NINE O’CLOCK celebrates 23 years since its launch on the market. This event takes our thought not so much to the past as it does to the future, giving us courage to carry on the ‘adventure’ that began on October 9, 1991 – the publication of an English daily newspaper in Romania.
We have to admit that the very existence on the market during 23 years, especially in a context where the entire world print media is going through a not at all easy period, is a performance we would have hardly dared aspire to when we set out into our ‘adventure’: publish an English language daily with the declared aim of offering foreign residents in Romania, all English-speaking audience and not only an accessible source of information on local realities. It is undoubtedly a performance that makes us honour, but at the same time one that obliges us to you, our readers.
Because this mission that we have undertaken – to be a first point of contact for foreign residents – diplomats, business persons, bankers etc. – with Romanian realities is indeed a major obligation as far as we are concerned.
In its 23 years of existence, NINE O’CLOCK has become an interface between Romania and the exterior, or, as a distinguished reader states in a message he chose to send to us on this occasion, ‘NINE O’CLOCK is a sui generis ambassador for Romania worldwide’.
A major part of the information, reports and comments published in the pages of our newspaper reach the chancelleries of world capital cities or the desks of the officials of various international bodies or financial institutions, giving them a correct picture of the political, economic and social affairs in Romania. It is for this reason that we have known since the very beginning that we cannot afford any mistake whatsoever, especially in respect of the truthfulness of the information we publish. First of all it would have hurt our credibility as a publication in front of an elite segment of readers. Secondly, we could have caused major distress and a lot of harm to the country by publishing untrue information or distorted facts. And, not least, that obliged us to always be one step ahead of the rest of the publications in the Romanian mass-media regarding the most important information, for which reason we have always sought the most pertinent sources of information.
Naturally, the road covered up to this important moment in our existence has not been easy. Actually it has been dotted with ups and downs all inherent to the period of transition in which both the press and the entire Romanian society has and still lives in.
Things have not been easy also because of the special responsibility we took 23 years ago – to make a DIFFERENT kind of newspaper in the so crowded landscape of Romanian press all this time, an objective newspaper, presenting an accurate cross-section of top local and foreign events, as well as news from sports and culture.
It hasn’t been easy also because we embarked on this genuine adventure as an independent, self-sustained publication, in a period of transition that seems quite endless. It would have perhaps been easier if we supported the interests of certain stakeholders that would have made things easier for us by financing us in return for our services. Things would have also been easier for us if we were in favour of a press that, by less orthodox ways – blackmail and criticism of personalities or companies – manages to obtain high amounts taking the form of sponsorship of advertising contracts with values regular Romanians only see in movies.
But we preferred to keep our upright position and morality, to stay clear of any kind of games of political or economic interests. We preferred to be ourselves, respect professional deontology, report on fact as they are and not as seen by a certain group to the detriment of others. We preferred to always write what we want, meaning to reflect reality and not what the ‘law of the money’ dictates or imposes.
Since the very beginning we embraced the small-step policy, trying to grow slowly by safely. In this way, NINE O’CLOCK has turned into a newspaper with a distinct personality and positions. In the process, we have tried all sorts of formulas for presenting what happens in Romania and in the world 24 hours a day, until we came to the current formula.
Gradually, over the years, the NINE O’CLOCK family has grown: in 1996 our press group started the publication of a French language daily, BUCAREST MATIN, which, after a few years, for independent reasons, was turned into a weekly publication designed to offer the French-speaking community in Romania pertinent information on local realities. Unfortunately, at the end of last year, after 17 years, to be more specific, Bucarest Hebdo closed down because of lack of financing.
In 2000, our press group also started to publish an Italian language weekly – SETTE GIORNI, that, from the very beginning, has enjoyed the wide appreciation and interest of an ever growing Italian business community in Romania.
All of the above is complemented by the hundreds of special supplements issued by the three publications of our group, issued on various occasions (national days, official visits of outstanding political personalities to Romania, seminars and conferences, so on and so forth).
An article like this, meant to me a brief review of the history of the almost 6000 issues we have published in our 23 years on the market, would be unfairly limited strictly to the presentation of these reconsiderations without recognizing one major reality: NINE O’CLOCK would have not existed, would have not been able to come this far if it hadn’t been for you, our readers, your interest, the suggestions and criticism you have made over the time, the support of numerous Romanian and foreign companies and banks who, understanding the important role we assumed, have always been by our side. We feel an obligation of fair-play towards you, our readers and partners, because, when we chose English as the language of our newspaper, we also looked to secure the English fair-play.
Of course, we cannot say that, same as the rest of the press, we too do not feel the effects of the present financial crisis that made-as it is known-many “victims” in the ranks of the Romanian daily press.
However, we haven’t lost, not will we lose our optimism, as we keep counting on your support and cooperation. This gives us hope to look to the future. In conclusion, our thanks go to you, our dear readers and partners and we look forward to meeting you again on our 24th anniversary.