When I met my colleagues from other English-language publications in the central and eastern European region during the big financial crisis in 2009, we all faced one shared problem: keeping our newspapers alive after a dramatic drop in advertising. Unfortunately, several of the projects have since ceased to exist, and today, The Slovak Spectator is the oldest publishing house of an English-language newspaper in the region. Looking back, I see the following reasons behind this achievement.
The recent pandemic years made us realise even more that we play an essential role for our readers who are still largely overlooked by state institutions.
At the start of the pandemic, when the first measures were put in place and the state failed to publish them in English, The Slovak Spectator brought timely information about them to its readers. We have since looked at problems concerning foreigners’ access to vaccination,and the recognition of Covid vaccine doses received abroad, and we have continually advised people how to travel to and from Slovakia during Covid-19. Despite the exhaustive coverage of the pandemic, we were still able to look at issues like what Slovaks think of foreigners, or closely follow the Pope's visit in Slovakia. Our Spectator College project has been instrumental in attracting more and more Slovaks to our website.
The support that our readers give us by purchasing our subscription has become an important source of finances for us. We do not need to explain as often anymore that the annual subscription package for €39.90 provides unlimited access to our website for 365 days and it only costs 77 cents a week, less than a 30-minute bus ticket in Bratislava.
The people behind the stories
The stable team of our publishing house is composed of people who are aware they always need to put our readers first. Many of our staffers have been with The Slovak Spectator since their student days and have devoted all of their thus-far careers to you, our readers. Our writers speak to you directly through our personalised newsletters, Today in Slovakia, Last Week in Slovakia, and Spectacular Slovakia, named after our travel guides edition.
Besides hard news, we bring our readers inspiration to discover Slovakia. The pandemic has been a challenging time for travelling, and it was a major reason why we published an updated version of our Slovakia guide in 2021. The editorial team goes to the places they write about, looking not only for your usual tourist attractions, but also for the stories of people that allow our readers to discover the true face of the country.
Another strong line of business we have built over the years and that distinguishes us from other media is our work on rankings of businesses active in Slovakia. When compiling the rankings, we only work with quantitative indicators to secure an objective approach. This year, we announced the sixth edition of the ranking of the largest law firms in Slovakia, and we have added the ranking of HR firms, developers, and more. This year, we have put together rankings in 50 categories from all fields of business.
We also maintain our special approach to the diplomatic community in Slovakia, mostly through our special package of services for embassies in the country. Serving the diplomatic community was one of the ideas behind the newspaper when it first started in 1995, and even though the community of foreigners living in the country has since grown, we still appreciate the trust of diplomats active in our country as a core readership group.
The Slovak Spectator continues to look ahead and write on topics essential for the future. Drawing on our travel experiences, we have started the Sustainable tourism section, and we hope to be able to publish a series of stories on Bratislava as a sustainable city in cooperation with the city authorities.
Thank you for your interest in Slovak news in English and for being a part of our story that on March 1, 2022 will celebrate a round (if you’re a mathematician) anniversary of 33 years on the market.
Happy New Year.