We at The Ukrainian Weekly started off 2014 with an explanation of our new prices that went into effect on February 1. The announcement had been made a couple of weeks earlier, at the conclusion of our “2013: The Year in Review.” Our publisher, the Ukrainian National Association, made the decision to set the prices for yearly subscriptions at $80 for UNA members and $90 for non-members. It was a steep increase from the previous $55/$65 prices for members/non-members, but it does not cover the cost of producing and getting our newspapers to you.
Our editorial of February 16 explained:
“…last year, when it was made known that the UNA was considering switching to an all-digital format for The Ukrainian Weekly (a similar format was not being talked about for Svoboda), it was calculated that the cost to print and mail our newspaper to your home or office was about $110. At the same time, readers were told that, if the print edition were to be continued, it was probable the UNA would have to raise the price for a print subscription to $100 for UNA members and $125 for non-members.
“Some of our readers accepted the possibility of a digital-only Weekly, some did not respond to the questionnaire that was sent out, while others protested – some quite vehemently. Some readers said they would pay whatever price was needed in order to continue getting a print subscription, while others commented that the price would be too high.
“Well, the good news is that the print edition of The Weekly is being continued. However, in view of rising costs – including postage, because the U.S. Postal Service increased its rates for all classes of mail on January 27 – the cost of print subscriptions to both weekly newspapers published by the UNA had to be raised. Thankfully, the price is lower than originally anticipated.”
The other bit of good news we reported at that time was that online subscriptions are a real bargain at $40 per year, and, for those who subscribe to the print edition, an online subscription is only $5 more. Thus, UNA members can get both print and online subscriptions for $85, while the price for non-members is $90. A huge plus for online subscribers is that they get their newspapers as soon as they are posted and don’t have to wait for the mail.
Among noteworthy articles we published during the year – in addition to Zenon Zawada’s exceptional reporting from Kyiv about all aspects of the Euro-Maidan/Revolution of Dignity and more – were Oleh Wolowyna’s examination of the population dynamics of Ukrainians in metro New York-New Jersey (June 15); Paul Goble’s analysis of “Lies, damned lies and Russian disinformation” (August 31); two commentaries by Gordon Humphrey, a former U.S. senator, “Weapons for Ukraine, now” (October 26) and “How you can help save Ukraine” (November 2); and Adrian Bryttan’s News and Views feature titled “When ‘high culture’ merges with terrorism” (December 14). At the beginning of the year (February 9), we published a centerfold of stunning photos by Dianna Derhak that spotlighted “The People of the Maidan.” If you missed any of these, be sure to check them out in our online archives at www.ukrweekly.com.
Of course, there were the usual special issues: the annual Year in Review (published in four sections from January 12 through February 2); the round-up of Ukrainian debutante balls (April 6); the 18th annual edition of “A Ukrainian Summer” (May 4); and the special Ukrainian Independence Day issue (August 24).
Also worth noting is the fact that during 2014 there were countless stories about our community’s aid to the Maidan. Among the projects covered were: yoga for Ukraine, helmet auctions, concerts, festivals, dinners, cabarets, collections of items needed on the maidan – you name it.
And there were a great number of editorials in our newspaper regarding developments in Ukraine, even as events often moved more quickly than we could cover them. And that, folks, is where our Facebook page, initiated in July of 2012, came in. The page kept our friends in touch and in the know. The number of “likes” for our Facebook page continued to grow as more and more people realized that this is where they can find posts on the latest news from our dear Ukraine, as well as other items of interest to Ukrainians wherever they might be. We ended the year with close to 2,900 likes and since then the number has grown some more. (We hasten to add that the Facebook page is not a substitute for our newspaper, but only an enhancement. Our exclusive editorial content continues to be found solely on the pages of The Weekly.)
The utility of Facebook was evident toward the end of 2014 as the big push came to get both houses of the U.S. Congress to pass the Ukraine Freedom Support Act. Our December 21 editorial began with these words: “ ‘FOUR unprecedented Ukrainian Days, millions of calls, posts, tweets, e-mails, sheer determination and a UNITED UKRAINIAN COMMUNITY can MOVE mountains! Slava Ukraini!!’ That’s how the Facebook page of the Ukrainian Congress Committee of America characterized the flurry of activity that led to the passage by both houses of the U.S. Congress of the Ukraine Freedom Support Act of 2014 in its ultimate version as HR 5859.” And then to the signing of the bill into law by President Barack Obama, we must add.
We noted that thanks were due to “the countless constituents who called, e-mailed, tweeted and wrote to their senators and representatives, and to the White House.” The power of social media was particularly evident in this campaign, as folks shared e-mails, posts on Facebook and Twitter messages. And they not only “liked” posts on Facebook, but also acted on them. Thanks to social media, the reaction of our community was lightning fast and the reach of messages urging action was huge. We cited the example of just one post about the Ukraine Freedom Support Act of 2014 on The Weekly’s Facebook page: it reached 3,292 people and was shared 89 times. And there were many other similar posts urging action.
Donations to The Ukrainian Weekly Press Fund continued to be robust during 2014. In fact, they totaled $39,445. A large portion of that – $12,500 – came at the end of the year in a single donation from one of our strongest supporters: Self Reliance (New York) Federal Credit Union. (A like amount was donated by Self Reliance to our sister publication, Svoboda.)
In related news, our editorial of June 15 reported on the establishment of an endowment fund to support the Ukrainian National Association’s two newspapers. You see, back in 2010, at the UNA’s 37th Regular Convention, delegates had voted to adopt a convention resolution in support of the UNA’s beloved newspapers. As presented by the Resolutions Committee at the convention, the measure read: “Whereas, the official publications of the Ukrainian National Association – Svoboda and The Ukrainian Weekly – represent a crucial public image for the Ukrainian National Association and are indispensable for the organization in the Ukrainian community at large, be it resolved that a UNA Publication Endowment Fund be created to ensure the future of the UNA’s official publications – Svoboda and The Ukrainian Weekly – via a permanent reserve fund.”
Just prior to the 38th Regular Convention held in May 2014, the UNA did just that by donating $10,000 of seed money to an account set up for the endowment. Loyal readers and supporters of our newspapers now have an opportunity to secure their future by donating to the Publication Endowment Fund via the UNA’s charitable arm, the Ukrainian National Foundation. The interest earned from the endowment’s account will be used to support Svoboda (founded 1893) and The Weekly (founded 1933), whose combined years of devoted service to our community now exceed 200. We advised readers that to contribute to the endowment, donors should make checks payable to the Ukrainian National Foundation with the notation in the memo line: Publication Endowment Fund. Our editorial emphasized: “With the establishment of the Publication Endowment Fund, the UNA has taken a step toward ensuring the continuing good work and service to the community at large of its two most important fraternal benefits. Thank you!”
To conclude this last section of “2014: The Year in Review,” we must say: Thank you, Dear Readers, for your years of support for The Ukrainian Weekly. We trust that you will remain our loyal readers. We also hope that you will continue to be our correspondents by sending in stories, photos and other information from your communities. Let’s all keep in touch during 2015!