Mr. Theodore Kalmoukos with Mr. Antonis H. Diamataris
Sometimes in life we are not only witnesses to history, we become part of history. Such is the case with the start of the English-language The National Herald twenty-five years ago. Yes, you read that correctly – twenty-five years ago. It seems like it was yesterday.
I beg your understanding for the personal touch in this writing, but I think it merits an exception to the journalistic rule. Let me explain: It was a Saturday morning -October 17, 1997 – when the publisher of the historic Greek Edition of the National Herald-ΕΘΝΙΚΟΣ ΚΗΡΥΞ, Antonis Diamataris, invited Harry Daskalothannasis, an exceptional colleague and person as well, and myself to discuss the possibility and prospect of establishing an English Edition.
I remembered very vividly that both Harry and I responded without any second thoughts: “yes we should go for it.”
By doing the reporting on the issues of our Greek-American Community, especially, regarding the life and the affairs of the local parishes and the Church at large, I was feeling the need daily that the articles should be done also in English. I was not putting the Greek language reporting of the ΕΘΝΙΚΟΣ ΚΗΡΥΞ on a secondary level, but I was realized that our American-born brothers and sisters had difficulty following the news, the coverage in general, as well as the analyses and the editorials about the Omogenia and the Church. Every day I was asked the same question from individuals from across the United States: “do you have that article in English?”
The need was huge. Our Community was looking for a Newspaper of its own. To read it, to embrace it, to support it. Many were asking individuals with knowledge of Greek and English to translate for them the articles from the Greek ΕΘΝΙΚΟΣ ΚΗΡΥΞ into English. They included members of the Archdiocesan Council, the Archons, the Order of AHEPA, and other organizations that primarily used English.
In that meeting of October 17, 1997, we agreed to start slowly, with a slender weekly English insert in the Greek edition in order to “test the waters,” as we had said – and then take it from there. In the meantime, our prestigious monthly illustrated all-English magazine ‘Greek Accent’ had ceased publication.
The response of the Community to our initial effort with the weekly section containing just a few major stories of the Community and the Church was really overwhelming. Antonis Diamataris took the next step: he established an all-English Newspaper – The National Herald – which for the first few years was included as a weekly supplement in the Greek Edition of the ΕΘΝΙΚΟΣ ΚΗΡΥΞ on the weekends.
After seven years, it was developed into a completely separate and autonomous newspaper, as a matter a fact, the only publication of its kind, following in the steps of its parent publication the Greek ΕΘΝΙΚΟΣ ΚΗΡΥΞ.
Harry Daskalothanassis decided to return to Greece permanently, but other very talented reporters and writers have joined the journey.
Let me say one more thing: The ecclesiastical reporting has assumed a different dynamic over time because the new generations who assume the administrative positions and responsibilities in the parishes and in the various departments of the Archdiocese are getting first-hand information in the language they understand best.
Finally, the electronic edition, www.thenationalherald.com, has assumed not simply a Pan-American dimension but also a global one among the English-speaking Greeks abroad, and many times it becomes a point of reference, with many quoting its articles.
The most important thing that must be said at this point is to note that the English language The National Herald as well as the Greek ΕΘΝΙΚΟΣ ΚΗΡΥΞ will have continuity, which is very important. That is because the two publications will stay in the Diamataris family. The children, Vanessa and Eraklis, will continue with the same ethos, zeal, honesty, care, and integrity that their father Antonis displayed all those years.
In closing I now add that I consider myself blessed to be a friend and associate of Antonis for four decades.
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