Out now: Nouă #1

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Making and printing a cohesive 148 page magazine from scratch in just 14 days seems like an impossible task, but its just been done by the makers of Froh!, and despite the crazy time limitations, Nouă is actually quite an interesting publication.

As part of their ‘Publish Yourself’ workshop in Moldova, the team worked with students from Romania, Moldova and Ukraine to create and shape the content of the first issue. Unlike other magazines that focus on a different city, country or place each issue, the entirety of Nouă is written and produced by the community of students who actually live in the region. The editors work closely with them to put together a magazine that represents and articulates the way they experience their daily lives and surroundings.

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The layout places a column of Romanian or Russian next to a column of English, occasionally switching but always retaining the cohesive neighbouring of languages (above).

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The stories are very local and uncover fascinating secrets about the things that you would never normally think about, they’re refreshingly honest, and remind me a little of a Moldovan equivalent of This American Life put into print. Sophia Bellman interviews the ‘vakhtyorshas’ of her University halls, a kind of female University porter who sees everything but is very rarely considered herself. Other stories include an interview with the owner of a local dog shelter (above), and a profile on a windowed husband and father of three (below).

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What is special about the magazine is the way in which different articles convey the personality and insider knowledge of the student who wrote and pitched it.

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In particular, a piece on death-metal in Moldova shows passion for an underground scene that would be very difficult to penetrate unless you yourself were a part of it (above).

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An infographic on ‘Moldovanication’ is also fascinating and well-executed: it looks at the most popular places that Moldovans migrate to, and how the numbers of migration have changed over the last 10 years.

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My particular favourite is an article about the messages conveyed in embroidery sewn on Moldovan traditional dress. It is accompanied by a detailed key delineating the meanings of various patterns (below).

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The publication creates a very personal picture of Moldova, a land the editors describe as being ‘torn between east and west’. Now that the workshop is over, the idea is that the team have instilled an understanding and passion for independent print media in the students, and maybe they’ll decide to continue with Nouă or even start their own magazines in the future.

Review by Madeleine Morley

Read an interview with editor-in-chief Sebastian Pranz.

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