Matthew Potter
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Keeping an eye on the Tsar
Frederick Potter and the Skibbereen Eagle
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One of the most curious episodes in the history of Irish journalism was the world-wide fame attained by the Skibbereen Eagle, a small provincial newspaper. Skibbereen Eagle in 1898 declared that it was keeping an eye on the Tsar of Russia, at that time one of the world's most powerful rulers and the autocratic sovereign of one sixth of the land surface of the earth. Frederick Potter was a born newspaperman and entrepreneur. Initially, the Eagle was a monthly publication but later became a weekly appearing every Saturday. The phrase 'keeping an eye on the Tsar of Russia' actually owed its origins to another Cork newspaper. The Cork Chronicle, whose editor Jack Bellew was in the 1820s credited with annoying the Tsar by keeping a vigilant eye on him. Potter supported Home Rule but opposed Fenianism and cherished the connection with Britain.

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Irish journalism before independence

More a disease than a profession



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