A June 2017 column by Jewish Week editor and publisher Gary Rosenblatt about the endangered state of journalism included this passage: “What separates professional journalists from people who set up websites or blogs is a commitment to seven principles, established in 1923 by the American Society of Newspaper Editors. Perhaps more relevant than ever, they are: responsibility; freedom of the press; independence; sincerity; truthfulness and accuracy; impartiality; fair play; and decency.”
This resonated with us as we prepared our annual message to you, the readers and supporters of The Jewish Week. Each year, we write to thank you for your interest and support. It’s a pleasant task and we enjoy the chance to say thanks and to connect.
This year is different. We feel more keenly the rising challenge of being in the media business. The financial difficulties facing virtually every media company are well known — in the past year, household-name media companies have folded, been sold or weathered dramatic cutbacks. And, not surprisingly, The Jewish Week is not immune from such peril.
Beyond finances, though, we feel the burden of our responsibility to fulfill our primary mission of journalistic excellence, i.e., living up to the principles of the profession. These principles are more crucial than ever and our shared commitment to them is unshakeable.
In a time of political and ideological tension, our goal is to present a wide range of voices and to encourage constructive discussion — always guided by respect for others’ opinions, even in the face of deep disagreement. This is true in all of our efforts, from the pages of the newspaper, to our website and community forums. In so doing, we hope to inform and inspire our readers. And along the way, encourage them to think through — and, perhaps, act on — the issues and ideas that too often divide or confound us.
Put simply: this is why we are in this business. And why we look to the year ahead as a time to recommit to our core principles in continuing to serve this vital and vibrant community.
We want to express gratitude to our readers, communal and business partners, and the team that makes up our dedicated board and talented staff. This includes the communities we proudly serve in New Jersey, too, providing journalistic excellence and commitment to community in Greater MetroWest, Heart of New Jersey and Princeton-Mercer-Bucks County.
A look back at the year just ended would be incomplete without mentioning the important projects of The Jewish Week Media Group devoted to community building. We deeply appreciate the support many of you have shown — by your attendance and your generosity — for these efforts, which include:
- The Conversation, an off-the-record retreat for opinion leaders, volunteers, professionals and others involved in Jewish life, about to hold its 15th annual gathering this fall.
- Write On For Israel will soon begin its 17th cohort of high school juniors undertaking an intensive two-year program of classes, discussions and travel to Israel to learn how to be effective in strengthening support for Israel.
- Fresh Ink for Teens is a vibrant online magazine written by and for teens.
- The Jewish Week Investigative Journalism Fund supports enterprise reporting, deep-dive looks at key Jewish issues that go beyond the resources usually available to a local newsweekly.
- Jewish Week Community Forums convene newsmakers and opinion leaders in discussion with the community. We’ve hosted leading journalists, politicians, authors, educators and religious leaders, and a full roster of events will again be offered in the new year.
We could not field these projects without your support (provided to The Jewish Week through our charitable fund at FJC.org). We hope you will continue helping to sustain and strengthen these programs.
To make a charitable contribution, click here.
We want to close with another excerpt from the recent “Speaking Up For Our Mission” editorial, as we joined with hundreds of newspapers around the country to state our commitment to a free press in America. Here’s a key passage:
“We aren’t the enemy of the people. We are the people. We aren’t fake news. We struggle constantly to get the facts right. We don’t just report on the community. We are the community, and our numerous educational projects … are dedicated to sustaining and strengthening the community.”
We are proud to be a part of The Jewish Week and the role it plays in this community, and we view it proudly as a labor of love and a way to strengthen Jewish and American life.
We wish you and your families a year of good health, happiness and peace. Thanks to each of you for your continued interest and commitment.
Stuart Himmelfarb, President
Peter Wang, Chair of the Board