}

Top 10 Problems with Jewish Journalism

in mtlLuke Ford in Protocols presents the top 10 problems with Jewish Journalism. Amongst the problems enumerated are:

#1. Failure of imagination.
#2. Lack of courage.
#3. Lack of clarity on mission.
#4. Lack of technique.
#5. Stuck in the past.
#6. Desire to be loved.
# 7. Delusions of grandeur.
#8 Unwillingness to treat religion with the same seriousness and specificity that it treats politics.
#9 If you only publish positive book reviews, you don’t take ideas seriously.
#10 Sensitivity, tact, restraint are only three good traits among many.

The posting is pretty interesting. As far as its overall accuracy, I’ll have to take Ford’s word for it because I haven’t read a Jewish newspaper in like… forever. However, to test Luke Ford’s assertions, I picked up a copy of the local Jewish paper aimed at my demographic. It’s called In Montreal and I had to shlepp for 20 minutes to find a copy because there isn’t any place downtown where it’s available.

Printed on high quality pulp, In Montreal is colorful and slickly designed. The June 2004 issue that I picked up in late August was 12 pages long and the ostensible theme was how to enjoy summer. To that end I was presented with an article on barbecuing, speed dating and an article that talked about how cool it is to go to the Tam Tams, roller blade at the Old Port, sit on terrasses sipping martinis, go to the Jazz Fest or hang out at Parc Lafontaine. Uh… thanks. I didn’t know that. There are also no less than 3 articles about business tips, 1 article on parenting, and one article about a gay woman who is active in the Jewish community (gasp!).

I don’t know if I made it clear enough, but suffice it to say that I’m never quite heartbroken when I miss reading the latest In Montreal. I think it really embodies most of Luke Ford’s criticisms. Fluffy and unsubstantial, In Montreal seems to appeal more to the community poobahs who commissioned it. It’s reflective of what they’d like young Jewish Montrealers to be like rather than what they are actually like. No wonder no one I know reads it. It is completely uninspiring and totally unenlightening and if anything, stands as a testament to how deeply the organized Jewish community has failed its next generation.

I kind of feel bad writing this because I know that the people involved in production are all good, decent, well meaning people. But producers of relevant Journalistic content, they clearly aint.

Uh… check it out for yourself on the In Montreal Web site.

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9 Comments

  1. Ariel Beery

    8/29/2004 at 10:05 pm

    Absolutely. I’ve said it before on my site, and I’ll say it again: there needs to be an independent Jewish Organization Industry Mag on the internet–one that will be able to fully take on the problems in the Jewish community, and not shy from criticizing those in positions of communal power.

    It’s just crazy that the Jewish press is in the pocket of the Federation–for the most part–and that no-one speaks up about it in an organized fashion.

  2. Skylar

    8/30/2004 at 12:46 am

    Have you noticed also that many of the articles in Jewish newspapers are poorly written? Like they were written by someone who had English as a second language.

  3. ck

    8/30/2004 at 1:52 am

    English as a second language? Like me you mean? Well… it’s more like 3rd language in my case …

  4. Lisa

    8/31/2004 at 8:49 pm

    For an example of truly appalling Jewish journalism, take a look at the Vancouver rag, The Jewish Western Bulletin (aka The Shlepper’s Gazette).

    But what about the Forward? It’s pretty good journalism – does it count?

  5. ck

    8/31/2004 at 10:37 pm

    Forward is more than balanced out by the New York Jewish Press. Feh!

  6. Josh

    9/1/2004 at 5:04 pm

    Is it really journalism or a ‘tribe’ newsletter? Either way, and even though I’ve since left Mtl to live in Israel, I still think it’s a really cool effort.
    I remember when InMtl came out and really looked forward to reading it every month or so. It was definitely filling a void for Mtl Jappy youth and the novelty didn’t seem to wear off since it always seemed to have new material. It seems to still provide a lot of inspiring news about local active Jewish ‘youth’ that otherwise is not featured in the Suburban or the CJN.

    And if no one admits that they read it then it seems that they are just too cool anyway. Eh?

  7. 8opus

    9/1/2004 at 7:32 pm

    I dunno — I’ve read the Jewish Western Bulletin a couple of times, and didn’t find it bad at all. Kind of a homey feel. As for In Montreal, yeah, it’s a bit like a bizarre-o newspaper-cum-marketing-insert deal, but it was a breath of fresh air compared to all the alternatives at the time. Which were, let’s see…

    Dave, aside from the obvious (the better Jewish journalism exists! it’s in the blogosphere!), I think you’re right. And, yeah, the time is right to try something new. So what would a Canadian Jewish monthly look like that didn’t suck? And how hard can it be to pull it together?

  8. ck

    9/1/2004 at 11:38 pm

    A Jewish monthly that didn’t suck? Well off the top of my head it would have to be a full color magazine, kinda like Heeb I guess. If community funding were used it would have to be absolutely no strings attached – kinda like thanks for the cash now fuck off. Otherwise it would have to be run like a business and maintain absolute editorial independence. There would be more emphasis on the things not covered by the CJN – sex, drugs, rock and roll, religion, politics etc. and its scope would be beyond just Canada.

    It’s a tall order, risky and untried. It’ll never happen. Instead we’ll keep doing whatever it is we’re doing and thats that. Nice to contemplate though. And we always have blogs – those are free! And independent. No one tells me opr my crew what to write about although the JQS.com people told me today “Uhm, David, could you have maybe less exploding crotches and half naked porn stars and less swear words, please?” That was funny. Poor Dvorah (JQS’s matchmaker) – she was so scandalized…. Oh well, love me, love my blog! Heh …

  9. schlomo

    8/18/2005 at 12:42 am

    isnit it true that israelis are really that “shiddy liddle nation”?

    sahlom

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