Dziennik Chicagoski -- March 09, 1892A Picture of the Polish Press in America (Editorial)
One of the oldest Polish periodicals in the United States is the Gazeta Katolicka (Catholic Gazette). This magazine has undergone many changes since its inception, but it has always been the symbol of Catholicism, and has contributed a great deal toward strengthening the faith among the immigrants.
The publication originated in St. Stanislaus Kostka Parish. It was organized by the Resurrection Fathers, who for many years managed the publication. Some time ago, Mr. W. Smulski was appointed editor, and at the present time still holds that office. Mr. Smulski has made many contributions toward keeping the Polish people together. For several years his weekly has printed many good articles.
If the Gazeta Katolicka had a better literary staff, it would undoubtedly be 2one of the most outstanding Polish papers in America. Unfortunately, this literary power is lacking. From time to time, articles that have been sent in by the readers appear, but this is not enough to elevate the standing of the paper. Translations from other sources and copies of articles from the Polish journals abroad lose their power of conviction and interest. Reprinted stories always lack the punch of original material.
It is realized that magius voluisse, sat est is a true saying. No one can deny the sincerity of Mr. Smulski's efforts. He has rendered an outstanding service to the immigrants and to the Polish people as a whole. His efforts merit continued support and more recognition by the Polish people.
His Dzien Swiety (Holy Day), a Sunday supplement to the weekly Gazeta, is an interesting paper. The reading of this edition by the Polish people on Sunday and holy days brings many benefits to them and to the church. It offers the people a different type of reading material from that which appears 3in the daily papers. It contains a number of spiritual articles. The educational items tend to divert the mind of the reader into cultural channels. Again, through the medium of Dzien Swiety, W. Smulski offers the immigrant assistance in adjusting himself. Although some forces among the Polish people try to discredit his work, he remains a valuable servant.....
Ever since the history of man has been recorded, we note that reform has been one of the problems of the people. Reforms have continually been taking place. Reformers have become a power in the scheme of mankind. They have been of two classes, the good and the bad. The former have expounded and introduced better and more practical ideas than the most sublime theories of the latter, but this class has been small.
In Cracow, for example, in the development of reform, a paper entitled Reforma (Reform) made its appearance, with the intention of leading a revolution in the trend of thought. The publisher and chief editor of this newspaper was 4some kind of a hydropathic doctor, who specialized in giving cold bath treatments. He had some success in this direction, and soon enlarged his practice considerably. This doctor, at the same time, tried to gain clients through his editorials. He also tried to cure the mentally deficient by his cold water treatments. The venture proved a failure. The treatments made the patients worse, many times resulting in death. The mental cases of the city of Cracow and adjoining towns continued to increase.
But this did not seem to slow up the reformers. New medical treatment was discovered for galloping consumption. A new system for the care of mental cases was also initiated. Under the leadership of several political groups, a new bloc was organized. It's paper was called the Nowa Reforma, (New Reform) a journal which until this day has tried to reform the people, but with little success. The purpose of the Nowa Reforma is to reform a conservative Catholic group in Galicia, break the power of Lemberg, and chase the Muscovites beyond the Balkans. It is hoped that they will succeed 5in their reforms.
Dziennik Chicagoski, Mar. 10, 1892.
In the United States, we have had another type of reform paper. The first was under the editorship of a group that wanted to develop a new social order. But, as before, nothing was accomplished. This faction and its ideals soon died out. Out of its pyre, a second Reforma was born, a periodical under the management of Mr. Nagiel, former editor of a paper in Warsaw.
Although it has been said that the present Reforma under the direction of Mr. Nagiel has not reformed anyone, yet it is unlike most reform papers, for it shows specific changes within its own ranks. This is a step forward, a step that most reforms do not undertake, because it is difficult to fulfill.
This paper has undergone many changes. Its present platform is unlike the original one. The paper today has an American point of view. Its stand is 6considered one of the best. Mr. Nagiel's paper keeps within the bounds of decent journalism. If it is not purely a Catholic publication, it is far from being non-religious. It does not fall in the category of "Raeueber and Moerder Presse". The editor takes his own stand on certain important events and issues, a stand that is reserved and circumspect. Sensational and scandalous articles are never given any prominence, and seldom find place in print at all. No pessimistic ideas are ever presented to the reader. Other newspapers are never attacked. Antagonism is always avoided. The editorials are always light and to the point, never attacking anyone, or stirring up any trouble.
The oldest Polish periodical in America is the Polska Gazeta (Polish Gazette). It is owned by W. Dyniewicz, a bookseller in Chicago. This weekly paper will soon mark its twenty-fifth anniversary.
Mr. Dyniewicz is neither a literary figurehead nor a journalist, but he is a versatile, energetic, persevering, and practical individual, filled with 7American spirit and wit. During his early days, the immigrant was beginning to be a factor of importance. Realizing this, he prepared a publication to assist the ever-increasing Polish population. His aim was primarily to help the immigrant adjust himself to a new country and a new government. The name of the paper was fitting to its cause, Polska Gazeta.
His early plans materialized because he was forbearing. The initial issues only dealt with the news in America and Europe. This pioneering Polish paper won a number of staunch supporters. Mr. Dyniewicz did not do any of the writing, but hired others to perform the work. Now and then, he would give the germ of an idea for an article to a staff member who would build it up. At times, the paper faced failure, but the determination of the organizer has always managed to keep it in circulation. Most of its early readers were of peasant stock, though a few of them were city-bred immigrants. The new Poles that came into the city were mostly uneducated. But the paper continued to be issued, despite the appearance of cloudy skies. The publisher knew that in the end his ideals would succeed. The 8Polska Gazeta continued to awaken the people to new horizons and frontiers. It helped to promote patriotism and preserve the Polish tongue.
Our people, for the most part, are conservative. When one of them began reading the Polska Gazeta, he continued doing so for many years. Many times the children, after reaching maturity, have become subscribers. Most of the subscribers are from the ranks of farm folk and the rank and file of the city.
When Mr. Dyniewicz undertook the printing of this paper, he realized the importance and the responsibility associated with the work. The people are the bulwark of the nation. The people of the nation follow in the footsteps of their fathers, and adhere to the old customs and language. Because of this, a newspaper must follow in the same line. It must support Because of this, a newspaper must follow in the same line. It must support the traditional ideals, evaluate them continually, and protect them against any perversion; in this case, it must protect the Polish immigrant from the 9many American contagions.
Were the principles of Mr. Dyniewicz always carried out? Unfortunately, they were not. The fault does not rest upon him, but upon those whom he employed and trusted to carry out his aims. There were times when the Gazeta Polska, besides dealing with foreign news, dealt with offensive and tragic articles without any mercy. Immoral incidents in American life were treated with an unpleasant zest.
Conservative writings have always found the support of the periodical. Its pages have always welcomed helpful and valuable suggestions. New movements, if meritorious, have been given backing. Unpleasant articles have always been weeded out, and their authors reprimanded for their creations.
W. Dyniewicz has always tried to keep alive the Polish tradition in his paper, as well as in the books he has sold, both religious and national. He has served his cause without fault. The twenty-fifth anniversary of 10this paper on American soil will be an honorable and laudable occasion, not only for the publisher, but for Polish journalism as a whole. We have hope that Providence will permit Mr. Dyniewicz to see this day come.
Dziennik Chicagoski, Mar. 12, 1892.
It is not with pride that we continue today our discussion of Polish journalism in the United States. We have not completed our treatise. Only the more important newspapers have been touched. Although this has been only the first step, the editorial department has been swamped with letters of criticism. Many of the complaining letters threaten the author of the articles. Some even say that they will get revenge. And for what? Is it because we have treated our articles on this matter objectively before the public eye? If we have erred, we are only human. Mistakes can be rectified or disregarded. But there is no reason why we should be besmeared with such malicious and insinuating assusations as, "we have been filled with 11slavishness", "we desire glittering gold", etc.
One group of correspondents complain that they have not been praised, others interpret their praise and elevate it to great heights. Some become angry at the fact that others have been praised. Others fume and rage, and threaten us for our objective treatment of the Polish press. How is it possible for us to strike a happy medium?
We have never tried to deprive anyone of a piece of bread. Thank God that we have our own bit in our hands. Our present stand, from which we have never turned, has won us great praise from the Polish ecclesiastical conference at South Bend. we will be glad to give up our present position to anyone who is better qualified and more expertly trained. Anyone who feels that he is more capable than we should call at our office.
It is impossible to please everyone. There will always be critics. It is much easier to criticize than to write something creative. Our aim and 12ambition is to protect the interest of our religion, to assist our people into conservative channels, and to devote as much time as possible to public good. We have no desire for gold. Praise will probably not come our way, but we will find enough reward in our stand for justice, despite the many unpleasant accusations which are showered upon us.
In 1891, an illustrated weekly entitled Niedziela (Sunday) made its first appearance in Detroit. It is sponsored by the Polish Seminary, and edited by Reverend W. Barabasz. The very name of the editor tells the story of the type of material to be found. The selection of material in this weekly is always light and interesting. The subject matter is well sifted and presented in a simple style, a style that fills the need of the masses. Yet it is wholesome and entertaining. Above all, it is easily understood by the readers. The illustrations show great promise. This is not surprising, for they appear under the guidance of a dilettante. He has a broad knowledge of things, and whatever he puts into his illustrations 13wins praise.
The name of Reverend Barabasz is a valuable asset to the paper. He is a person trained not only in theology, but also in poetry, art, and human relations. His path is not filled with roses, but what writer in America, especially if he is Polish, walks on them? We feel certain that the reverend editor will succeed in his venture, because of his sincere effort to reach the minds of the uneducated and the learned alike.
In Manitowoc, Wisconsin, there is a national religious publication edited by Father Luczycki. We have never seen a copy of the periodical, and it is therefore impossible for us to comment upon its contents. We have heard from a reliable source that the paper is doing a fairly good job.
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