In just a few days, this newspaper will be 84 years old. In its first issue, dated October 6, 1933, it was underlined that the new publication would be geared to the new generation of Ukrainians born and raised here in North America and would strive to keep them engaged in the Ukrainian community. The English-language newspaper was also meant to be used to tell the English-speaking world around us about our ancestral homeland – most importantly at the time of its founding, about the genocidal famine, the Holodomor, that ultimately killed millions in Ukraine. Now, nearly eight and a half decades later, The Ukrainian Weekly can say that it has faithfully and proudly served several generations of readers in our community.
The National Newspaper Association – a trade association whose mission is “to protect, promote and enhance America’s community newspapers” – notes: “the distinguishing characteristic of a community newspaper is its commitment to serving the information needs of a particular community.” That community, the NNA explains, “is defined by the community’s members and a shared sense of belonging. A community may be geographic, political, social or religious. A community newspaper may be published once a week or daily. Some community newspapers exist only in cyberspace. Any newspaper that defines itself as committed to serving a particular community many be defined as a ‘community newspaper.’ ”
Clearly then, The Ukrainian Weekly, as well as its sister publication, Svoboda (founded back in 1893), are community newspapers. In that role, we publish news both about and for our community. Thus, you read news about what our local “hromady” (communities) are doing, as well as news from Ukraine – including reports by our Kyiv-based correspondent – that you are not be able to get anywhere else. The keystone of our community reporting is the involvement of local activists who share information from their areas and thus are our partners in community journalism. We are ever grateful to them!
In more than 4,300 issues published to date, The Ukrainian Weekly has rallied our community behind national causes, such as independence for Ukraine, the defense of human rights activists, the erection of the Taras Shevchenko monument in Washington, the creation of Ukrainian studies chairs at Harvard, the establishment of the U.S. Commission on the Ukraine Famine, international recognition of the Holodomor as genocide and the construction of the Holodomor Memorial in Washington. What’s more, since January 1991 – even before Ukraine re-established its independence – The Weekly’s Ukrainian American journalists based in Kyiv have reported the news especially for our readers. It’s a track record we’re immensely proud of, and a record we hope to build on.
As The Weekly turns 84, we thank our loyal subscribers – generations of them – for supporting our work and appreciating the import of a community newspaper. With the continuing support of our dear readers and the patronage of our publisher, the Ukrainian National Association, our community newspaper will continue to be there for you.