Sixty years ago, the Pittsburgh Jewish community decided that it was more feasible to sustain one Jewish newspaper rather than two. The Jewish Criterion (1895) and the American Jewish Outlook (1934) effectively became The Jewish Chronicle. An incredible amount has changed in the economics and technology of news publishing since 1962, as have the customs and concerns of the Jewish community.
One thing that hasn’t changed, however, is the central role that a local Jewish news publication plays in the daily life of a Jewish community.
Beginning in the mid-1990s with the development of the internet, the pressure on traditional media, including local Jewish newspapers, has grown relentlessly. The pandemic added a sudden body blow by creating a severe drop in advertising. And for the past year, a return of inflation to a level not seen for a generation has added even more financial pressure.
The Chronicle has made adjustments to respond to all these changes, including during the pandemic. We’ve seen a flowering of our digital offerings, with a new website, expanded email newsletters and an enhanced presence on social media. We’ve revamped our printed newspaper and distribute it for free to more members of the Pittsburgh Jewish community than ever. And readers tell us that our editorial quality is the best it’s ever been.
However, the financial pressures on us continue tenaciously. We have cut costs to the bone, and beyond. Due to profound industry changes, advertising will never return to levels seen in years past, but we are doing everything we can to grow our print and digital ad revenue. In particular, we began a partnership this summer with the Cleveland Jewish News to grow our ad revenue, and early results are promising. We also continue to develop our base of both large and small donors.
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. Going from two Pittsburgh Jewish newspapers to one in 1962 made sense. However, if we were to go from one Pittsburgh Jewish news publisher to none, our community would be immeasurably poorer and weaker.
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. Our annual campaign last year, with the memorable theme “No news is not good news,” brought an unprecedented and generous response — more than 1,000 of you donated more than $100,000.
Although some of you have generously made contributions this year, this is our first and only campaign for 2022. We ask you now to help maintain award-winning, critical news and information about and for the Pittsburgh Jewish community for the next 60 years with your generous contribution. Thank you for reading, caring and doing what you can to help. PJC
Publisher and CEO
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