Neo Faliron’s YWCA branch honors women journalists

Four women journalists were honored at the YWCA’s Neo Faliron branch last Sunday, for their exemplary career in a tough milieu. Kathimerini’s Eleni Bistika, Ta Nea’s Sila Alexiou, Emy Panagou and Mega Channel’s Maria Karhilaki spoke lovingly about their chosen profession. The well-attended event took place at the YWCA’s Neo Faliron branch, which houses the Kaiti Laskaridi Library. (The library was established by Constantinos Laskaridis in 1993, in memory of his wife, Kaiti, a member of the YWCA’s board of directors and a founding member of the Neo Faliron branch.) Introducing his illustrious colleagues, author/journalist Giorgos Leontaritis noted that journalism is «glamorous on the outside, but rough on the inside.» As for the women in the trade, Leontaritis said that when, in 1935, pioneer Lilika Nakou made her first steps, women journalists were treated like actresses. The following year, novice Eleni Vlachou traveled to Berlin to cover the 1936 Olympics, for Kathimerini, published by her father, Giorgios Vlachos. «For me, there is no such distinction as old and new journalists,» said Eleni Bistika. «One must work really hard, in their office, read the press, go out there, and have an overall view of what is going on in Greece and the rest of the world.» Bistika, aka Helbi, was recruited by Eleni Vlachou in 1961. Since then, she «travels» effortlessly from the political arena to the 29-year-old Tilefos social column in true, signature style, while in the last few years she has made the return of the Parthenon Marbles a lifetime mission. Always with camera in hand, Bistika is ready to capture every newsworthy moment in sight. «The gossip press has taken over these days,» noted Emy Panagou, adding that in the old days journalists were expected to cover more than one topic. Panagou, a seasoned cultural correspondent, became a celebrated theater critic at the height of the Apogevmatini and Vradyni newspapers, acting as a passionate go-between actors, directors and their public. Sila Alexiou, a veteran reporter, covers trials for Ta Nea. She is on top of her game due to her excellent research, her sources and her vast experience. «Court reporting is the most difficult, because the parties involved don’t want to see the stories in print,» said Alexiou. Maria Karhilaki, a familiar television face who, most recently, covered the war in Iraq for Mega Channel, acknowledged the medium’s great power. «I love television because it opened up my horizons, and also because I find myself facing those who are shaping history,» she said. «At the same time, however, I can’t stop thinking that without television, perhaps we wouldn’t have had the events of 9/11.»