Luke 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.