Internet newsletter offers Czech-American news, hard-to-find products


Numerous newspapers and magazines serve the Czech community in the United States, from "nationwide" publications such as Americke listy to regional titles like Czech Nebraska. There are also several internet websites and email newsletters, such as the weekly Dumpling News; it is produced by Zora Pergl, a woman of Czech descent based in Florida. I asked her how Dumpling News has been received since its launch in April last year.

Zora Pergl,  photo:
"I started out with 700 email addresses, and in a year and a half via word of mouth and the internet, I have 500,000 subscribers."

What kind of subjects are you reporting on, or writing about?

"Many, many different subjects. There'll be news about clubs and organisations, there'll be history, traditions, festivals - the entire...realm of what's going on in Czech America."

Are there other organisations or publications doing the same thing, or a similar thing to what you're doing?

"Yes, there are. Many organisations and clubs here in the United States have newsletters that are geared towards their own specific group. What this newsletter does is it advertises all of the different groups."

Does it also have a commercial side? I see for example on your website you sell things like dumplings.

"Yes, it does. I'm lucky enough to have several advertisers, Czech-American businesses, on the website. We have Chateau Dumplings, we have Crawford Sausages, both of those are out of Chicago..."

Are those products hard to find in the US?

"Yes, they are. They're very hard to find in the States. In perhaps a small Czech town you'll have a [Czech] butchers shop. But in places like Los Angeles or Miami - you just don't find it."

Also I see on your website you advertise kroj, the Czech national costume.

"Oh, yes, absolutely. That's my friend and client Maggie Grmela..."

And does she make the kroj in the States?

"She makes them in the States, yes sir she does. As a matter of fact she is the premier kroj maker in the United States."

Tell me also - I see on the site you have something called polka cruises...

"Oh yes, Maggie and I created the Czech-American polka cruises and tours. Every six months we travel to different parts of the world, and we bring live polka bands with us."