The Melbourne-based Greek community newspaper Neos Kosmos celebrated its 60th anniversary with a special birthday edition published on December 7, illustrating its enduring appeal despite the challenges of the digital age.
“There is a personal relationship between the readers and the paper,” editor in chief Sotiris Hatzimanolis told Kathimerini ahead of sending the anniversary edition to print.
The readers of Neos Kosmos – which comes out every Monday, Thursday and Saturday – tend to be aged over 50 and still send letters to the editor or call its offices to comment on stories. The most recent hotly contested topic was November’s referendum on same-sex marriage. “They called to express their opposition, but that didn’t stop them buying us,” said Hatzimanolis.
Neos Kosmos was founded in 1957 by Dimitri Gogos and was considered quite radical in its early days. “In contrast to existing papers, Neos Kosmos encouraged Greek laborers to claim their rights,” explained Hatzimanolis, who has been at the paper’s helm since 1992.
“The Greeks of Australia were rather conservative, but our newspaper eventually won them over,” he added.
Neos Kosmos has also been an active proponent in the Greek community, organizing soup kitchens and often acting as a mediator in bureaucratic matters. “Because of the fresh influx of Greeks in the past few years, we have become a point of reference again,” said the editor in chief. “They come to us for information and we report on unfavorable legislation, on opportunities and on the risks for migrant candidates.”
The 60-year-old newspaper, however, is not the only Greek print media in Australia, as Melbourne also gets Ta Nea (in Greek) and Sydney has the Elliniko Kyrikas (Greek Herald). Greek Australians can also keep abreast of developments in both countries on multilingual radio station SBS. “We have a two-hour program from 4 to 6 p.m. where we present the major news stories from Greece and the world, as well as community issues,” explained journalist Panos Apostolou.
SBS works like Deutsche Welle and BBC, dedicating airtime to most of the communities in the country according to their population size. Greeks are still entitled to a two-hour slot thanks to the recent wave of new arrivals from crisis-hit Greece.