Letters To Readers

Dear readers,

The Slovak Spectator has a new look, a new format and a new slogan - International Weekly. With so many changes taking place, I'd like to tell you why they were made, as well as explain why you should continue to pick up the Spectator.

Our biggest move was going from a bi-weekly format to a weekly, and arriving on newsstands every Friday rather than every second Wednesday. We have always wanted to give our readers more timely news, but it has never made more sense than now. September's national elections are the single most important political event in the country's short history, and as a weekly newspaper, the Spectator will be able to bring readers better coverage of the campaign and the shifting political landscape.

Readers familiar with the old Spectator may have noticed another change: Our business coverage (companies, economy, markets and business focus) has moved forward in the paper, and the news pages moved back.

The reasons for changing the pagination are also straightforward. In terms of its economic development, Slovakia is barely halfway on the long and difficult road from a command economy to a free market. In moving business coverage more into the spotlight, the weekly Spectator means to accord economic news the importance it has come to assume.

Likewise, in moving 'the news' further back in the paper, we hoped by small example to hasten the moment when stories of constitutional crisis, political squabbling and social division do not occupy the editorial limelight of every Slovak newspaper and the waking consciousness of every citizen.

What we offer

The Slovak Spectator's identity as a company helps us offer readers news about Slovakia they can't find from any other English language source. We are a small independent newspaper trying to survive in a hostile business environment, so when we write business stories, the objective reporting of the facts is couched in a profound appreciation of what they mean. Our staff hails not only from Slovakia but also from Romania, Canada and the US, which adds a unique dimension to our political coverage. In a word, the reporters we have covering politics and economics are Slovaks who have lived here all their lives, edited by foreigners with experience of other political idioms and business cultures.

In terms of the specific services we offer readers, the business section will provide corporate news that focuses on international companies doing business in Slovakia, and on those Slovak companies that are attractive to investors. Macroeconomic news will give context to the indicators and trends investors watch in transitional economies. Our capital market and money market columns, written by professional market analysts, will continue to give business readers a concise summary of recent developments, but now on a weekly basis. Regular focuses on particular industries, as well as real estate, tax and investment columns, will offer deeper insight into more specialized economic issues.

The news section will shadow the composition of Slovakia's new government, and dog every step it takes towards a viable economic and political program. We will be launching news features on women in Slovakia, on the experiences of Slovak Jews, on the growing numbers of Slovaks who are emigrating or have already done so, on the writing of Slovak history and the decline of cultural life in the country. We will add an international perspective to what is happening in Slovakia through more interviews with diplomats, foreign observers and investors.

The culture section will be a complete guide to life and leisure in the capital, with movie, music and restaurant listings as well as regular stories on Slovak artists, writers, musicians and film makers. The editorial page will add a weekly digest of the Slovak press, as well as the week's best quotes, to the current mixture of guest columns, letters to the editor and editorial.

We do these things, finally, as an independent newspaper beholden only to the unbiased, unvarnished truth. The four Americans who founded the paper still own it wholly, and owe neither fear nor favour to anyone. What you will find in these pages will be objectively and aggressively reported stories which, above all, portray people and events fairly.

Tom Nicholson, Editor-In-Chief

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