Polish Weekly ‘Post Eagle’ Suspends Print Edition

John Czop presents the last printed edition of the Post Eagle. (Photo via Nowy Dziennik)

Post Eagle reporter and editor John Czop presents the last printed edition of the Post Eagle. (Photo via Nowy Dziennik)

An English-language weekly, Post Eagle, which has been publishing in Clifton, New Jersey, for more than 50 years, suspended its print edition. From August 13 the Polish-American paper, whose original mission was to bring awareness about Polish Americans, can be read online only. The publisher said the move resulted from a shrinking pool of subscribers and dwindling revenue from ads.

“It’s with a heavy heart that I have to write these words […] Due to financial difficulties, it is impossible to continue publishing weekly and this will be the last printed issue of the Post Eagle for a while,” wrote the editor-in-chief and publisher of the Post Eagle Christine Grabowski on the front page of the August 13 issue. In the same article she assures readers that she will do her best to resume printing of the paper.

“It made me very happy that I could be of help in spreading your news, thoughts, opinions and whatever you felt you wanted our community to know about. Most of this news you wouldn’t have known about because the national or local media outlets would not have printed it. We were your voice, as my dad would have put it. That’s why he started the Post Eagle,” Ms. Grabowski wrote, extending thanks to subscribers, readers and writers who supported the paper for over 50 years.

Now the Post Eagle can be read online only at its website: www.posteaglenewspaper.com. The publisher said she realizes that many of Post Eagle’s readers would rather read its articles in print than online, but until she finds ways of financing further printing, the paper will only exist online.

The financial difficulties, which led to the suspension of the print publication, stem primarily from the drop in the number of subscribers (in the spring of this year no more than 5,000 people subscribed to the paper) caused by the shrinking pool of the elderly readers and lack of new and younger ones. The other reason has been dwindling revenue from advertising.

“The ads were declining both in amount and in size,” says John Czop, a reporter and editor who has worked for the Post Eagle since 1997. For instance, the 1997 Christmas issue consisted of 136 pages, almost all of which was advertising. The Christmas issue last year only had 53 pages. Some advertisers ceased to advertise or scaled back the ads to 1/8 of a page. “That’s dramatic,” Mr. Czop concludes.

Earlier, in the ’90s, according to Mr. Czop, a negative influence on the paper was Alan Dershowitz’s anti-Semitism accusations against Chester Grabowski, the founder of the Post Eagle. [Editor’s note: In 2012 following Grabowski’s death, a proposal to name a park in Clifton after him prompted critics, including Dershowitz, to cite numerous instances of anti-Semitic comments and remarks made by him or published in the paper.]

A big blow to the paper was also Chester Grabowski’s divorce in the ’80s, and losing such faithful supporters such as businessman and philanthropist Albin Obal, who died in 2010. “Mr. Obal was a major booster to the Post Eagle. He donated his own money so that politicians who didn’t know or wanted to know about the Post Eagle could get a subscription,” says Mr. Czop.

The Post Eagle was founded in 1963 by Chester Grabowski. “He dedicated the newspaper to the preservation of the Polish heritage and culture in the U.S., the recognition for all Americans of Polish descent, and promoting good citizenship in our country,” reads an article about the founder on the Post Eagle’s website. “Over nearly five decades, Grabowski’s forceful editorials in The Post Eagle admonished Polish Americans for their passivity on the American scene. He spearheaded the campaign to boycott companies which sponsored television programs that broadcast defamatory comments, often in the form of so-called jokes, about Poland and the Poles. He also encouraged Polish Americans to seek elective and appointed governmental offices, to work for the election of pro-Polish candidates, and to influence American public opinion in favor of Poland.”

After his death in April 2012, the paper continued to be run by members of the Grabowski family, including Chester Grabowski’s daughter Christine. Since the very beginning the Post Eagle’s main office has been located in Clifton.

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