"A Sad Day for Jewish Journalism"

Lilit Marcus reports on the recent folding of Jewschool’s Best Magazine of 2005:

American Jewish Life, the bimonthly lifestyle publication that began in 2001 as Atlanta Jewish Life and went national four years later, is folding. The magazine’s editor in chief, Benyamin Cohen, has accepted a job as editorial director of a new Atlanta-based company whose aim is “to create America’s largest environmental news website.”
“Unfortunately, this is just not the right economy for a print publication,” said Cohen, 33, in an interview with The Shmooze. “Newspapers and magazines all across America are struggling to bring in ad revenue and turn a profit.”

Jewschool salutes you, AJL. You’ll be missed! Full story.

4 thoughts on “"A Sad Day for Jewish Journalism"

  1. I was surprised that Atlanta Jewish Life went national as American Jewish Life in the first place — while the pickings are slim and uninteresting, the Jewish world has way to many publications already. As Jews, we read (and pay to read) more than average, but quite frankly there’s not that many of us out there.
    Heeb, PresenTense and New Voices exist at the behest of their ability to scramble for lucrative funding — and if they lose it, they’re dead. Not to mention that Jewish “print journalism” out there is a sham — they’re not newspapers in a actual sense, but newsletters from the federation, paid for by donors, not subscribers. It’s a donor service, not a product.
    Add to that the problems that you can’t FIND Jews these days except for those who donate to the federations, have synagogue memberships, etc. who are by and large shrinking in registered numbers. The younger Jews especially are off the radar screen these days — which is good for pulling the rug out from beneath self-appointed and superfluous communal mouthpieces, but bad for people marketing to Jews.
    As the proliferation of Jewish blogs and news sites continues and hardcopy real estate shrinks, that hardcopy gets more valuable. And expensive.

  2. Too many uninteresting publications, certainly. With the occasional exception of New Voices, none of the Jewish weeklies or monthlies I subscribe to make me smile at the mailbox the way I do when New Scientist, Layers, Harper’s or Doktor Sleepless shows up.
    That doesn’t mean that an exciting Jewish periodical isn’t possible; I used to find Tikkun and Sh’ma exciting, many years ago. (Is it me or them? I’m reminded of Norman Podhoretz’s youthful dictum that “the lifespan of an editorial impulse is ten years.”)
    I’d love to read a Jewish Review of Books modeled after the New York and London reviews of books — lengthy, smart, serious reviews.

  3. There is little to find in Jewish print that does not cater to the same old cultural monopoly of NYC. Even though most Jews in the USA began their residence there, most live outside of the Empire state. Generations so far removed from Ellis Island are tired of being preached to from the distant ivory towers of socialism or orthodoxy. This creates a disconnect followed by a lack of identity for less cosmopolitan Jews.
    Add to this the swelling tide of antisemitism among the left since the first gulf war, and the conservatives traditional inquisitorial agenda, not to mention the pornographic dictatorship of the American media that successfully encourages Jewish women to emasculate and reject their sons and brothers, all for some imaginary American feminist ideal that only exists in Israel of all places, thanks to women like Golda Meir who predicted what we are going through today.
    But what would our grandparents read if they were young? -The small print that we ignore. Check out the federal immigration statutes for Israeli’s and it reads like they were written in czarist Russia. The most powerful feelings that are directed at us in our lives as Jews in the exiled lands is inexplicable hatred. The ounce of love that we get to feel for a few days or weeks on a trip to Israel cannot sustain enough creativity to justify the status quo or to entertain our doddering elders into granting us our inheritance before it is stolen from them by European creditors as though it were not “our” birthright.
    The Jewish Society pages end up in the recycle bin like all the other papers, do we really need to add to this global waste?

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