End of The Maltese Herald shows the lifespan of multicultural press

Yesterday I heard the news that The Maltese Herald, which has been the newspaper for the Maltese community for over 50 years, is printing its last publication.

While my initial reaction was of sadness that this newspaper will no longer be around, after further reflection I have come to the conclusion that the end of The Maltese Herald is potentially a good sign and a positive milestone for the Maltese community in Australia.

Unlike many other ‘mainstream’ newspapers that are cutting staff and closing their doors, The Maltese Herald is closing not because it is solely a print medium, but because it has potentially served its purpose in the community.

The newspaper was born out of the European migration into Australian throughout the 50s and 60s. Large numbers of Maltese people (including my parents) immigrated here during that period, mostly settling in Melbourne and Sydney. When The Maltese Herald printed its first publication in 1961 it was due to the intense need for the Maltese community to connect with each other, highlight community issues and remain in touch with news from back home.

Over the past 50 years the newspaper has highlighted community issues that are specific to the Maltese, relations between Australia and Malta, and followed the lives of the Maltese community as they became established in their new community.

Fifty years later, however, statistics are showing that the use of the Maltese language in the Australian community is in decline. Those still deeply connected with Malta use dedicated news programs on SBS or Maltese news sites to get their news back home, while for many who are Maltese-born or Australian with Maltese heritage, Australian news is now their news from home.
The community concerns or issues that they raise are the same as their neighbours from other backgrounds.

Ending the need to cater for the Maltese community as a separate entity is being seen in other parts of communication. You don’t find many translations of government materials into Maltese, as the majority of the Maltese speaking population either read English or have close relatives that do.

As the Maltese newspaper closes, however, many others are starting up. The past two years have seen a number of multicultural newspapers start to meet the needs of newer communities such as Somali, Thai and Korean.

The birth and retirement of multicultural newspapers is an interesting one to watch, as it gives a good indication of the levels of integration within the Australian community. It can also give you a strong insight into how these communities need to be communicated to.

Goodbye to The Maltese Herald and well done.

Want your employees to do things differently at work? Try the chocolate cake…..

Today while showing Yammer to a client and talking to them about the benefits of using closed social networks instead of allstaff emails, I was asked the question of how to engage staff in using new technologies in the office.

The answer to this was simple- use the office cake to entice employees into doing things a little bit differently, then turn it into the norm.

In 2013 we live in the social age, and interacting with our colleagues, our peers, our friends and our family has become one of the primary motivators in our daily lives. Keeping abreast of our social lives and making sure that we are not ‘missing out’ is key to our social behaviour, and it has driven the rise of social media platforms.

So lets get back to our chocolate cake example.

When I asked my client about some of the communications they send out that everyone always reads, the office manager tells me that they know everyone reads the email saying there’s cake in the kitchen, because everyone is in there soon after. So use this to your advantage.

Move these emails to Yammer along with all of the other information that you want to be housed there. Granted, not everyone will read them right from the start, and a number of people with resist the move- you have to expect that.

Pretty soon, however, someone will be walking back to their desk with a piece of yummy chocolate cake and someone will say “i didn’t know there was cake in the kitchen?” and the response will be “it was on Yammer”. And that’s where it starts. That’s when your employees will start to realise that by ignoring the new channel they are missing out on important information, not just being told about chocolate cake, but information that is essential to being part of the community at work.

So what is your version of the chocolate cake at work?