The Most Important Job

Jonathan Mark, associate editor of the NY Jewish Week and co-founder and former associate editor of the famed New Jewish Times, said something at Publishing Prophecy that I can’t shake out of my thoughts: If an individual Jew is of infinite worth, writing about Jewish stories is of infinite worth.
Mark’s comment basically rocked my world; too often you hear people talk of Jewish journalism as if it is a side pursuit–a hobby that one undertakes when one cannot write for a “mainstream” or “worldly” source, a hobby to be undertaken but not a career and a mission. As Mark pointed out, if people can be sports writers or fashion writers and our culture accords such positions higher regard than the beat-journalists who provide us with the majority of our news, all the more so should Jewish journalists be respected and lauded.
To take this further in my own direction, the failure of the American Jewish establishment to sufficiently honor those people who provide the very information that would enable well-informed communal decision making has dire effects on the ways decisions are made.
(Alternatively, it could be that the powers-that-be have an inherent interest in keeping the news from the people, so that decisions would be made by those mega-donors and their friends in the know).
If the Jewish community cares about those decisions being made on its behalf, the greatest thing it could do would be to upgrade the level of appreciation for Jewish journalists. And once these newly appreciated Jewish journalists are compensated accordingly with honors and pay (which would necessitate the restructuring of the predominantly Federation-supported press to put the onus of funding on the individual subscriber), I am willing to bet that the state of affairs in the American Jewish community will improve by leaps and bounds.
Cause sunlight is the best disinfectant and there is a lot of sunlight needed in some corners of the organized Jewish world.


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