Home of Echoworld Communications

To Echo Germanica Homepage
April, 2004 - Nr. 4

Click to view the Front Page


The Editor
Easter Greetings
Der Osterfiskus
Toronto Connection
Zurich Connection
Vienna Connection
Dear Mom
Ball Austria 2004
K-W & Beyond
Spende an Schule
Music Schools...
Herwig Wandschneider
Waterloo Airport
Children's Writer
Wine & Cheese
Dick reports...
Sybille reports
Ham Se det jehört?
Health Newsletter
Germany's Magic Cities
German Expressionists to US
European Animators
Wagner in Coming
German in Kindergarten
Wines of 2003
The Soccer Globe
German Pilots in USA
Contempt against Vandalism
Börse zum Anfassen

GS Hospitality Connections

Letter from the Editor

Sybille Forster-Rentmeister  

Dear Reader

Spring has sprung, somewhat tentatively, but with great promise. Easter is just around the corner. As always we much enjoyed creating the front page. You might appreciate that it takes a fair amount of effort, skill and time to create this bit of whimsy. The daffodils were photographed at the same time we shot the material for last month’s issue in Allen Gardens. The foreground was created separately in my dining room. Through the magic of digital and computer technologies, skilfully and patiently applied by the best of all husbands, graphic artist and webmaster Rolf Rentmeister, we came up with this easterly spring offering. Creating the front-page is one of our most time consuming, but also most pleasurable activities.

I really wish I could just address the subject of culture and customs, but there are some issues I feel I have to bring to your attention.

I am sure that you probably know that publishing a community paper is no small feat. It takes a lot of determination, effort, many different skills, and of course money, a good lot of it.

Predominantly we, the German Canadian media, all see ourselves, as do our readers, as ambassadors of the homeland and the culture we left behind, whether we publish in German, English, or in a combination of both languages, as Echo Germanica does. The content of our papers might be either local or from overseas. We choose to cover in this paper mostly local Canadian events, that capture the German culture in some way, complimenting this with overseas news. Luckily we have the right to celebrate our cultures guarantied in our Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms. Yet our best and sincerest efforts are not appreciated the way they should. And I am speaking of appreciation in the form of money. We have won 3 major professional honours for Echo Germanica and several other recognitions for celebrating German culture in Canada. Just as we are beginning the 15th year of publishing our award winning paper it has been squarely put to us again that we are not everywhere appreciated for being Germany’s best ambassadors.

Every few years the European Parliament is being elected. Germans living in foreign lands, who are eligible to vote, need to be alerted to this event, so they can make use of their rights. (Check with your nearest German Consulate to find out when and how) In the past the Federal Republic of Germany has placed and paid for announcements in our, and we believe, other papers. This year all of us were asked to consider doing it for free.

A phone call to the German Consulate established that the Ministry of Foreign Affairs had allowed for only one insertion in a major Canadian publication, such as the Toronto Star. This sounded so unrealistic as a viable venue for this type of announcement, that I queried other German media about their view and experiences on this.

In short order we all, except the Kanada Kurier, which was also invited to participate, decided to write a letter to the decision makers in Berlin as a group. The "Internationale Medien-Hilfe" in Germany also threw its weight behind this effort and has publicized our Canadian actions throughout their international membership. It was truly amazing how everyone pulled together. I was reminded of the fact that the old Germanic tribes only lost out to the Romans because they were not organized, and that in order to achieve something we need to work together as a group. Letters from other countries are now arriving in support of us. Other open letters have been written to German Government officials, such as Mrs. von Au’s (BC editor of the Deutsche Rundschau) letter to Chancellor Schroeder. (See it on our Internet sight www.echoworld.com or read in the Deutsche Rundschau’s current edition.)

Interesting enough, the response came quickly. A call from the local consulate, not too happy apparently about our actions, and a phone call from overseas. The Foreign Affairs Ministry in Berlin acknowledged our communication and informed us that the matter of "Foreign German Media" would be tabled for a Bundestag debate.

All this happened within the space of a week and proves that decisive group actions bring about strong reactions. What the results will be we can only speculate about.

Many times the German Canadian media has heard that the German Consulate and Embassy is not here to represent us, the in Canada living Germans and German expatriates, but to enlighten and serve the Canadians in the best interest of Germany. (Do we need to point out that a lot of us are Canadian?) Yet when it comes to doing that job all of us, as members of that group in Canada, are being asked to participate, as for instance in the German Festivals of the last couple of years. We are asked to give money and support in various other capacities. The media is expected to use their own resources to support these things. Large amounts of local money are raised to pull off the noble feat of making Germany and German Canadian businesses look good.

Just imagine what would happen if the German Canadians would stay away from such events?

Do we mind? Not generally, but when we are asked to do everything without any form of remuneration, any form of acknowledgement, especially when something had been paid for in the past, then we do object and feel somewhat neglected, especially since the local big fish have used for decades the explanation that they will not support local ethnic media for a variety of reasons. One of those reasons was that we are not operating in unison and are always fighting among ourselves and are not professional in our attitudes.

This has changed I would like to point out. Point in fact: our collective pro-active approach to this latest situation.

The other reason is that we are not mainstream enough. How mainstream does one have to be to be mainstream?

Echo Germanica for instance publishes mainly in English, has an international and local multicultural following and has been acknowledged by various governments in Canada and the USA for its valuable contributions. On the net we are being read by an international cast of readers, tens of thousands of hits every day.

Each one of the German language media outlets in Canada does invaluable work to make Germany popular here and/or abroad. Yet we are frequently neglected and perhaps one can even say treated poorly by those governments and countries that we help with our labour. This is by no means a German problem; it just became obviously to the forefront in this particular instance. We are fully willing to help as publications within the ethics codes and necessary values indigenous to our profession.

The portrayal of German language cultures towards an interested readership is our work and we do it with as much care as we can. Recognition for this work is practically nonexistent. Instead we are expected to hand out favours in a financial climate that keeps us barely alive.

Just think what an ad of fair size costs in the Star. Truly, that could be divided between those papers that would be a logical choice for being read and searched for about just such information.

Well folks, it is in the end a political matter and needs to be addressed as one. That is why we did write the letter to Berlin. Which leads me to report to you also the fact that there are meetings in the make with the Canadian government to ensure that the ethnic press is not overlooked in the future. After the sponsorship scandal is cleaned up we hope to get more equal time here too.

Having gotten this off my chest I now feel good about wishing you a good beginning to this wonderful season. May the festivities serve to renew our friendships, our health, our dreams and aspirations and our faith in this life or any other!

Happy Easter

Sybille Forster-Rentmeister


Comments to: editor@echoworld.com

To Top of Page

Send mail to webmaster@echoworld.com  with questions or comments about this web site.
For information about Echoworld Communications and its services send mail to info@echoworld.com .

Copyright ©2010 Echoworld Communications