The introduction of the Columbus Jewish News, columbusjewishnews.com, CJN Presents 12 Under 36 and An Evening with Henry Winkler were just some of the accomplishments highlighted June 6 at the 55th annual meeting of the Cleveland Jewish Publication Company at the company’s Beachwood offices.
At a time when most news-gathering organizations are decreasing news coverage, reducing staff and shuttering newspapers, the CJPC is expanding its footprint in Northeast and Central Ohio – and raising its profile nationally and internationally through digital platforms.
The combined circulation of the Cleveland Jewish News and the Columbus Jewish News has doubled in the past year, said David R. Hertz II, CJPC Board Chair.
Hertz welcomed Michael Broidy, senior vice president of corporate affairs for Schottenstein Stores Corp., to the board. He is the first member to live in Greater Columbus and his appointment follows the CJN’s launch of the Columbus Jewish News in August 2018.
“At that time we determined one of our next steps would be to place someone from the Columbus Jewish community onto our board,” Hertz said after the meeting. “We have been highly fortunate to bring Michael Broidy onto our board. He will prove to be invaluable because of his insight into the Jewish community in Columbus.”
“It is an honor to be the first Columbus representative on the CJPC Board of Directors,” Broidy said. “I look forward to working with the board and staff in continuing to build on the fine work they have done in publishing the Columbus Jewish News.”
In addition, Ari H. Jaffe, David J. Sherriff and Ilene Butensky Brehm were elected to the board. Jerry Schmelzer, Barbara Schwartz and David Toth rotated off the board.
Hertz spoke of the three revenue streams that build financial stability for the company: community events, specialty publications and the communication of news, which is published in the newspapers, websites and via email and social media.
“The stability of this three-legged stool is our strength and allows us to elevate our presence and beneficial impact to the community,” he said.
He credited the work of Kevin S. Adelstein, publisher and CEO of the Cleveland Jewish News and president of the CJPC.
“Given the industry context, the CJPC has had a phenomenal year,” Hertz said.
Hertz highlighted the appearance of Henry Winkler, who packed the 800-seat sanctuary at Anshe Chesed Fairmount Temple in Beachwood, as well as the awards the newspaper has garnered.
“Digitally, we are killing it,” Hertz said. “The traffic at cjn.org is up about 30% year-over-year; Columbus is up more than 15% since the August launch.”
Serving the community was foremost in remarks made by Adelstein.
“We’ve been forced to break news at all hours, whether it’s Shabbat or not,” said Adelstein, referring to the Breaking News alerts sent to the community about the shootings at Poway of Chabad and the company preference to not disseminate news on Shabbat. “And this is an incidence where we were forced to send out breaking news across both of our communities when we first learned of what was taking place in Poway and then as we updated it later on when we learned there were fatalities involved actually. So this was a demonstration of news-gathering services around the clock day or night, Shabbat or no Shabbat. If it’s important and relevant to our community, we’re going to get the message out there loud and clear.”
In addition, Breaking News alerts were sent on Shabbat in October after the shootings at the Tree of Life Congregation in Pittsburgh.
In a Powerpoint presentation, Adelstein flashed headlines of hard-hitting stories and widely read features in the pages of the CJN and on its website. He also spoke about the company’s growing tribute book publishing department as well as city magazines. The CJPC, which produces South Euclid Magazine and Lyndhurst Life, added Mosaic, University Heights’ new magazine.
In addition, the CJN hosted the American Jewish Press Association’s annual conference in Cleveland and partnered with Anshe Chesed Fairmount Temple in Beachwood to provide a meal for federal employees furloughed during the government shutdown. This summer, the Columbus Jewish News is launching 18 Difference Makers.
Hertz also spoke of anti-Semitic events of the past year, particularly the shootings in Pittsburgh and Poway, Calif.
“It seems the white supremacist march in Charlottesville, Va., nearly two years ago was a precursor, not an anomaly,” he said. “You may recall the headline of the May 3 edition of the CJN. It was a quote from Poway Rabbi Yisroel Goldstein: ‘We are strong. We are united. They can’t break us.’”
In that same newspaper, he said, the CJN reported the Anti-Defamation League’s annual statistics under the headline, “New ADL report: Anti-Semitism increased 20% in Ohio.”
“As a dynamic news and community organization, the CJN has a responsibility to rise to this challenge and help our community and communities across Ohio and the nation address this encroaching ugliness.”
Hertz said the editorial staff “will cover the challenges and stresses anti-Semitism and hate speech are imposing on our community. They also will cover the solutions that organizations – both Jewish and non-Jewish – are employing to shine the light and drive out the darkness.”
He announced the CJN will host a special event in October to mark the first anniversary of the Tree of Life Congregation massacre, which will be “the cornerstone of extended coverage honoring the Pittsburgh victims and addressing the anti-Semitism, hate and violence that is becoming all too prevalent.”
“The CJN stands against anti-Semitism,” Hertz said. “The CJN supports the state of Israel. The CJN serves the Jewish communities in which it does business.
“We now have an opportunity and an obligation to serve our community and with even greater urgency.”