Fannie Petallides Holliday and I have been competitors for a number of years. She was the owner of ‘Proini’, one of the Greek-American community’s longest-running daily newspapers (1977-1996) – the paper shut down in 2001. I became the owner of the Ethnikos Kirix – National Herald in1979. Our competition was, at times, fierce – because much was at stake. Thus, the mutual attacks at times got out of hand, unfortunately, as often happens when two people passionately love what they stand for. However, at least for my part, I had no negative feelings for Fannie, as everyone called her. It was also hard not to like her as a person. In fact, I understood the angst she experienced as few could, because I knew better than anyone her struggle for the survival of her newspaper. We were, then, both young and inexperienced in our editorial/journalistic roles. She was coming from a highly successful career at Audiovox – a pioneering electronics company, and I had just graduated from Columbia University’s Business School. In the long history of the Community, dozens of newspapers opened and closed, mainly in New York, Boston, Chicago, and Los Angeles. Only three of them stood the test of time: Atlantis (1904-1973), National Herald (1915 – ), and Proini (1977-2001).
I have analyzed in many other contexts the phenomenon of the National Herald. However, I never had the opportunity to refer to Proini. The fact that this newspaper lasted for so many years, 24 in total, is due to a certain extent to the innovations it introduced in our Community’s publishing space, such as its tabloid format, its association with Andreas Papandreou, who at the time enjoyed vast popular support, and other things.
However, I believe that the main reason for the success of Proini was Fannie Petalides herself: It was her devotion to her newspaper and to her native Cyprus. It was her belief that with her newspaper and her own sacrifices, she contributed to the struggle for the freedom of the Great Island. I believe that these are the things that kept Proini alive for so many years, especially in the difficult expatriate market.
I owe her a debt, but it is also a pleasure to recognize the great contribution of Fannie Petalides, even with these few words, and by dedicating the cover of today’s edition of our Periodiko magazine to her, an edition dedicated to the 48th dark anniversary of the Turkish invasion of Cyprus. Woe to us if, as a nation and as Hellenism, we are unable to honor the values and contributions of those who serve in the best possible way the great cause of our Nation – especially our former competitors.