COMMENT

Readers bid farewell to Athens Plus

I was surprised and shocked to learn that you will stop publication of Athens Plus. I find it hard to believe that a newspaper that has received awards for its layout and that has been embraced by the Anglophone population of Greece will cease to exist. I saw a report on TV listing the number of newspapers in various European countries, Greece has 29 while Spain had nine. It is incredible that Greece can support 29 tabloids which ooze yellow ink and that Anglophones will have to be content with one weekly publication, with one point of view. The Athens News was saved by its readers. Why don't you ask yours to help save Athens Plus? RENEE PAPPAS / Athens I am so sorry you have to cease publication! Since the time you first appeared, it has been a highlight of my Friday morning breakfast reading, and stays nearby all week because of the TV and movie guides. It takes a leisurely week to be sure to read all the thoughtful articles, the recipes, the activities in general. You will be sorely missed. Good luck to all of you in the future. MARY KYRTSIS I was particularly distressed when, as a subscriber, I learnt of your closure this morning. I would like to congratulate you for an excellent job, which I myself as a longtime foreign correspondent/journalist thoroughly enjoyed for professional reasons due to my work, but also as an average reader who would find sound content in its pages. I particularly commend your balanced political and editorial coverage, but also enjoyed everything else from sport to travel, culture and entertainment. I sincerely hope that many of your talented staffers might work with other outlets. You thoroughly deserve it, for I have no difficulty whatsoever in stating that your generation of writers - though highly facilitated by new technology - is better than me and my own generation. Your product was great, so it is obvious that strictly financial considerations dictated this development. I feel for you, because it was exactly such considerations that dictated the closure of our own weekly newspaper (the Hellenic Star) a decade ago when the Internet revolution (though welcome to the world) took its toll on the printed media. I hope our paths cross again in the field of informing the English-speaking world of developments in Greece during these difficult times. PAUL ANASTASI / Daily Telegraph correspondent, Athens I am really sad to learn that Athens Plus is ceasing publication. I have been a regular reader since it was first published, and always found it lively and enjoyable. A good weekend companion. Whilst realizing that this decision is based on hard economic facts, I still hope that it shall survive, or resurrect in a short time. All my best wishes to you and the editorial staff. CAMILLO DE ARCAYNE / Athens I came to Athens in April 2008, and two months later, Athens Plus was born. Since then, I've been a loyal reader of yours. Every Friday morning, the first thing I do when coming to the office is to look for the new edition of Athens Plus. I feel that reading Athens Plus has become part of my weekend life. This newspaper is so creatively designed and so informative. I have to say that you and your colleagues have done a perfect job and you really deserve the title of Europe's Best Designed Newspaper. I never had the thought that one day we would to lose it... It will be an emotional day for me, for realizing that I'm not going to receive any new edition of Athens Plus from next Friday. And I totally understand that it is an incredibly hard choice for you to make. Greece is in a difficult situation now. But just as you said, if all friends, if all families, were like your team, this would be a different country, a different world. Some people say I came to Greece during its worst days. There were the nationwide riots in 2008, the rise of homegrown terrorism in 2009 and the worsening economic crisis in 2010. But I will not complain about and regret it, because I think I'm privileged to have the opportunity to see the courage and will of the Greek people to fight against the difficult times. It will just make me love them more... Again, I would like to express my sincere gratitude to you and your dear colleagues for your efforts to enrich the days of my life. And I will be looking forward to your digital revival. CHEN BAO / Athens I am very sorry to read this news. But please do not for a moment think that your readers are «disappointed in» your work. Athens Plus was immediately vastly superior to its rival, but unfortunately the rival is long-established with a large readership, including among the diaspora whom it is hard for a new publication to make contact - and also it became subsidized by a large company, which seemed to interfere with its editorial independence. I read the paper regularly while I was living in Athens, and found it always entertaining and informative, with a very wide-ranging coverage of «what's on» - and beautifully presented. After I left Athens I occasionally read parts of the online edition, especially for the comment/editorial sections, but access to this was slow compared to the daily Kathimerini English Edition. I will be interested to see the online version of Athens Plus when it becomes available - will it be «free» (paid for by advertising) or will there be a charge? Presumably it will aim for reduced content (suitable for those living outside Greece or Athens), and will be easy of access? So, good luck with the rebirth online! ROBERT SKAILES It is with great sorrow that I read Athens Plus will no longer be part of my weekly reading material. I have every single copy since its inception and I will proudly keep them safe and refer to them constantly even to reread the excellent reports, articles and for the information on cultural events etc... I am disturbed by the fact that such excellent staff had to be laid off. It will not be the same without you, Athens Plus, such excellence in reading material and presentation. Why is it that quality should be hit by the financial crisis? Does this mean that we will now have to sift through the dregs in the media to find realistic and good-standard reporting and reading? The thought troubles me deeply. Is there any way some enterprising investor could be found to keep Athens Plus going? With the utmost grief... GARETH TREWARTHA / Thessaloniki I live and work in the New York City area and just found out this morning «the demise» of the Athens Plus. I looked forward to every Friday to start my day by bringing up the latest issue online and enjoy it page-by-page. We also travel to Greece every year and it was a staple in beginning our weekends in Athens. Great paper, great team. I hope maybe it will come back in the very near future. Good luck and stay well. TONY NASTEK / New York I teach Ancient Greek in the USA in a public high school. I travel to Greece twice a year. I cannot begin to tell you how much I will miss the Athens Plus. Miss is an inadequate word. I depend on the paper for intelligent coverage of the economic and cultural life of Athens. I depend on hearing about which archaeological sites are reopened but not heard about, which are closed, and what cultural opportunities would be important to my students but aren't listed in any guide book. Coverage about walks on Mt Hymettus, the Academy, and the Athens Zoo opened my eyes to new possibilities. Coverage about parks and rural wilderness areas is unique. Coverage about museums which are off the beaten path is vital. Without your coverage I would only see the mess and litter of Psyrri and not its vibrant hope. Without your coverage I would only see the poverty and chaos of Athens' immigrant crisis and not its human face. NINA BARCLAY / USA I am a regular reader of Athens Plus based in Thessaloniki and I am both sad and disappointed that the decision was forced on you. Athens Plus was a marvelous paper to read and the high standard of journalism made it a valuable source of information. I am glad that you are going to produce an online paper and I hope that you might also consider publishing it as an i-phone application too. My best wishes to you and your colleagues. ROSEMARY RUSSELL-DAMIANOS / Thessaloniki It is with profound concern that I read in Kathimerini English Edition online that today's is the last Athens Plus edition. As an avid reader of your newspaper, I plead not to do so or at least to find a suitable alternative. Although I do speak and understand fairly well the Greek language, there isn't any other communication mean that provides good and impartial information in English. Maybe now it's too late, after the decision's been taken, but at least I'd like to stress the good work done by you and your colleagues and most of all, it will be dearly missed. ROBERTO RODRIGUES I would just like to thank you for the wonderful and brilliant Athens Plus publication. You should all be very proud with your achievements. I'm very sad to see Athens Plus go, and I mean very sad. The quality of the content, presentation and subjects makes Athens Plus, in my opinion the best weekly read to date! You definitely captured the global market, I'm not Greek and I don't live in Greece. I read Athens Plus from Australia weekly without fail. I discovered Athens Plus via ekathimerini.com in early 2009, and not the print edition, which I saw in print in 2010, and I had to track it down. Australia could really use the talent you all have! So you're all welcome! I wish everyone the best of luck and look forward to seeing you all back after the break! LUKE / Australia One is used these days to opening the IHT and reading also in the English Edition of Kathimerini bad news from all over this mixed-up world in which we live today. But opening Athens Plus this morning was a real indication of the troubles facing the proud people of this once-great country. Since the day it was first published I have always enjoyed reading your well-written, interesting and well-designed publication and all I can say is I wish all the talented colleagues listed at the end of your editorial good fortune in whatever and wherever they find themselves from next week - their good work will be missed. Having been formerly involved in publishing I do appreciate the work involved. The only saving grace in your editorial was to read with relief that the English edition of Kathimerini will continue to be published in the IHT even if it has had to be reduced in size. All power to your and Nick Malkoutzis's editorial elbows writing in that newspaper and every good wish for the success of the digital revival. DEREK DICKINS I have to say that it will be really strange not to read the Athens Plus every Friday like I have been doing ever since its first publication. I also can't hide the disappointment I feel, as a journalist, when reading the quote in the last paragraph of Niki Kitsantonis' column («This newspaper wasn't given a chance»). It's a real shame. I'd like to thank the Athens Plus staff for producing a high-quality newspaper with interesting and well-written articles and an excellent layout. You will be missed. Good luck to you all. NIKOS KRINIS / News Editor, Greek Travel Pages As a weekly reader for the last few years of your Athens Plus paper, it was such a shock to see it will close down. I will truly miss one of the best weekly columns in Greece and beyond - City Limits by Niki Kitsantonis. Maybe you could give Niki's column space in the daily English version of Kathimerini, and even translate it into Greek for the Greek version. SCOTT HATHAWAY I am so sorry to see that the Athens Plus will be discontinued. We travel to Greece about every two years and love reading the weekly paper. When back in the US we read it online. Will the entire paper be stopped? Will the online version stop also? So sorry, but understand the economy in these very bad times. DARYL RIES / Montana, USA It is with great sadness that I read in the English version of ekathimerini that Athens Plus is to close. I think this is a great shame, as I regularly read it online in both the UK and Greece, where I spend about four months a year. I hope you will use your best endeavors to continue publication, as this will be a great loss for all English speakers across the world who are interested in Greece. Congratulations on running such an excellent newspaper. KEN BROWNE / Leamington Spa, UK & Alimos, Greece I am a Greek living in Canada and enjoyed very much reading your weekly newspaper. It is too bad that it has to be shut down. Your paper was very much appreciated for the quality of its articles but also for reporting on the arts and culture events in Athens and Greece and in general. Your paper will be much missed and I hope that it will be replaced in the near future by another. MARINOS PLAINOS / Montreal, Canada I read the devastating news about Athens Plus today in the English version of Kathimerini. I have been reading Athens Plus every week since its inception in 2008 and I consider it to be the very best of all English publications for all English-speaking readers who are interested to know what is happening in Greece in terms of politics, cultural events, other current events, sports and general information. It has been an exceptional example of what young, talented English-speaking Greeks and others, who may or may not have lived abroad but decided to make Greece their home, can accomplish through their superior journalism, creativity and unrivaled presentation in a country where most newspapers lack all of the above. I was so proud of this publication, I told all my friends about it worldwide, especially in the USA, where they, in turn, spread the word to their friends and relatives. I am very saddened and disappointed at the decision to close down Athens Plus because it was not only an enjoyable and informative publication to read every week, but it was a great service to all its readers. Sadly, this is one more example of journalism that is excellent and worthwhile being sacrificed for mediocre to bad, typical of what is all wrong about Greece's obvious lack of meritocracy. I am sincerely hoping you will reconsider your decision to completely close down Athens Plus, at least, reconsider to continue it online, which is where most of us read it when we are not in Greece. Of course, I am sure most of us are more than willing to pay an online subscription to make this possible. LOUNA COUMERI / Buckinghamshire, UK Thank you so much for having produced such an excellent newspaper for the past couple of years. I have looked forward to the weekend and enjoyed every edition. I am, obviously, really disappointed to know that you will stop production, but can imagine that the financial restraints at the moment are just too much. Athens Plus and the Kathimerini website are my only chance of knowing a little more about what is happening in Greece - as my Greek is just enough to order a meal! I hope that the English website will remain. I must say that I think it is an incredible service to produce foreign-language information at all. I have learned a lot about Greece - politics, attitudes, expectations and that all helps to understand the situation better. I've also learned a lot about the different areas of the country. Greece has so much to offer in terms of vacational recreation - mountain walking, lakes, rivers, wine country, churches, monuments. But somehow most people only know about sun, sea and retsina. It is such a shame and such an untapped source of income and wealth for those in the tourist industry. But things take time. Most European countries have had to readjust over the past couple of decades - all of them are now tightening their belts and many have a long road to recovery. Greece has a unique chance to put into place changes which the Greeks have wanted for a long time. I wish you every success and look forward to the reintroduction of Athens Plus sometime in the future. Once again, many thanks. JUDITH NITSCH As a primarily English-speaking Greek American, I am so saddened to read that Kathimerini is ceasing publication of Athens Plus. The newspaper is as beautiful as it is informative and it will be quite missed. I hope that Kathimerini will reconsider its decision to terminate this much read and appreciated paper. Thanks for your time. ELENI KONTOS-MILLER It was with great astonishment that I read today about the Athens Plus publication's intended discontinuance. There is no doubt, in my opinion, that Athens Plus is presently the best publication of all Greek- or English-language dailies and weeklies, both in respect of journalistic proficiency as well as from the enjoyable and informative content's point of view. Perhaps it is the fate of Greece to bury the good and for the bad to live forever. Have you considered keeping alive the online version? APOS P. KATRANTZIS What a loss! I read this weekly to keep up on news in Athens, Greek recipes, and places to visit. Please bring it back - it was invaluable. LYN EISENHAUER / Chicago, Illinois

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