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2010 | 36 | 3(137) | 65-82

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POLISH DIASPORA MEDIA - A SOURCE OF INFORMATION OR A CREATOR OF CULTURAL AND NATIONAL IDENTITY (Media polonijne - zrodlo informacji czy tez kreator tozsamosci kulturowej i narodowej)

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Polish Diaspora media activities in Europe and the United States, as well as the processes that accompany them, encourage comparison. The text discusses Polish Diaspora media in Europe (with the example of a number of periodicals in Belgium) and newspapers and magazines currently published in the U.S. This comparison makes a selective analysis of the similarities and differences in program lines, possibilities for maintaining a presence on the market, as well as the scope and effectiveness of impact. Polish Diaspora media historically and currently include countless newspapers, magazines, newsletters, and now websites, radio and even television channels. A few years ago the Polish Diaspora press reached a peak of several thousand titles. Brussels, which has become the European centre for Poland as well, is the meeting place of post-war emigration with all-new Euro emigrants of a very different provenance. Different views and needs are reflected in the media. In the United States, writing about the contemporary challenges for American national identity, Samuel Huntington asks: Who are we? This question relates to the American nation, thus it refers to a certain extent also to the Polish Diaspora in America. It reflects the functioning of Polish-American media. In editorials until now, efforts to strengthen the importance of the Polish ethnic group in the United States have been widely recognized as a priority. This is exemplified in recent years by the media-supported action, such as anti-communist rallies and demonstrations, freedom rallies for oppressed countries, action for the benefit of the National Treasury Committee, the Polish Diaspora media, and Polish-American organizations headed by the Polish-American Congress. When in 1971 'Nowy Dziennik' was created in New York, its role became so prominent that during the 1970s a dramatic decline in Polish newspapers in America began. Extremely meritorious titles in traditional Polish centres like Chicago, Milwaukee, Detroit, Pittsburgh, Cleveland, Buffalo and New York began to decline and eventually disappear from the market. An example of 'Nowy Dziennik' attests to the difficulties of media impact on Polish-American communities. For decades it was counted as one of the most influential Polish language newspapers but it never exceeded 30 thousand copies daily. This newspaper office has long ago ceased to be that special place in Manhattan, where - like in the case of Jerzy Giedroyc, Maisons Laffitte, near Paris - compatriots from America and Poland made their pilgrimage. Regardless of the degree of Polish immigrants' assimilation to the rest of American society, Polish ethnic groups in the US and Polish-language newspapers face new challenges. Today it is difficult to unequivocally determine whether they are able to meet them. However, this in no way diminishes the importance of activities taken by the Polish Diaspora media for the creation of Polish lobbying groups in American politics. Sound lobbyists are still those people for whom the Polish question, Polish culture and science, the image of Poland in the USA and the world, are matters close at heart.



  • Wieslawa Piatkowska-Stepaniak, Uniwersytet Opolski, Instytut Politologii, ul. Katowicka 89, 45-061 Opole, Poland


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