More than four months after the Jewish Journal launched an emergency fundraising campaign to keep publishing the paper, the Greater Boston Jewish and interfaith community has responded – donating over $100,000, and in the process, ensuring that the Journal will continue to publish its print edition.
“This is a remarkable endorsement by the community for Jewish journalism,” said Steven Rosenberg, the Journal’s publisher and editor. “This essentially was a referendum on the future of the Journal and it’s clear that our readership sees us as a major link to the Greater Boston Jewish community.”
The paper, which is free and mailed to over 10,000 subscribers, was founded in 1977 and has long depended on three sources of revenue to publish. Print advertising provides about two-thirds of the funding, and reader donations and grants provide the rest, according to Rosenberg. By early April, after the Covid-19 health crisis began, the Journal’s print advertising had dropped more than 50 percent, and at the time the paper faced an uncertain future. With a projected shortfall of around $200,000, the paper froze more than $40,000 in spending, and turned to the public to help keep the presses rolling.
Almost immediately, people began to contribute. By the first week of May, readers had donated over $55,000. Also, the paper was approved to receive a loan from the federal Payroll Protection Program, and through the assistance of the National Grand Bank in Marblehead, received $68,500 in funding – allowing the Journal to keep employees on the payroll.
On its pages, the paper detailed the profound impact Covid has had on the community, and readers continued to donate. By early June, $75,000 had been raised, and earlier this month, more than $100,000 in donations had been received by the Journal. In addition, two grants from organizations that requested anonymity totaling more than $50,000 were also received.
Neil Donnenfeld, president of the Journal’s Board of Overseers, thanked readers for their dedication to the publication. “Thank you all for lifting us up, by donating generously, and allowing us to continue to serve the community we all cherish so much. We sincerely hope all of you feel good about the Journal that you have generously supported, and that you are pleased with our work. We could not do it without you,” he said.
In recent months, the health crisis has had a deep financial impact on print and Jewish journalism. The New York Jewish Week, one of the largest circulated Jewish papers in the U.S., halted its print publication, vacated its Times Square newsroom and offices and is now solely online. Also, last month, the New Jersey Jewish News announced it would shut down after publishing for 74 years. And further north, The Canadian Jewish News, the flagship Jewish paper in Canada, ceased publication in the spring.