A vital purpose, now more than ever

A vital purpose, now more than ever

June 2017 column by Gary Rosenblatt, editor and publisher of The New York Jewish Week, NJJN’s sister publication, about the endangered state of journalism at this moment in history 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, our readers and supporters, thanking you for your interest and support.

This year 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 we’re 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, providing journalistic excellence to the Greater MetroWest area, Middlesex and Monmouth counties, and Princeton-Mercer-Bucks, counties, as well as those The Jewish Week serves in New York and beyond.

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:

  • 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 the written word can strengthen 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.
  • NJJN and Jewish Week Community Forums convene newsmakers and opinion leaders. 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 directly to The Jewish Week through our charitable fund at FJC.org). We hope you will continue helping to sustain and strengthen these programs.

We want to close with a passage 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:

“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 Media Group and the role it plays in this community, and we view it as a labor of love and as 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.

Shanah tovah,

Stuart Himmelfarb, President
Peter Wang, Chair of the Board

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