Anyone fascinated with publishing culture in this country will find much to inform, enlighten and amuse in Periodicals and Journalism in Twentieth-Century Ireland, an anthology of academic and entertaining essays on publications, outside the mainstream press, which coloured our thinking in a pre-digital era.
In a chapter by one of the co-editors Mark O’Brien, we learn about Hermes in 1978 which arrived with the stated expression of being “one more step in breaking the padlocks on closed minds” about queer culture and the amusing, with the benefit of hindsight, anecdote about how in 1986 Out magazine was prevented from advertising on RTÉ Radio 2 after 8pm “on the basis that the first iteration of the advert mentioned the word ‘gay’.” However, upon its removal “RTÉ rejected the second iteration of the advert on the basis that ‘advertising a gay magazine without saying that it was gay would be misleading to listeners.’”
Elsewhere, Pat Brennan documents the rapid rise and fall of Status, a feminist news magazine which launched in 1981. Edited by Marian Finucane and from Vincent Browne’s Magill stable, its stated purpose was to focus on women’s issues. However, it folded a year later after spooking the advertising market upon which it was reliant. I
ts editorial stated, “Status is a victim to a certain extent of the time lag between the reality of the new consciousness of women about their role, their potential and their ambition, and the perception of the male dominated world of advertising and marketing.”
With absorbing essays on everything from Fortnight magazine, Irish Housewife, In Dublin, The Phoenix, and Church of Ireland Gazette; this is a roll call of influence and many headstones marking the path we find ourselves on.
Periodicals and Journalism in Twentieth-Century Ireland 2 is published by Four Courts Press, €45