Video report: The changing role of Jewish media in the community

Video report: The changing role of Jewish media in the community

Richard Ferrer has become a leading voice on Jewish communal issues since becoming editor of the Jewish News in 2009, writing about contemporary Jewish life for a national audience. He edited the Boston Jewish Advocate, America's oldest Jewish newspaper and created the Channel 4 series Jewish Mum of the Year.

Television news channel visited the Jewish News as part of a special report on the role of print and digital media in the lives of the UK Jewish community.

Richard Ferrer, editor Jewish News and web editor Ivar Macsween discussed our recent website launch and newspaper redesign, alongside other journalists and authors featured in this video report.

How has your experience of Jewish media changed over the last few years? Do you find yourself reading from a wider selection of Jewish media titles or do you still rely on the same sources? Leave your comments below!

And look out for our new reader experience survey launching in the Jewish News and on in the coming weeks.

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“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 Anthony Clavane explains.

Anthony Clavane, Journalist and author of Does your Rabbi know you’re here?”:

“Now 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, and when I was a kid growing up in Leeds, in a big Jewish community we had one paper. So it`s completely different today.” 

Richard Ferrer, Jewish News Editor:

“A key role for any Jewish newspaper is to retain a strong sense of community – giving people a sense of ownership and identity. The important thing for me is that we capture the interest and loyalty of every Jewish reader. Jewish readers that go to synagogue every day and every week; the ones that only keep Shabbat or Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur and, perhaps most importantly of all, the ones that have no contact with the community other than when they read the Jewish News.”

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

Janet Levin, Editor of Jewish Renaissance:

“We feature a different community each issue, now about sixteen to twenty pages on one community anywhere in the world. So we’ve done, well 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, and I felt there was a market gap. You know there was the, 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.” 

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.

Richard Ferrer, Jewish News Editor:

“It’s the first proper facelift for the paper in six or seven years. We’ve given it a fresh look and feel with brighter more modern fonts and typefaces, and this goes hand in hand with our new website,” 

Ivar Macsween, Web Editor, Jewish News:

“The power of a new site like this is really it 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 opens, 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, you know, on a modern internet page, especially for news people like to have, you know, rich content and video to go behind the story.” 

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

Anthony Clavane, Journalist and author of “Does your Rabbi know you’re here?”:

“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”, it`s 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 a growing up. He grew up in a Jewish community, and he talks about that. Colin Shindler, another Manchester City fan has written a book, two books about that.”  

And 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.

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