Dimitra Skalkos: Full Speech at The Greek Herald Re-Launch Event

I want to start by saying how wonderful it is to have you all here tonight. It means a great deal to myself and my sister. Tonight is a very significant occasion for the Greek Herald as not only are we honouring its rich history and those who have been a part of it but it is also an opportunity to celebrate our recent changes moving into the future for the next generation.

Firstly, I need to thank my family. My mum Mary, my brother in law, his mother and sister and my sister Elaine. How grateful I am for the support you have offered me cannot be described adequately through words.

Secondly, I would like to take this opportunity to thank his eminence archbishop Makarios for being with us tonight.  In June last year, His Eminence had just been announced as the new Archbishop of Australia.  His Eminence did not hesitate in agreeing to an interview with our paper that was organized with our correspondent in Greece in his home town of Crete. Your Eminence, your support has given us 

great strength and resolve, and for that, Thank you.

I would like to also thank our distinguished guests, the consul general, political leaders, the presidents and chairs of various organizations, advertisers, our MC John Mangos, members of the Australian and Greek Australian community, our performers for the evening , friends of the Greek Herald, members of the media and my Team. I apologize for not mentioning you by name as I would be devastated if I accidently omitted anyone. I know you all have busy schedules and many of you have travelled to be here and I am truly touched as I look around the room. 

As some of you are aware I have recently taken over the Greek Herald and ELLINIS magazine after the sudden passing of my late father Theo Skalkos. 

This year has certainly had its challenges however it has also been one of the most rewarding years of my life. I was faced with a big decision, to close the paper or to continue it? Instinctively I knew closing it was not an option and after the overwhelming support from the Greek Australian community I decided that I will continue it and carry it to its 100 year centennial and beyond. 

Continuing the 94 year legacy that is the Greek Herald has been a journey that has had an impact in many ways. 

During these 12 months I got to meet and become better acquainted with some very generous and kind people, both from within my team and in the community. You all know who you are, thank you for supporting our vision. Many of you in this room have shared so many stories with me over the year. Many of how The Herald helped your causes or that you first begun your careers working at the Greek Herald and contributed to its history. In many more cases than not, for any age group, one has a story or connection with our paper. For that I am proud.

I have noticed, even more so this year, that anywhere you turn, around every corner, in any industry or organization there is a Greek leader. This gives me the upmost pride in our community and heritage and reinforces to me that as a  community we possess great strength. 

It is in fact this that motivates and drives me to continue the Greek Herald. It is this notion that I would like our newspaper to showcase. To highlight the successes, achievements, initiatives and stories of groups and individuals across Australia as well as to keep you informed of the happenings of our community within Australia and abroad. 

As our wonderful MC of the evening, John, mentioned the Greek Herald has been there throughout history and is itself a part of history. 

The Greek Herald has supported and championed Greek culture and the Greek language, we have hosted politicians within Australia from Greece and abroad, we have developed this newspaper WITH our community, its organizations, associations but also with every Greek individually – many of which are here with us tonight to act as  a voice of the Greek-Australian community. 

When discussing the history of the Greek Herald it is only fitting to mention my late father.  A prominent figure to many, a controversial figure to others, a dad to us.

Dad was a titan of his industry. The secret to his entrepreneurial strength, in my eyes, was due to his natural ability to constantly evolve his approach to his business and was always generating new ideas because being stagnant in ANY aspect of his life was completely out of his nature. Throughout his entire life, he saw opportunities, had an idea and acted on it. If you could pinpoint one central theme of all his ideas, it would be that he saw the huge potential in Australia and its cultural diversity. He recognised an opportunity to create platforms to strengthen our ethnic communities through his group of over 15 ethnic papers, and in turn, make us the integral part of Australian society that we are today. I feel privileged to have been by his side and to have been coached and guided by such an incredible man. He certainly taught me tenacity, hard work ethic and to always back what I believe. It is the best education I could have ever received. 

My sister Elaine and I hope to continue his vision and work ethic of change and adaptation, in our own NEW way with our own NEW mark. 

I will forever be indebted to the staff, who have spent a life time working by dads side, some for over 40 years, and that have stood by me, supported me and my new direction. Running a daily paper is no small feat and I want to take this opportunity to honour their valued contributions to our organization over the years that have contributed to the long standing success of the Greek Herald. They are unaware of this but I would like to call them to the stage to present our longest standing staff with a token to recognize their life long and distinguished service with our publications.

Please come up, Georgia Patsalides, Costas Potiris and Micheal Mystakidis.   Raymond Wong and Sylvia Marinos unfortunately could not be here with us tonight but the Greek herald team will accept on her behalf.

Awards here

Continuing on…We remain incredibly proud that our newspaper is distributed nationally and published daily, in fact The Greek Herald in the only daily and only national newspaper in Australia and one of the last left in the world outside of Greece. It also publishes the same amount of pages DAILY as the Southern Courier does WEEKLY. 

Upon reflection, I feel a great sense of satisfaction and pride about where the paper is today and where it will be in the future.

Our work here has just begun.  We have a new team supporting our print, and a new team working on our digital strategy. We have the advantage of a multi generational editorial team stretching from 19 to 70 year of age. It is this diversity of past and present knowledge amongst our team paired with the shared drive and inspiration that makes it possible to propel the paper into its future.

I am confident that through the hard work of all us at the Greek Herald and with community’s continued support, that  the paper will remain relevant to new generations of  Greek Australians and will continue to chronicle the history of the community for many decades to come, just as it has done in the past.  

The success of the English digital edition of our paper would not have been possible had it not been for the strong brand association that the newspaper has developed over 94 years. It is a household name and has been referred to in readers reviews as an icon of Greek Australian presence. Many ethnic papers, Greek included, have opened and closed throughout the years. The Greek herald has withstood the test of time.

I want reset the button tonight for the paper, as I can only continue it in the way I know best and that is on these 3 beliefs and focuses:

  1. I believe that young people like myself and others here need to step up and continue the legacies left behind for us.
  2. I believe that through the paper, I can help play a role in promoting the Greek Language and the greek culture, which are imperative for successive generations.
  3. (and thirdly) To use the Greek herald for all of you, as a platform to help all individuals, groups and organisations to join voices, so we can continue to have a strong presence as a Greek Australian community.

My sister will later discuss in detail what we have done so far to commence these drivers, and I hope we will be back together here again, in 6 years time celebrating the big 100 year anniversary of this paper and its existence in our community, for the sake of the past, the present and the future….. we deserve it! Thank you