Smoke still filled Manhattan when I met the Spectator founders in New York

Petit Press CEO Alexej Fulmek recalls how The Slovak Spectator joined his media house.

Alexej FulmekAlexej Fulmek (Source: Sme/Jozef Jakubčo)

Alexej Fulmek is the CEO of the Petit Press publishing house. In 1993, he co-founded the Sme daily along with its first editor-in-chief, Karol Ježík. He has been part of the story of the daily, and the history of Slovakia, ever since. This extract is from his memoir One Flew Over the Newsprint published in the Slovak original in December 2018.

Since 2001 we have owned a minority share in the English newspaper, The Slovak Spectator, which four young Americans, Daniel Stoll, Eric Koomen, Rick Zednik, and Richard Lewis, founded in Bratislava in 1995.

A few months after we enter the Spectator I meet journalist Štefan Hríb in the corridor of our building and he tells me that a small plane hit the Twin Towers in New York and they are on fire. I had visited the World Trade Center with my daughter Miriam only four months before. I turn on the television and I see panic on all channels. Two large civilian airplanes hit the two WTC towers, the third plane crashed into the Pentagon and in the fourth hijacked plane, the passengers prevailed over the terrorists, but the plane crashed.

That day, almost 3,000 people die in New York. I haven’t smoked for two months, but I start again. I only quit one year later, this time for good. In the afternoon I meet my wife and ask her if she knows what happened. She doesn’t, but she proudly tells me she met her publisher and he brought her the copies of her first book. She did not watch TV or turn on the computer.

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