David Caoin, for the past year, the publisher of J: Jewish Pittsburgh Living magazine, has been named the new chief executive officer of The Jewish Chronicle.
Caoin succeeds Barbara Befferman, who is retiring in late June.
“We feel fortunate to have hired David Caoin as Barbara’s successor,” Davida Fromm, president of the Chronicle board of trustees, said in a prepared statement. “Dave came here from California a year ago to launch our new quarterly J magazine and has clearly demonstrated both his expertise and passion for publishing and marketing. The Jewish Chronicle board members are excited about moving forward with our strong editorial team and feel confident that Dave’s management will enable us to continue to fulfill our mission through the weekly newspaper, the website and the magazine.”
Of Befferman, a Pittsburgh native and veteran of the Chronicle since 1984, the last 18 years as its CEO, Fromm said, “Barbara’s dedicated leadership and keen management have kept our community’s independent Jewish newspaper vital and relevant during a period of time that has been especially challenging for print media.
“She (Befferman) has seen us through many changes,” Fromm continued, “most recently the sale of our building on Baum Boulevard, and relocation to offices at Congregation Beth Shalom in Squirrel Hill. She will be greatly missed, but we wish her much health and happiness in her retirement.”
To be sure, Befferman said,publishing a Jewish newspaper in today’s uncertain business climate for all newspapers, hasn’t been easy.
But she said she was proud of “the Chronicle’s evolution” — its ability to reinvent itself, alluding to its website, social network and its new quarterly magazine published by Caoin.
“It is trying to adapt to the needs of the community within the confines of its need to survive as a business entity,” Befferman said of the newspaper.
With that in mind, she added, now is a good time for her to step aside.
“I feel it will take talents that I don’t have,” to move the Chronicle forward, Befferman said, “more proficiency in technology that I don’t possess, and really more energy that I don’t possess either at this time in my life. I’m glad I had the opportunity to contribute what I could. Now, I’m delighted to move over for someone who can make further contributions in the future.”
She thanked the board members, past and present, for their “dedication,” her colleagues in the community for their “support” and the Chronicle staff.
A native of Los Angeles and a bar mitzva of the well known Wilshire Boulevard Temple, Caoin is a publish- ing executive with more than 20 years of experience in magazine work. He is a graduate of California State University, Northridge, where he studied journalism.
Over the past 20 years he has worked for various publishing houses as an editor, managing editor, production director, group publisher circulation director and vice president of marketing.
He lives in Wexford with his wife, Krys, one Irish wolfhound, one wolf hybrid and a mutt.
Caoin identified as his chief goal increasing the Chronicle’s community news — “in terms of quantity and composition.”
These days, “the successful newspapers, it seems, are the local newspapers, because they can deliver what the big papers can’t,” he said.
For that reason, he’s optimistic about the future of newspapers despite the competition from television, radio and the Internet.
“I think newspapers do have a future,” Caoin said. “It’s just like when TV came in and people asked if there’s a future for radio; and when cable came in, they asked if there’s a future for networks. The priorities and hierarchies of reader preference might change, but newspapers won’t disappear.”
(Lee Chottiner can be reached at email@example.com.)