The end

This is the final post to this blog. I was thinking yesterday of writing some tearful farewell, but it would be unjust. This blog has been out of commission for more than a year – it’s just right that it closes here. It’s been a great tool while I was living abroad, but it’s become useless in my Romanian life. For those reading Romanian, I’ll continue to post (mostly about reporting and writing) to For people reading English, it’s been fun. We’ll talk through other means.

Esquire #12 (October 2008)

Esquire Octombrie 2008

A of today, Romanian newsstands will carry the October issue of Esquire, which features the first annual list of people who are shaping and changing the (Romanian) world we live in. They include Internet entrepreneurs, police commissioners, stuntmen and doctors. The cover subject, DragoÅŸ Bucurenci, is among them. He is arguably the face of Romania’s eco movement, and his organization, MaiMultVerde, is among the busiest, cleaning streams, planting forests and promoting the need to do volunteer work for the environment. More about this spectacular issue, here.

PS: This was my last issue as a staffer. I am now a freelancer and will continue with Esquire as a contributing writer.

Esquire #11 (September 2008)

The September issue of Esquire Romania is dominated by the pronouncements of radio and TV personality Andrei Gheorghe, an unapologetic social and political critic, who is now watching the game from the sidelines. Having been let go from his TV gig after receiving a DUI he’s not sure about coming back into the media world. But he still has tons of opinions – that’s something that has not changed. More on the september issue here (in Romanian).

Esquire #10 (July/August 2008)

Reporting this month’s cover story on the actress Maria Dinulescu was a lot of fun. Maria is a spunky 27-year-old with a gift for turning the ordinary into something worth retelling. She turned a few banal moments into great scenes in the time we spent together, and that’s what the story attempts to show

The cover is our own tribute to Esquire’s 75th anniversary. The US edition plans to reinterpret four iconic covers this year. One was the Virna Lisi shaving cover from 1965 which they reinterpreted recently using Jessica Simpson. We chose Maria and we chose well.)

Maria Dinulescu

Other goodies in the July/August issue:
– News from the front lines of the Romanian Internet: a profile of Yahoo’s man in Romania, Bobby Voicu, and a look at Romania’s answer to the music industry’s woes,
– The story of Andrei Pandele, who took great chances documenting the stuff of everyday life during communism.
– Sports journalist Radu Naum embarks on a quest to figure out what happened to the Romanians’ love for French culture.
– Ex-footballer Gica Popescu in a stylish fashion spread.
– A funny joke from Laura Cosoi.
– and much more.

Esquire #9 (June 2008)

Musician Tudor Chirila graces the cover of the June issue of Esquire Romania. Chirila, brilliantly captured by Gabriel Dobre, is a man who is as good a seller as he is a musician. As he prepares to release the debut album of his new band, Vama, his marketing and music skills merge, creating a fascinating persona.

Other goodies in the June issue:
– Lots of soccer stories – it’s the month of Euro 2008 after all – told by the likes of Gheorghe Hagi, Ilie Dumitrescu, Rica Raducanu and more.
– A stunning profile of a 16-year-old boy who dreams of one day being a great player.
– A trip around the world in a camper alongside the lovely family of Dan and Marilena Pouzet Oprean.
– Photos and words from the dreamy land of Cuba.
Six-word stories told by four trendy advertising guys.
– and much much more.

Esquire #8 (May 2008)

After Arnold comes Robert Turcescu, one of Romania’s iconic media figures. Turcescu is the man on the May cover of Esquire Romania; in the story he talks about the sorry state of Romanian journalism and why taking a break has suddenly become an option.

Robert Turcescu

Other great stories in this issue, include:
Looking for Cristian Mungiu. An moving article on the director’s past year, and the toll the success of 4, 3, 2 has taken on him.
Electoral season is upon us. Esquire marks the occasion with 14 pages of mayor-centered stories and photographs.
– The Romanian Stradivarius and the violin player that brings it to life.
– A good year for climber David Neacsu.
– A funny joke told by VJ Elena.

And more good stuff. You can download the table of contents in PDF, here.

Esquire #7 (April 2008)

After heaping much praise on the March issue, I’m back to do the same with the April one. Yes, I know it’s self-serving, but trust me, it’s worth it. There are some amazing stories in this one – well-reported, well-written and quite insightful.

Coperta Aprilie

Don’t let Arnold fool you – the magazine is comprised of 80 percent local content. We decided to translate the Arnold piece because he is an iconic figure all around the world. Not to mention that the piece is written by Tom Junod, which for me is enough to make me want to read it.

Let me preview some of the most interesting stories.

CNSAS opener
Dia Radu’s piece is about the consequences of accessing one’s Securitate (the communist secret police) files. Vasile Gavrilescu, a 71-year-old writer, did so. His life has never been the same since. This story is something like Das Leben Der Anderen, the German Oscar-winning film.

Trabant opener
A very entertaining – but also profound – story on the disappearance of the Trabant, the East German classic. Gabriela PiÅ£urlea has captured an interesting moment in time for a cult object that many don’t even consider to be car. The photos were shot by Andrei Pungovschi.

Alexandru opener
This is a story that I did on a man who dislikes routine so much that he’s prone to change gears when he is on top of his game. It’s a story about success, having it your own way and always building towards something better. Roald Aron shot the pictures.

Other stories:
– A great photo-feature on cocktail wizards and the drinks they mix.
– What I’ve Learned: Mircea Toma.
– Sexy women in underwear.
– The trickshot guru, Vali Carambol.
– The troubles of local media.
– and so much more.

* Designed by Raymond Bobar and Cătălina Zlotea.
* You can download the table of contents in PDF format if you wish.
* Same goes for the cover. Get it here.

Esquire #6 (March 2008)

A spectacular issue of Esquire Romania is on its way. The best we did so far I believe (followed closely by #4). It’s well-written and well-edited, hopefully offering something to every reader.

The cover of this special What I’ve Learned issue is graced by actor, director, writer and producer Florin Piersic Jr., a man who chose to go through life at his own pace – although many believe he went slow and failed to show any accomplishments thus far. In this story, I argue his time to shine has come.

Download the cover in PDF format.

Coperta Martie

Sumar Martie
You can dowload the table of contents pages – seen above – here.

Other goodies in issue #6:

  • Wisdom and advice from the likes of Al Pacino, Petre Roman, Nadia Comăneci, Gheorghe Dinică, Dustin Hoffman and Leonard Doroftei.
  • A portrait of a journalist in prison.
  • A story on the generation of children left home by parents working abroad.
  • A stunning novella by award-winning author Philip Ó Ceallaigh.
  • Great fun with actor Andi Vasluianu.
  • An experiment involving watching television at night for one week. What’s on at 3 AM?
  • And much much more – including Hilary Swank‘s long legs and tips on ordering a martini.

* Designed by the team of Raymond Bobar and Catalina Zlotea.

PS: Seen anything you liked in Esquire? Tell us via e-mail:

New (Movie) Wave on the Black Sea

I wrote a bunch on this blog about the awesome Romanian movies of the past couple of years. Now there is finally a gorgeous story that puts all the necessary context around the idea.

Of course it does. It’s a piece by A.O. Scott after all.

I did my own version of this for CS Monitor in December — but it barely registers on the radar compared to what the NY Times did.

I also wrote a little about why Scott’s story works as a piece of journalism (in Romanian).

To write

For a while now I’ve been toying with the idea of starting a blog in Romanian. When I say blog I mean nothing more than a medium that will allow easy publishing. Since I started teaching I’ve craved a continuous conversation on writing and reporting. I believe it would be beneficial to my students and, certainly, myself. Writing is what I do for a living and I think of the craft constantly. Blogging about it might help spread some of my ideas on storytelling to Romanian journalists and readers.

That said, I give you A scrie (it means To write). The blog is in the roughest form possible (let’s call it a beta of betas), with nothing set in place. It will hopefully find a form, a design and a basic structure in the next few weeks – but it will be mainly a vehicle to discuss non-fiction writing and the process by which such writing comes about. It might also showcase some of my students’s work and ideas/strategies from other working reporters (probably people I work with on putting out Esquire). It’ll feature stuff like this. Yes, it’ll be in Romanian.

Wish me luck and read me – if language is not a barrier.

PS: Owlspotting will keep going.