On the Decision to Now Stop Producing Our Meie Kodu Newspaper

Peeter Muttik 24. jaan. 2019

Dear Subscribers and friends of Meie Kodu,
The end of an era has arrived!

The first issue of Meie Kodu was issued on 19 August 1949 and carried local Australian news to help recently arrived Estonians with a limited command of English as well as news of the Estonian communities across Australia and had an aim to unite them. It was bilingual due to government requirements. Over time it focused more on Estonian communities and after re-independence much more information became available regarding thoughts and event back in Estonia. These days with the advent of social media and the internet some readers question the need for such content in Meie Kodu. These new media carry news and photos of local events and Meie Kodu is increasingly finding it difficult to get articles and has resorted to using a reporter for some events.

Initially, the work of producing the newspaper was done by the voluntary labour of a large pool of people. Over the years the number of workers has reduced and honorariums to recompense costs were introduced, culminating in the appointment of a formal salaried editor-in-chief, albeit on a very modest salary. Over the same time, the costs of producing the newspaper have risen (printing, postage,...) and an electronic version was introduced to try to counter this. In 2012 the newspaper changed from a weekly to bi-weekly to help contain costs. Despite generous support from the Estonian Relief Committee (EAK) and the Council of Estonian Societies (AESL), Meie Kodu has had to use up it's small reserves in term deposits and has reached a position where to continue trading would leave it insolvent. For historical reasons, Meie Kodu is owned by the Estonian Society of Sydney, Inc. (SES) which is not able to provide additional support due to its difficult financial situation with the need to maintain the Estonian Hall.

The impending problem with Meie Kodu was raised at the annual general meeting of SES in 2017 and 2018, and requests for proposals to re-vitalise the editorial staff and direction were published in issues in mid 2018 with no responses being received. Accordingly the Board of SES agreed to the proposal to cease publication in early 2019, with an issue in January to showcase the 2018 Eesti Päevad.

On behalf of the Board of SES and all at Meie Kodu we would like to thank all the faithful subscribers and donors over the long history of the paper.

Dr. Peeter Muttik

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