print magazine.
"I like this magazine because it is creative and uniquely crafted and has content that includes interesting conversations, facts, and information about famous people from North Macedonia and the Balkans. Everyone can agree that today's youth are not fans of newspapers, considering that every newspaper has the same content, mostly issues related to politics, which young people are not very interested in", says Angela K., a student at the Medical Faculty in Skopje.
When we asked Antonio A., who is studying computer and software engineering in Sofia, if he would buy the magazine, he said: "The answer is a big yes!". "In times of financial, political, and economic crisis, the voice and creative projects of young people, on a local level and in the region, regardless of the field - music, art, or similar, are not heard enough by the masses. Such a magazine gives us the opportunity to hear and understand the creative process, how artists started their careers, and the problems they face", says Antonio.
Ana I., a law student in Skopje, told us that she actively wrote and advocated for the culture and art scene in North Macedonia until two years ago and would absolutely read and support the magazine "Spoznavanje". "Regarding the habit of young people for reading newspapers, I think that is a consequence of digitization. However, with a good combination of offline and online experience, this magazine has the potential to achieve great success among the youth" she adds.
Finances - A Challenge for Perseverance
"Spoznavanje" is a medium funded exclusively through the sale of the magazine, and its independent publishers say they constantly face financial challenges.
The North Macedonian Government provides financial support for print media through annual programs since 2018, subsidizing part of the costs for printing and distributing newspapers. However, the amount decreases from year to year, for now being halved compared to the initial amount—from 700,000 euros to 324,000 euros, shared among 11 newspapers.
"Spoznavanje" is not on the list for these subsidies, but its creators are confident that the magazine must receive support primarily from its readers by convincing and captivating them with quality and unique content created for and by young people.