Issue 1 of The Slovak Spectator was hand-delivered around town by a 13-year-old girl to the people we knew in March 1995. That's the way it started: young, single people working 'til the small hours to get the news out to fellow English-speakers. And having a ball doing it.
To a large extent, that's the way it still is. Of course, we are four years older, many in our ranks are engaged or married, and we don't see the sun rise out our office windows as often as we used to. But the passion is as strong as ever.
As arbitrary as it is, this 100th issue of The Slovak Spectator makes us pause and reflect. So much has changed since that inaugural black-and-white issue with the large print rolled off the presses. To begin with, presidents' sons are no longer kidnapped. Then again, there is no longer a president. But the new atmosphere is about more than a new political direction.
It is no longer front page news when a new burger joint opens. People now ask, "What is your mobile number?" whereas four years ago it would have been presumptuous to even ask "Do you have a mobile phone?" Irish pubs and Internet cafes are sprouting like fall mushrooms. Teleráno is now as much a part of the family diet as klobása and slivovica.
These shifts are about burgeoning supply and demand. Slovaks want more and are finding more available to them. Likewise, our newspaper has evolved to better serve you, our readers. We deliver more news in less time to more people in more places. Whereas our debut issue featured 10 news, business and opinion articles, our typical issue now packs in twice as many stories. And now that the paper is weekly, those stories come in half the time and twice as often. To make things even faster, an American working at US Steel in Pittsburgh can get our news at the same time as a Slovak working for VSŽ in Košice, thanks to our web site, www.slovakspectator.sk.
Perhaps most telling of all is how word of The Slovak Spectator has spread. In the earliest days, every time we spoke to a source or an advertiser, we had to start with a long-winded introduction of who we were and what we do. Now we get requests for information from Malacky to Madras City, and from Humenné to The Hague. For that support, we thank you at least 100 times. Because no matter how young, energetic and independent our people are, they alone cannot spread the word that far that fast.
Here's looking forward to the next 100 issues!
With warm regards,
23. Nov 1998 at 0:00