Over five years, we've served up tablespoons of criticism. We deserve a taste of our own slivovica. A review of our newspaper might go something like this:
If you have trouble finding this English-language weekly, you are not alone. Some readers find it lost among the Slovak dailies, while others locate it wedged somewhere between USA Today and the Financial Times, depending on the whims of the stubborn vendor at your local train station. Your best bet is ordering delivery service, although this wasn't always the case. The Slovak Spectator used four different mail distributors in its first four years. Subscribers often complained of receiving two copies or lost payments until the paper started handling its own subscriber database.
The paper's decor was drab in its early days, but has brightened up since the editor and business manager stopped moonlighting as graphics designers. Though the name and logo have become recognisable, one suspects they were picked by process of elimination after a three-person brain-storming session.
Once inside The Slovak Spectator, we recommend you get comfortable in the news section, the paper's traditional strength. As a weekly, the paper doesn't always strive to serve hot stories, but you can expect great texture and depth. Offerings have varied from meaty exclusive interviews with then-President Michal Kováč and former Prime Minister Vladimír Mečiar to saucy previews of the Group B World Hockey Championships in Bratislava.
The business pages have evolved to appeal to more refined tastes with periodic industry focuses. The culture section features both sweet and sour reviews, while the editorial tends to be the spiciest part of the paper. The paper's side orders have both repulsed readers with comments about "Slovakia's worst towns" and satiated them with archives available on-line.
When you consider The Slovak Spectator is the best source for regular, balanced, in-depth reporting on Slovakia in English, it is a bargain at 30 Sk.
Rick Zedník is a founding co-owner of The Slovak Spectator. He has worked at the paper since its birth, as Editor, Sales Director and now as Publisher.
28. Feb 2000 at 0:00 | Rick Zedník