The end of an era for Sagħtar

The end of an era for Sagħtar

This month sees the end of an era for the popular children’s magazine Sagħtar, after its publishers decided to stop printing because of spiralling printing and running costs.

The Malta Union of Teachers, which took charge of Sagħtar in January 1976, is now in the process of evaluating the magazine’s future and its format.

A spokesman for the union said it was aware of its responsibilities, as the magazine had become a popular teaching tool, but it was proving increasingly unfeasible to produce, making it a financial burden.

Published monthly during the scholastic year between October and May, its content ranged from information regarding current local and international topics, to Maltese literature segments and other entertaining information and snippets. The magazine also had short jokes and pull-out posters.

Many schools used Sagħtar as part of Maltese language lessons, and it was often what encouraged students to read in Maltese, especially before the production of more books in Maltese and the introduction of the internet.

“Aware of the responsibilities that producing a publication like Sagħtar entails, the MUT decided to stop the current printed version of Sagħtar until a decision is taken on its future.

“An online questionnaire has been issued and a decision will be taken once feedback is received and analysed,” the spokesman said.

Sagħtar was the brainchild of the Moviment Qawmien Letterarju, which began producing the magazine in 1971, until it handed it over to the MUT five years later. It was produced and printed for 44 years.

Many remember the magazine as a perennial favourite with local students in all State, Church and independent schools.

Sagħtar also published special issues, such as one to coincide with Pope John Paul II’s first visit to Malta in 1990. This special edition had a circulation of 30,000 copies.

Sagħtar normally had a circulation of 6,000 copies a month, for which students paid €1. The last three editions were sold at €1.50 but even this was not enough to make it viable.

“It is simply not feasible to produce any longer. The printing costs and other overheads are up, while revenue through adverts are down,” the spokesman said.

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