The (Free) Press? Bilingual, please.

Things never turn out to be what they seem initially, and this is pasrticularly true if friends are involved. Last night I happened to get together with an old pal who, instead of filling the time it took to prepare a delicious chicken tikka with casual chit chat, introduced me to a new exciting project he's been recently busy with.

© Marko Manico

The name's aljaridathe newspaper in Arabic — and you will hear more and more about it as it takes its first steps into the publishing world. It is a free, quality, monthly publication, completely bilingual and produced by a mixed team of dedicated individuals, that is stirring the free press market down in Milan, Italy, and has been the talk of the town since issue 1 hit the newsstands earlier this month. Read it fully here.

aljarida's target audience is primarily the growing arab and arabic-speaking community of Milan, but also every Milanese who appreciate to be living in a city that, thanks to the abbundant opportunities it offers, is a strong magnet for immigration. Which, in turn, is a golden opportunity for social and personal growth.
The founders' goal is to highlight the common ground present between the indigenous Italian culture and the one brought by our North-African and Middle-Eastern neighbours, study how they influence each other, elaborate a common language comprehensible by all, and foster wider understanding in the process.

aljarida is innovative in content and aim, but also in style and design. It is the first free sheet to be feature every article of every section in both Italian and Arabic, the two versions facing each other and indeed almost blending to create a unique visual impact, and a formidable tool for the study of both languages.

Another striking feature: the paper opens horizantally, like a calendar, so it is instantly accessible to Italian as well as Arabic-speaking readers — who read from right to left and open their publications back to front.

My last word is dedicated to the group af activists, journalists, and scholars who brought about this idea, support it and contribute to it seeing it as the natural evolvement of their social activities. They are the backbone of an association called MEDInaTERRANEA, born to promote the "exchange of information between members of different communities, and the creation of spaces for dialogue through the media, literature, music, and art."

If you want to get in touch, email them at

News to brighten up your winter

Winter is definitely upon us in all its coldness and wetness, but for once we won't have to look out too hardly to find some good news coming our way from the publishing world.

NEED magazine, the American humanitarian publication I contribute to was eventually rescued from premature death and is fully back in action: the much delayed Issue 5 is out now in the US. Unfortunately it is not normally available (yet) in European bookstores and newstands, but you can order your copy here if you wish to do so.

NEED's Editor in Chief Stephanie Kinnunen.

You can also read all the stories featured in previous issues — plus a brief introduction of the ones coming out on Issue 5 — on NEED's website.

And if you really can't wait until peeps at Borders finally decide to stock the magazine in the UK as they are already doing in the States, contact them here.

I will talk more about NEED's Issue 5 as soon as I get hold of a copy myself, and will also upload a couple of tearsheets of the story I've written for them from the Balkans about an organisation called CHF International and their micro-finance projects.

On a somewhat less exciting note, you might have noticed some little changes I 've made to this blog. It is not a great deal, but if you look at the top of the page, just below the masthead, you'll find a new quick link section, which I hope will ad some extra spice to readers' browsing — especially new visitors. As I mentioned in a previous entry, it is part of a medium-term drive to move my operations to a "real" website, a goal on which I'm still working on.

Stay Tuned
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