It has been 4 1/2 years since I acquired the Atlanta Jewish Times, our community’s newspaper. Since January 2015, our community has witnessed the AJT continually grow and transform. We strive to create an engaging, diverse and balanced publication to entice a larger readership, offer a paper that has something for everyone, and ensure we are inclusive to all members of our community. A tall order indeed.
In our effort to grow, evolve and learn, our newspaper maintains an active membership with the American Jewish Press Association. Each year the AJPA hosts a conference for Jewish publications from around the U.S. and Israel, and their publishers, editors, writers and sales teams gather to spend three days collaborating and learning from one another.
The Jewish Light newspaper in St. Louis, Mo., hosted this year’s conference right under the famous Gateway Arch.
St. Louis is beautiful and the people at the local federation and the Jewish Light hosted a very productive and valuable conference that filled the attendees with ambition, knowledge and great ideas to execute back home for their own communities’ benefit. I would specifically like to thank Ellen Futterman, editor of the St. Louis Jewish Light, and Scott Berzon, executive director, for their time and efforts organizing a great meeting and wonderful event.
There are about 100 Jewish publications in the U.S. Our very own Adolph Rosenberg was a founding member of the AJPA in 1944 (along with Bob Cohen, editor-in-chief emeritus of the St. Louis Jewish Light). Today, the AJPA represents 60 publication members, and almost half attended this year’s conference.
Believe it or not, Jewish media and publications have their own Pulitzer Prize. These prestigious awards that honor achievements in Jewish media are called the Simon Rockower Jewish Journalism Awards and are bestowed annually at this conference. These awards were created in 1979 as a tribute to Simon Rockower by his sons and family to honor his deep love for the craft of Jewish Journalism. Rockower believed that self-respect was gained by being proud of your religion and your people.
I am honored to report that the Atlanta Jewish Times brought home four Rockower awards this year, recognizing stories and issues published during 2018. You may even remember a few of them:
Award for Excellence in Single Commentary
First Place: “A Stolen Son” by guest columnist Dr. Steven Waronker
Award for Excellence in Feature Writing
First Place: “Tikkun Olam: Different Strokes for Different Folks” by Dave Schechter
Award for Excellence in Overall Graphic Design
First Place: “Chanukah,” “Home & Garden,” and “Jewish Love” issues by Deborah Herr Richter
Award for Excellence in Writing about Food and Wine
Second Place: “A Jewish Thanksgiving” by Roni Robbins
In addition, Kaylene Ladinsky, our managing publisher and editor, was nominated to serve on the executive board of the AJPA for this upcoming term.
As owner of this newspaper, I am very proud of our accomplishments. When I spoke with other Jewish newspaper professionals, I came to realize that the AJT is easily one of the top Jewish newspapers published in the United States. I can’t express enough gratitude to our subscribers and advertisers. It is your financial support that enables us to continue our mission of Keeping Jewish Atlanta Connected. I would be remiss if I did not encourage anyone not currently subscribing to the AJT’s home delivery to please do so. Not because you need the paper delivered in your mailbox, but to support and help sustain your local Jewish newspaper. It’s only $1.30 per week.
In closing, I am excited to announce that the 2020 AJPA Annual Conference and 39th annual AJPA Simon Rockower Awards are Atlanta bound. Please mark your calendars and get ready to host Jewish media professionals from all over the United States and Israel, tentatively scheduled for June 28 to July 1, 2020, at the Omni Atlanta Hotel at CNN Center. I personally want to invite our community to join the conference. Look out for more details later this year.