Milwaukee-based Irish monthly

grows on the cheap


     From its modestly furnished 3rd Ward office, the Irish American Post is reaching an increasingly national – and even international – circle of readers with news of the Emerald Isle and its culture.

     And we’re not talking news about leprechauns and shillelaghs here!

     A recent story by the Post’s Dublin correspondent, for instance, started like this:  “Former terrorist leader Dominic (Mad Dog) McGlinchey, who was gunned down in front of his teen-age son in mid-February, was setting up a new paramilitary group, police sources have told The Irish American Post.”

     The monthly newspaper’s November 1993 issue featured a bylined story on an Irish Republican Army bombing that killed 10 people; a four-color Associated Press photograph complemented the story.  The previous issue featured an interview with Albert Reynolds, Ireland’s prime minister.

     “The prime minister was in Chicago last September,” said Post publisher Martin Hintz, “and he made time for us for an exclusive interview. Now (Irish political leaders) call us.”

     The Post also is catching on with business leaders. Hintz sees his paper educating American investors on opportunities in Ireland, and educating Irish investors on opportunities here.

     Hintz recently wrote a profile on William Farley, chairman and chief executive officer of Chicago’s Fruit of the Loom Inc.  Employing 3,000-plus workers in the Republic of Ireland and 800 more in Northern Ireland, Fruit of the Loom is the island’s biggest employer, according to Hintz.

     The Post’s publisher also noted the big presence of Miller Brewing Co. and Anheuser-Busch Co. in Ireland. And there’s some Irish investment in Wisconsin, too.  Hintz said some of the state’s dairy cooperatives are Irish-owned.

A different ethnic tradition

     But it’s not all politics and business. The paper is sprinkled with photographs of smiling folk dancers in traditional costumes, and lads quaffing pints of ale at a favorite Chicago pub. Lovers of Irish theatre, literature, movies and music will find plenty to engage their attention; the Post’s March issue included reviews of “In the Name of the Father,” last year’s film about injustice in Northern Ireland, and “The Next Parish Over,” a recently published collection of Irish-related short fiction and poetry.

     More important, at least from a business standpoint, is that the Post appears to be feeding on a steady diet of advertising. Currently, the monthly fills nearly half of its pages with ads.

Hintz, freelance journalist Malcolm McDowell Woods and investor John Hickey founded the Irish American Post in April 1992. Hintz does some writing, Woods is the managing editor and Hickey serves as business manager.

     The Post works with City Press Inc., a Wauwatosa printer that produces high-resolution printouts of the paper. That work is then printed by Format Typesetting, a division of Milwaukee media conglomerate Journal Communications Inc. Wood composes the Post’s pages himself on his computer.

     “Technology is making the production of a newspaper so much less labor-intensive and less capital-intensive,” Woods said. “If you wanted to, you could do it in your basement with a computer.”

Future in diversity

     As America’s population becomes more diverse, expect more ethnic newspapers and ethnically-focused sections to be launched, said Chuck Halloran, a spokesman for the National Newspaper Association, an Arlington, Va., trade group.

     “I’ve noticed there have been a lot of Hispanic newspapers, and a lot of metropolitan dailies have started Spanish editions,” Halloran said.

     The Irish American Post seems to be working from a broader base. According to the Post’s marketing materials, the paper’s target audience includes Irish who came to the United States in the 1950s and 1960s and who are now well-assimilated into American life; second-, third- and fourth generation Irish-Americans who “appreciate and enjoy their heritage”; and young Irish who have come here in the 1980s and 1990s.

     Hintz, 48, a former editor and reporter for the Milwaukee Sentinel, is a travel and business journalist. For the past 13 years he has done publicity work for Irish Fest.  Woods, 35, is a former editor for CNI Newspapers, an Oak Creek-based chain. Born in Scotland and raised in Derry, Northern Ireland, Woods now operates his own writing and design firm.  After years of writing for other people, they’re learning about the satisfaction of ownership. They’ve also learned a little about the other side of the business.

     “You have to grudgingly admit the importance of advertising,” Woods said. “As journalists, that’s probably not something we thought about before.”

The Business Journal, Milwaukee, 07/30/97