Evolving role of Jewish journalism in UK

In an age where digital media is attracting huge audiences, how do Jewish print publications stay fresh and relevant?

VIDEO – How often do you pick up a Jewish newspaper or magazine? Well, in an age where digital media is attracting huge audiences, how do Jewish print publications stay fresh and relevant?


One key factor is that there has been a significant increase in the number of Jewish print publications available, as explained by Anthony Clavane, journalist and author of "Does your Rabbi know you're here?"


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"It's interesting because there's the Jewish Telegraph, which is in Leeds, Manchester, and London, and there are other papers, like obviously the Jewish Chronicle and the Jewish News, and there are so many magazines I've lost count now," Clavane says. "When I was a kid growing up in Leeds, in a big Jewish community, we had one paper. So it`s completely different today.”


Jewish News editor Richard Ferrer believes that "the role of the Jewish newspaper is to retain that sense of, literally, community. Giving people a sense of ownership and a sense of identity.


"I think the most important thing for me is that we're there for every single Jewish reader. The Jewish readers that go to synagogue every day, every week, the ones that only keep Shabbat or only keep Rosh Hashana and Yom Kippur, and the ones that have no contact with the community other than to read the Jewish News every week.”


Quarterly publications are proving popular for mature readers. In a tough economic climate Janet Levin, editor of Jewish Renaissance, believes unique content is key.


“We feature a different community each issue, now about 16 to 20 pages on one community anywhere in the world. So we've been as far as Uzbekistan, we've been to Morocco, to South Africa. We always cover the history of the Jewish community there, but also we have a lot of personal stories, and that's what people like, they can relate to that.


"I felt there was a market gap. There was the Jewish Chronicle, which is a weekly, and there's a more highbrow than we are, but there was nothing. What we do wasn't covered at all, and it's been very popular.”


Change in attitudes

Keeping up to date with readers is also a challenge. Richard Ferrer, editor of the Jewish News, told JN1 about the paper's recent redesign.


“It's the first proper facelift for the paper in six or seven years. We've given it a lot fresher feel, different fonts, typefaces, and it goes hand in hand with our new website.”


According to Jewish News Web editor Ivor Macsween, "The power of a new site like this is that it really gives us a potential worldwide reach, and getting authoritative important bloggers to kind of engage and send out our stuff, and get other people involved.


"It's kind of really quite important and it's a brand new audience for us. We have a video sharing agreement with Jewish News One which I was particularly pleased about, because I think that on a modern Internet page, especially for news people like to have rich content and video to go behind the story.”


Recognized Jewish writers like Anthony Clavane attribute the growing popularity of Jewish publications, to a change in attitudes.


“The big shift that's taken place is that I don't think there are that many more Jewish writers, but now Jewish writers like me are writing about being Jewish. For example, my book 'Does your Rabbi know you're here?' is about Jewish football, it's about being Jewish and English football.


"You've got David Conn who writes for the Guardian, he's written a book about Manchester City and growing up. He grew up in a Jewish community, and he talks about that. Colin Shindler, another Manchester City fan, has written two books about that.”


With reports of an increase in circulation there is clearly is a significant demand. So clearly, Jewish print publications continue to have huge significance in the community, acting as a voice or simply a friend for many.



פרסום ראשון: 08.18.13, 07:24
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