New magazine Oko puts eye on Prague

The glossy bimonthly magazine is meant to bridge the divide between locals and expats

A new free bimonthly magazine called Oko is trying to bridge the gap between expats and locals, with articles that explore the many facets of life and culture in Prague and the Czech Republic.

“It is written in English but really for locals, Czechs, expats – anyone who can read in English. The articles have to be interesting enough so that Czechs want to read it as well,” Oko co-founder and marketing director Claire Dognini said.

Despite the content being in English, the magazine's name is in Czech. “The name means ‘eye,’and it reflects a view of Prague or an eye on the Czech Republic. We did that so it would be recognizable for Czechs, and for non-Czechs it is easy to pronounce and easy to remember,” she said.

The magazine will be distributed free to coffee shops, hair salons, universities and basically anywhere people can sit down and take a moment to read a magazine. People can also subscribe for a small fee that covers printing and delivery costs.

Oko is meant to fill in a gap on the market. “We didn’t think there was any reading material around that wasn’t tourist based, and also we felt there was such a division between expats and Czechs, always us and them, so we really want to become a magazine that brings communities together as a group living in Prague. At the end of the day we all live in the same city, she added.

One goal is making people aware of what is going on in the city. “We want to educate people on issues. There are people who live here for years and have no idea what is going on,” Dognini said.

One example is the environment. “People keep talking about being eco-friendly but nobody really knows how to go about it,” she added.

The emphasis will be on high-quality photography and content. Also, since it will be found in cafes and other places somelimes long after it was published, it needs to have lasting power.

Some articles in each issue will go toward profiling local designers, eco-friendly businesses and startups.

“We want it to be more timeless, so that if you pick it up in two years’ time it is still relevant.

The magazine is unisex, not just for men or just for women. There is something for interest to everyone. Sports, technology, music, a big focus on health. We do a local artist in a spotlight.

It is all about promoting local stuff, really. That is it in a nutshell,” she added.
The magazine is on glossy paper, which at first glance seems to run counter to the magazine's ecological aspirations.

“We looked into recyclable paper, but it is far more expensive and to print quality photographs you have to use a special chemical that is more damaging to climate and to nature than it is for you to use normal paper,” She said.

“In the end you pay more money for something that is more damaging. You are better off going to a company that for every tree they take down, they plant two or three extra trees. We chose that option,” she said.

Also, they do a limited print run, so less paper is wasted. Multiple people are expected to read each copy.

“When we deliver the magazines, every single one is gone. We don’t give them out willy nilly. They go to places that want them. They get a stack of about 10,” she said.
On the Oko website there is a map so people can see online where they can pick up a copy.

The last one has a sticker that says “leave me, last copy.”

“It is Better to print just so many and know they are going to be used,” Dognini said.

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