Cyprus Mail Founder Iacovos Iacovides (left) with then editor Victor Bodker in the 1950s

Cyprus Mail celebrates 75 years with special book

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The Cyprus Mail, the island’s oldest newspaper still in publication, is celebrating its 75th anniversary this month and will be marking the event by putting out a special book on Sunday.

Iacovos ‘Jaco’ Iacovides, founder of ‘the Mail’ published uninterruptedly every Tuesday to Saturday with a bigger Sunday edition (the Sunday Mail), printed the first issue on November 2, 1945.

The war had just ended and in a time of paper rationing, power cuts and an increasingly repressive British colonial government, Iacovides took a big financial gamble as the two-page tabloid sold for one piaster.

It was a gamble that paid off.

Through the pages of the Cyprus Mail, readers were kept informed of the profound impact of the post-war years on Cyprus.

Events ranged from the detention in Cyprus of thousands of Jewish refugees trying to break the British blockade and reach Palestine in the late 1940s, to the rise of EOKA and its demand for Enosis in the 1950s.

From the flawed independence of 1960 to the intercommunal troubles of the 1960s, and from the coup and Turkish invasion of 1974 to the tortuous attempts to stitch the country back together ever since, the Cyprus Mail stayed true to its readers and provided objective news coverage.

Few professions have changed more in the last 75 years than in the newspaper industry.

When Iacovides published his first issue in 1945, his concern was about lines of lead print, paper availability and buying a printing press that could produce a whopping six-page newspaper.

Even when he died, more than 40 years later in 1988, those concerns had not changed significantly.

Once his two sons, Kyriacos and Michalis took over, the paper had to enter a whole new publishing world, first with computerisation and then the internet.

The paper’s print edition is still a source of pride but, like all newspapers, a major focus is on the website and meeting the needs of readers worldwide who expect constantly updated news.

With Limassol lawyer Andreas Neocleous taking over the Cyprus Mail in 2019, both the print issue and website have been revitalised, with its international online readership reaching over 15 mln this month.

To mark the milestone birthday – covering post-World War II to the coronavirus pandemic – the Cyprus Mail has produced a 160-page, hard-backed book which will be available with the Sunday Mail on November 29 for €2.90.