NEO magazine has been among the leading Greek-American publications for more than 16 years. Published monthly, it features prominent Greek Americans and highlights the movers and shakers among the Hellenes. It also acts as an informative bridge between Greece, Cyprus and the Diaspora.
Demetrios Rhompotis has been the co-founder, along with two-other Greek-American journalists, Dimitri Michalakis and Kyprianos Bazenikas. He describes the trio as “A band of media misfits like Metálica!”
His official title nowadays is “Secretary General of the Central Committee of NEO magazine.” Asked by Greek Reporter what does his job entails, he says: “There is nothing glorious about it as I have to help with everything, including distribution! I manage to write some pieces here and there and I hope that one day someone will come to take the magazine over so that I can do more writing, which is my thing.
“I do manage part of the content but our Editor-in-Chief is Dimitri Michalakis, a very experienced writer — and not only in the Greek American community.”
NEO is among the few remaining magazines focusing on the Greek-American community.
“As far as I know ‘Estiator,’ an older monthly, is still publishing, and there must be some quarterlies here and there. But that’s about it, unfortunately. The community is big and diverse enough to sustain more publications. The more, the better for everybody involved,” Rhompotis says.
The unique project that was NEO has defied all kinds of challenges, including competition from the electronic press and social media.
“I still believe there is ample space for print media; it’s a question of aesthetics, of class, if I can say so. I read the Greek Reporter online, but when it comes to Vanity Fair I need to touch and smell the actual thing.
“Sure, print can’t compete when it comes to breaking news, but it can give a different perspective after, more analytical, more profound. I believe internet will keep developing and taking more space when it comes to media, but print too will have a respectable future if they manage to make the necessary adjustments in order not to compete but to complement,” opines Rhompotis.
NEO magazine informs, spreads Greek culture
NEO continues to surmount challenges and is still going strong. It continues to inform the American-Hellenic community while it contributes to the spreading of Greek culture all over the US. At the same time, it offers second and third-generation Greek Americans the opportunity to reconnect with their heritage.
Its readership is mostly 40 and over, Rhompotis says. “They are successful professionals on the American main stream who want to also keep an eye on the community and what happens in Greece and Cyprus. Through subscriptions, we reach 48 states. We have distribution points in New York, Chicago, Florida, Texas, San Francisco and parts of Connecticut.”
The magazine profiles Greek American personalities each month. “What they’ve done in their lives, what politics they espouse, what business they practice, what books they read, what films they watch, what clothes they wear, where they travel, who’s been promoted, who’s been honored, who shuns the limelight but gets things done, who embraces it and never grows old,” as the online edition of the magazine notes.
“Our communities are blessed with numerous real giants who lead in so many ways and fields in our society. Our Greek America is like a garden, full of flowers, each one with its own beauty and aroma,” Rhompotis says.
Greek Americans do care about developments in Greece and Cyprus, he says, but cautions against viewing the community as a monolithic group.
“Our community is multifaceted, you can’t expect the same degree of ‘Greekness’ from a 1st generation Greek American and from a third generation with only one of the parents being Greek American. That is also a mistake that Greece makes when dealing with our communities. They tend to see a tree they imagine, and ignore the forest.”
Fundraising campaign for the Greek American magazine
NEO, which also has an online edition, neomagazine.com, has recently started a fund-raising campaign to secure its financial future.
“These fundraisers on Facebook are new to us. We did it first time last year, starting in June, and it went very well. With the mailed checks we surpassed our goal of $25,000. This year we are hoping to do the same or come close,” Rhompotis tells Greek Reporter.
“The need for this direct campaign of financial support is something that came with Covid-19 as many businesses closed or face difficulties and they can’t come up with payments for their ads. For the first time in our 16 years of continuous publication we have outstanding invoices from January 2020!” he adds.
While he acknowledges that this is understandable given the catastrophe caused by the pandemic to many businesses, when it comes to the Greek American magazine bills, there is not the same leniency.
“Printing has to be paid, our producing team and all the other expenses involved. To understand the mountain we are facing, each issue runs at a production cost of $14,000 to $17,000. Last year, thanks to the fundraiser, we managed to fill the gaps,” he says.
“This year we need some help once more. And although things are slower when it comes to donations, I expect our friends to show up again and do the right thing. I think NEO deserves that because it has given so much the community asking for so little,” Rhompotis tells Greek Reporter.