The printing press is where a newspaper really comes into existence, reborn every day in ink on paper. For reasons that were as symbolic as they were essential, Kathimerini celebrated its centenary on Sunday with a big party at its own press.
The industrial facility in Koropi, east of Athens, was transformed for the special occasion. The podium was set up in front of the machine that produces the plastic sheaths the paper’s special editions are wrapped in, and the main paper warehouse was turned into a dining room where we welcomed our honored guests, including Greek President Prokopis Pavlopoulos and Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis.
Meters away, the huge belt that carries the sheets of paper was stretched out across the ceiling like the spinal column of some gigantic animal. And one of the highlights of the event was when the machines were started up to print the special anniversary edition for distribution with today’s edition.
In the role of the evening’s presenter and host, National Theater artistic director Dimitris Lignadis reminisced on the days when his father Tasos wrote theater reviews for Kathimerini.
Publisher Themistoklis Alafouzos was the first speaker to take the podium, describing his father Aristidis’ vision for the iconic title when he bought it: He wanted it to be a financially independent daily that would be distinguished for its integrity and professionalism, and which would resonate with readers not just in Greece, but also abroad, something that was accomplished through Kathimerini’s partnership with the International Herald Tribune and now the International New York Times. He stressed that we look to the future with optimism and that Kathimerini will hold onto its lead position among the Greek press with new ideas and methods at every major change in the media landscape.
Executive director Alexis Papachelas then stepped up, saying: “There is someone I want to thank in particular: our strict readers, to begin with. They move us and motivate us with their letters, their interest, their criticism and their love for the paper. And then, a big thank you to all of those people working so hard, now more than ever, in adverse conditions and often anonymously, so that Kathimerini can maintain the standards it deserves. We are proud because our team is made up of the best printers, economic and commercial services executives, reporters, op-ed writers and magazine executives, newspaper editors, cartoonists (and I know how much joy they bring many of you)… They deserve a big ‘bravo’ because all together they form the recipe for what we call Kathimerini’s ‘soul.’ They have our sincerest thanks.”
The prime minister took the stand next, speaking of Kathimerini’s significant history and its ability to evolve with the times and survive. He spoke of its commitment to the ethics of journalism and to the national interest, and of its critical approach to power.
For his part, Pavlopoulos spoke of “celebrating 100 years of Kathimerini on the tough road of media freedom of the press,” calling it a newspaper that has served it well.
So, happy birthday Kathimerini, and here’s wishing you many, many more.