Now more than ever
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Now more than ever

Now, more than ever, we count on you to help provide us with the resources we need to continue to serve you every day online and every week in print.

Jim Busis

I have a sense of déjà vu as I write this and perhaps you will when you read it. To some extent my message this year is the same as it was last year because the fundamentals of publishing local Jewish news haven’t changed.

The internet destroyed the economics of news publishing by transferring almost all the advertising and reader revenue from news publishers to tech giants like Google and Facebook. COVID made things worse. Costs, which had been relatively stable for years, skyrocketed due to renewed inflation. News publishers, including local Jewish new publishers, continue to shrink: reductions, mergers and acquisitions, and closures.

And yet we still hang on. We are working on growing our ad revenue despite the industry conditions and are making progress. However, the biggest opportunity is to continue to grow our donation revenue by asking you, our readers, to make a voluntary donation if you value what we’re doing. Many in the industry believe that voluntary reader support is the only viable path for local news publishing.

As 2023 began, there were some things we could predict. We knew that economic conditions would continue to be challenging, but we were buoyed by the terrific response to our 2022 annual campaign — 1000 of you donating a total $100,000. In terms of the news we would cover — although most of it is unpredictable — we knew there would finally be a trial of the Pittsburgh synagogue shooter, and that we would have to figure out how to cover that each day while still reporting the rest of the news.

What we didn’t see coming was a major war for Israel, even though intellectually we always knew that with Hamas, Hezbollah and Iran a major war is a constant threat. For many in the Pittsburgh Jewish community, both individuals and organizations, the war has taken over thoughts, actions and plans. In particular, the need to make donations to Israel and to organizations that support Israel and its people is paramount in many people’s minds. As our readers know, we fully support Israel in its moment of need as well as every other day.

And yet, we ask you to consider the vital role we play in the community’s support of Israel, and indeed in the community’s support of every Jewish organization in Pittsburgh. As we go about our daily work, finding, researching and publishing news stories about the people and organizations in our Jewish community, we are informing everyone else about them and building the connections and engagement that they need to thrive.

There’s also the issue of antisemitism, a constant in our lives and a threat that has mushroomed since the start of the war. A good part of our work is also finding, researching and publishing news stories about antisemitism, whether it comes from the far right, the far left, or elsewhere.

Once again we ask for your generous support. You count on us to bring you Jewish Pittsburgh, and now, more than ever, we count on you — our readers, our supporters, our fellow community members — to help provide us with the resources we need to continue to serve you every day online and every week in print.

Looking around the country, we see that Jewish communities that support their local Jewish newspapers generously have a quality local news product, while those that don’t have either a very poor one or none at all.

Although some of you have generously made contributions this year, this is our first and only campaign for 2023. Now more than ever we ask you now to help maintain award-winning, critical news and information about and for the Pittsburgh Jewish community with your contribution. Thank you for reading, caring and doing what you can to help. PJC

Jim Busis is publisher and CEO of the Pittsburgh Jewish Chronicle.

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