What's on my mind
Last week, I spent several hours interviewing Eugene Rossides. Eugene is the founder and driving force behind the American Hellenic Institute, and one of the most distinguished Greek Americans in our Community, with a longstanding history contribution to issues involving Greece and the Greek American Community. Aside, however, from this role, which I respect and honor, Eugene played an important role – perhaps even the deciding factor – in my professional life.
He was the publisher of The National Herald's Greek edition from 1976-1979, before selling the paper to me – the newspaper's financial executive at the time – and the The National Herald's former editor George Leonardos, who is one of the most widely read authors in Greece today. He sold each of us half his shares, in two installments.
We had a lot to talk about. We looked back to the The National Herald of the early 1980's. At the time, one of our associates in Athens used to drive down to midtown Athens on his motorbike around 1 o'clock in the afternoon, buy two-three newspapers, and read us the top stories over the phone when he got home. We would tape the conversation from our old Manhattan office at 257 Park Ave. South, and afterwards, our production department would transcribe the stories and work on the layout. Later each morning, we would send the films to Seven Seas Printing located in a basement office in Chinatown, where our paper would go to print. By the time 1983 rolled around, I had bought a new printing press which I set up in our privately owned offices in Long Island City.
In 1986, I took my first steps in setting up our Athens office, which began operations with a staff of four people. Today, it has developed into a large office that is home to an entire army of correspondents and associates, who are based out of our privately owned office in the heart of Athens. I think it is worth mentioning that aside from the journalistic work produced in this office, the layout for both our Greek daily and English weekly print editions takes place there too. This is yet another example of what has come to be known as outsourcing – an issue that the New York Times had run a story on some time ago.
My discussion and interview with Eugene Rossides also touched on the communication revolution brought about by the Internet. Truly, who could have imagined back then that we would have a tool available to us today that would enable our voice – the voice of The National Herald – to reach all over the world where there are Greeks who thirst for honorable, objective and authoritative information. We begin this blog today as we enter into a new era – communication without borders, community based journalism. I look forward to reading your comments. Here's to a new beginning!