3 min.

The Standart Is The Pioneer of Bulgarian Journalism

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The Standart Is The Pioneer of Bulgarian Journalism

"Twenty-five years ago, The Standart was "the intelligent newspaper" among the tabloids crowd," Maxim Behar says

Q: Mr Behar, you are one of the "founding fathers" of The Standart. What were the motives and ambitions of the team that launched the newspaper in 1992?

A: "Those were incredible days and months of my life! From the first moment, then Editor-in-chief Valery Zapryanov and I knew we were making history, and the freedom and motivation given to us by the publisher, Krasi Stoychev, were unique for that time.
We recruited young unknown journalists, literally, from the street. Journalism students came to us, said they had heard about some newspaper we'd been preparing to launch and they were appointed immediately.
Years later they would become the A-team of Bulgarian journalism in the 1990s,
When the first, but really the first, issue of Standart fell off the printing press, I grabbed it with shaking hands!! All of the team signed it, then took it to the editorial office, where Valeri was standing alone in his room. I gave it to him, and he read it carefully and wrote in the top left corner "Max, you're the top!"

Now the original of this issue is in a prominent place in my office, I bought it at auction for a lot of money on the 15th anniversary of the newspaper, and the amount went as a donation to the Music School in Sofia.

Q: Why did you choose exactly that name of the newspaper, The Standart, what were the other suggestions?

A: One day Valeri told me a publisher was interested in making a "smart" daily newspaper and was inviting me to join the team, the name The Standart had already appeared in the discussions and I did not hear any other Ideas. It seems to me that Krassi Stoychev, who then lived in Austria, was heavily influenced by Der Standard's moderate liberal tone and just wanted to transfer it to Bulgaria.

Q: How did Standard stand out from other newspapers, except for its blue paper?

A: We started as the only newspaper in which each piece of information we offered our readers had been double-checked. This was rule number one in our team. The blue paper on which the newspaper was printed was more of a marketing trick, but the newspaper's content was an example of some top-quality journalism - every word was thought twice, every punctuation mark was in place, and it meant something.

We had a great deal of quality, and no article, even brief information, could be published without being read and signed either by Valery or by me and often by both of us.

We were also blessed with a wonderful team – they had a lot of enthusiasm and the self-confidence of leaders and innovators in Bulgarian journalism.

There is something else. At one point I started to travel around the world, and there appeared on the pages of the Standart an incredible series of interviews that were unique for that time and made the newspaper even more popular. The first newspaper to interview Bulgaria's King Simeon II, legends like Lech Walesa and Vaclav Havel, the then Spanish Prime Minister Felipe Gonzalez, the unique economist and chairman of the Tokyo Yugoslav National Bank, Professor Dragoslav Avramovich, Assistant Secretary of State Richard Holbrook ... All of them answered my questions And their messages reached hundreds of thousands of readers in Bulgaria.

Q: What can The Standart be proud of most for these 25 years?

A: I've been following The Standart over the past 25 years. The newspaper, as well as our entire society and state, has gone through many peaks and failures, through various political ravings and moods. The newspaper has gone through various professional experiments - magazines, regional publications, etc. but it has never lost his good tone, never lowered the level of journalism. That's why I take off my hat in respect to all those who have managed to continue and develop what we started 25 years ago.

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