Dear readers of La Voce di New York,
Today, Italy celebrates April 25th, which is the Liberation Day from Nazi and Fascist dictatorship. I believe it’s even more important now than in the last few years to celebrate this day and charge it with its original values. These are times in which people, even good ones, are scared by the social and economic injustices of uncontainable technological progress. They think that they can take a shortcut to solve their problems, hoping for a man with a plan (“uomo della provvidenza”), the only one in charge, who can solve them without caring about the social rights of those who would suffer the consequences of undemocratic solutions. We are living in a dangerous era, because the injustices of the past that are blurred in our memory don’t outrage us anymore.
It’s therefore important to remember the words of the President of the Republic of our beloved Italy, Sergio Mattarella, who today, April 25th, said that Italians can’t forget those “tragic events full of value, without which we would not have a free and democratic Italy, without which we would not have known such a long and prosperous season of civic progress, rights and peace.”
We, Italians in America, must have a special respect towards this celebration of Freedom that reminds us of the courage and sacrifices of many young Americans and Canadians who fought and died to give this freedom back to Italians and Europeans.
As the dear readers of La Voce know – and now you are 150 thousand and in 156 countries! – April 25th is also the birthday of our newspaper. And, as usual, we are proud to be able to celebrate it on the day of valiant warriors of freedom. This year as well, we have the privilege of being hosted in the house of the “Partisans” of the beautiful Italian culture in New York, New York University’s Casa Zerilli-Marimò, which is the house of all Italians and Italy lovers in America. Creating a home was the vision of its founder, the Baroness Mariuccia Zerilli Marimò, and its magnificent director, Professor Stefano Albertini, preserves that home.
Last year, we parted after the La Voce’s relaunching. For an entire year, we have been focusing on the product and the quality of our newspaper; we have more authors and more columns, and we followed to the best of our abilities the important event of the November elections in the USA, the elections for the White House, whose result shook and will keep on shaking the world.
Now, after a difficult year of commitment towards the development of our newspaper, we are ready to take a leap, grow and face the market.
Yes, the market, because even information should be a part of the market. And obviously, it should be regulated by ethical rules, unchallengeable values of democratic journalism, independence and respect for the plurality of ideas the readers all over the world have.
After four years, today we celebrate the Freedom of being proud of being an authoritative reference point for all Italians abroad and in Italy, and we feel like we have the moral obligation to reinforce and raise our Voice.
But how can we grow?
In yesterday’s world, being authoritative was enough to win the market battle. If you knew how to do your job, well, hundreds of thousands of readers would go to the newsstand and buy your newspaper. Today, as we know, it doesn’t work like that anymore. Information is a commodity, easy available. You don’t have to pay to have it.
And advertisement, on the other hand, follows logic that is dictated by the big players, who clearly favor big numbers, lowering in this way the quality of the paper. However, quality has value and numbers can grow as a result of quality.
As director of La Voce di New York, I am honored by the beautiful and sincere words of recognition that the Italian institutions expressed towards us and our newspaper. For us it’s additional confirmation of the success of our work. And our readers grow every day.
There are 250 million “italici” in the world, those that, as Piero Bassetti would say, are Italian, or of Italian origin, but also Italy lovers around the world, who are waiting to be connected to each other through credible, current and lively information. And, of course, free. We repeat it today, in respect of those democratic values that we celebrate on April 25th.
But there is a great discrepancy between the value of information understood as freedom and free information that you don’t have to pay for. Information holds an ideological value, but by not paying for it, it loses its economic value. And, as we were saying in the video, “sinza i piccioli un sinni canta missa.”
Let me explain this Sicilian, actually, Southern Italian expression. My parents would always speak Italian to me and my sister while growing up, but when they wanted to convey an important value, they would both suddenly switch to Sicilian. And I remember the day they both told me this “piccioli” – money – story, without which the priest does not deliver mass.
Superficially, it sounds like an expression that goes against the church: look at those priests who won’t let you get closer to God unless you give money. However, it’s quite the opposite. It explains an absolute value, like that of prayers and close-proximity to God, everything needs economic help to sustain itself in order to be accessible to all. The more important this value is, the more important the participation of everyone who benefits from it. Obviously according to one’s own means.
We, the people of La Voce di New York, know very well the democratic and constitutional value of information. Our idea, four years ago, was founded exactly on this: creating a newspaper in Italian as well as for Italians and protected by the First Amendment of the American Constitution. Of course, we never thought that today this constitutional function and this democratic value would need to be defended even more here than in Italy, in the same America that embedded it into its constitution.
For this reason, we decided to invoke our readers directly, and we decided to put ourselves out front to understand from our readers how much we are worth.
The platform is called kickstarter, and it is where we will be able to study what we still want to do. It is where you can “kick us” to give us a start and make us stronger, everyone according to their own means, but, above all, if they believe that what La Voce does and how it does it are a value that needs to be defended and sustained.
We have the moral obligation to grow. As Maestro Mario Fratti – who will be turning 90 this year! – said in English in the video, La Voce is a means to communicate beauty and connection between the two cultures. “We have to take, we have to give. A very useful media.”
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Translated by Giulia Casati.