“Colorful Journalism in Fort Wayne” was presented before the Fort Wayne Quest Club on January 28, 1966 by Herbert Bredemeier: Fort Wayne writers may not have attracted as much world attention as Joseph Pulitzer, William Randolph Hurst, Horace Greeley, Charles Dana, or James Bennett Gordon, but Fort Wayne had its share of colorful newspapermen even if their legends are only half true.
Probably the most colorful newspaperman in Fort Wayne was Andy Moynihan, Editor of the Journal Gazette. The exchanges with his counterpart on the News Sentinel staff, Jessie Green, are most interesting to read. Both of these men were a part of their times and were able to engage in vitriolic exchanges the like of which would be unthinkable today. Andy Moynihan has been called the James Bennett Gordon of Fort Wayne journalism. The fact Moynihan was Irish didn’t hurt him and life was never dull or boring when he was around. When Mr. Moynihan wrote about Mr. Greene and Mr. Greene wrote about Mr. Moynihan many people must have wondered whether the one was going to shoot the other the next time they met. They were constantly at each other’s throats. Yet this was all pretty much a part of newspaper work during that magnificent era of satirical sensationalism. Mr. Moynihan believed in filling the Journal Gazette with lively copy and his editorial pen was the sharpest of any before or since. Only a person with great courage or a half-wit dared to incur Mr. Moynihan’s displeasure.
Moynihan was truly one of the Democratic bosses and Fort Wayne was one of the few Democratic strongholds in Indiana at that time. Many cartoons pictured skinny-legged Moynihan, Anselm Fuelber, E.A. Hackett and Herman Mackwitz as Democratic kingpins. “No Democrat ever strayed far from what the Irish editor believed to be the reservation for he was capable of spanking a Democrat like a Republican. It was the day of the old convention system and party solidarity,” said Clifford Ward. Moynihan was in a great way responsible for the promotion of Thomas R. Marshall for the vice-presidency with Woodrow Wilson. “When Moynihan cited some shyster as the object of his wrath, the city sat up and took notice. No Republican politician ever felt safe taking off his armor and relaxing, so long as Andy Moynihan was editor of the Journal Gazette.
Clifford Ward recalled that as a youngster a prominent local politician broke his wrist while swinging at Mr. Moynihan. On another occasion Andy Moynihan met the chairman of the Board of Works on the street. They came to blows and Andy, being a showman, came to work with his hand bandaged. The staff enjoyed the incident because Andy was a great bluffer. There are others who tell stories of how Mr. Moynihan, annoyed with the telephone service, ripped a phone from its fastenings and threw it out the window. He then proceeded to yell out across the street at the party whom he wanted to telephone in the next building. He was always feuding with the telephone company. On other occasions he would call up one of the neighborhood saloons like George Biemers, the Wayne Club or the Germania and in his high-pitched voice demand that they send his reporters back to work. Rival reporters frequently loaded their competitors with cheap bourbon so they missed a story or deadline. The tavern on East Berry Street, which is now part of the Lincoln National Bank, was known as the “Germania,” and it was extremely popular with members of the “Fourth Estate.” The period of 1913 to 1917 was known as the “Silk Shirt Era.” On payday, Carl Suedoff and four or five of the boys would go over to Germania and pay a dollar to shake the dice box and the winner got a new silk shirt and a hangover while the others only got the hangover.
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