The Lights of Homeland (Tėviškės žiburiai)
A letter from long-time reader from Wasaga Beach, Ontario, Vida Bumbulyte-White perfectly encapsulates the current situation faced by the publishers of the only remaining Lithuanian newspaper in Canada. Familiarly called TZ [tee-zed] by the children of post-WWII immigrants to Canada, it has announced that it will discontinue publication as of July 1, 2020, taking its news and information for and about Lithuanian Canadians to the renewed, bilingual website tevzib.com.
After we printed announced the changes the Board of Publishers was destined to make due to financial constraints and diminishing readership, the editorial office has received other letters asking for more details, which are presented by our editor Sigina Katkauskaite, webmaster Akvile Minkeviciene and English-language editor Ramune Jonaitis.
Editor Sigina Katkauskaite: The first TŽ website was created over 10 years ago by Vida Tumosiene, layout designer at that time. As this format was very new for us, the website was not properly promoted. About four years ago, a new website was created by Andrea Benotas to provide an additional news source for TŽ readers. At the end of June of this year, after closing publication of the printed newspaper, the website tevzib.com will be the sole source of information for and about the Lithuanian community in Canada. It is currently being renewed and improved for ease of access to various topics. On the website we will feature items of interest to the Lithuanian community, without regular columns about current events in Lithuania and Canada, which can easily be found on other news websites.
Articles. As was done in the printed newspaper, the website will reflect issues and activities in the Lithuanian community in general and in individual branches, Lithuanian schools, youth, and sports clubs, as well as news from various communities world-wide, especially USA and South America. Latest news from Lithuania will also be featured. We will be very pleased to include photos, comments and letters from readers.
Parish News. Parish news bulletins, obituaries, death notices and other announcements will be an important feature of the website, changing on a weekly basis.
Advertising. A section of tevzib.com will be dedicated to announcements regarding donations, meetings and other organization news, employment requests and offers, as we had in the newspaper. Ads are welcomed and very important to generate funding for the continuation of the website. There is already a section showing ad sizes and prices. One-time ads (text only, no design features), such as donation lists, deaths, greetings, etc., will be invoiced on a per-word basis. Over the next two months, we urge all our advertisers to ensure the continuity of your information for potential clients. Review your advertising options and inform us as soon as possible about your decisions on transitioning your ads from print to web.
Event Calendar. The event calendar is a very important advertising tool. In it we include important community events, mostly those occurring in Toronto. However we sincerely hope that other communities will also send us news about their upcoming events. Updating the event calendar is everyone’s responsibility. We count on you to help keep it current. Send your event information by email to [email protected] tevzib.com.
Other Links. Please send organization addresses, websites and telephone numbers to us by email at [email protected] tevzib.com. This is an important directory, an essential means of promoting your organization, your activities and your profile.
Webmaster Akvile Minkeviciene: We have updated and adapted tevzib.com to accommodate readers who access news through their cell phones and other electronic devices.
News from TZ have been available through Facebook for several years. We have attracted over 500 followers, giving them the latest information regarding Lithuanian communities, organizations and events as well as announcements from Lithuania. Most tevzib.com news are mentioned on our Facebook page, bringing new visitors to our site.
A new feature is the TZ email newsletter, which tells you what‘s new on our website, with direct links to the site. We invite you to subscribe to it here www.tevzib.com/lt/naujienlaiskis, or by sending an email to [email protected] with the subject line Naujienlaiškis/Newsletter.
For the time being you may read tevzib.com for free. However once the printed newspaper is no longer published, we will no longer be receiving support from our regular subscribers, whose subscriptions have been so helpful. Financing the continuation of the website, which will still require funds for hosting, technical, editorial and administrative expenses, will become a concern. The question of charging readers to access news on the website has been a point of intense discussion among staff and the board of directors. The solution will depend on the number of readers, advertisers and sponsors the website might attract. In the meantime, we offer it to you free of charge, but we ask you to remember that even small donations are welcome and essential for maintaining this one and only source of Lithuanian-Canadian news. Together, we can keep it going! Donate online using the DONATE button on any page. You will be listed in the Thanks to Sponsors section of the website.
English-language Editor Ramune Jonaitis. Our new website is our window to the future of our community. It is certainly sad to let go of an institution that has been part of our lives for over 70 years. But it is a fact that TŽ has meant the most to our older generation, and the passage of time brings change. Although many dedicated efforts were and are still being made to ensure that our youth respects, learns and cherishes the Lithuanian language, historically every diaspora experiences a decline in fluency. Now, rather than an old-school sheet of newsprint, a bilingual website can provide quick news, and with five minutes on the Lithuanian side – be an instant language lesson for any of us who are a bit rusty.
The influence of our technological era is undeniable, to the point that today, a printed newspaper is only relevant to youth as a curiosity. For this reason as well, flashes and bites of news on the internet must be completely accessible to what we refer to as the younger generation, and for that we need to use the predominant language of their environment to spark and maintain their interest in our heritage.
It is our hope that we may become the go-to website for all and any information about Lithuanians in Canada, and we can only do this if our readers join us in our efforts, by visiting www.tevzib.com weekly, sending however small a donation, and emailing us your comments, links and news at [email protected]. Join us – let’s keep it alive!