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You can see my comments when you are trolling my wall ;-) That sounds dirty.

Anyway, this is a classic debate in journalism: Is our job to give people what they NEED or give people what they WANT. I think, with all of the change going on and not going on in the Jewish community, it would be difficult for anyone to know what "Jews" need. But what they want? That is difficult too. I attended an AJPA conference years ago (I believe you were not there that year) and the editors there -- all decision makers at their papers -- were frightened and suspicious of online news. These are the people who should decide what we need or what we want?

In the end, I think a subscriber-based service would probably help smaller papers with websites, giving them fresh content without having to devote their own manpower. But you are right, the Big Three or so sites do not "need" the same service.

My question is whether papers could pay enough to make the service cost effective for JTA. I think the answer is no.

Bob Goldfarb

Esther, thanks for the nod ;-). My sense is that the only thing that will sustain writers' fees in this environment is a healthy Jewish press. Most stand-alone papers can't survive unless they change their business model - the status quo isn't an option for the long term. So something's got to give, and centralization is a better bet than papers going it alone.

I suspect you're right in saying that individual papers are not waiting for JTA to decide on The Future of Jewish Journalism. But I don't think JTA is looking at new options from a position of strength; they're doing it because they have to. JTA's own business is probably not sustainable in its present form either.

Whether the solution is a Website or some other platform doesn't matter so much as the content, I think. Gawker is spreading the rumor that Wired's next issue will declare 'The Web is Dead' because Chris Anderson thinks the iPad is a better medium for long-form content. Who knows? What we do know is that Jewish news media need to do a better job of attracting and keeping the interest of readers, wherever those readers are (your point about being flexible, responsive, exciting, and relevant).

Let the crowdsourcing continue!


In addition to news, for the Jewish people, strong media is about building and cementing community.

As a person who owns Jewish businesses, the future of the Jewish media concerns me greatly. The media is how we reach our customers, and complete our mission to bring identity-building Judaica to American Jews.

Non-profits and all Jewish organizations should be equally as concerned. How do we communicate to our audiences without strong media? We don't do it easily or well. It's concerning when one of the best new Jewish media out there, Tablet, doesn't allow advertising.

Whether non-profit or for profit, Jewish orgs need ways to reach our audiences.

I hope whoever is having this discussion, they include Jewish organizations and businesses as stakeholders. We are all part of the community and we all rely on a strong Jewish media to survive.

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