We are reaching out to our friends and neighbors across Philadelphia's Jewish community to provide an important update on the future of the Jewish Exponent.
A Message about the Jewish Exponent
We are reaching out to our friends and neighbors across Philadelphia’s Jewish community to provide an important update on the future of the Jewish Exponent.
Philadelphia’s Jewish community has long benefitted from a weekly newspaper we have proudly called our own. In fact, the Jewish Exponent is today the second-oldest continuously published Jewish newspaper in the United States, tracing its roots all the way back to 1887.
As stewards of our community, it is our responsibility to ensure the future viability of the Exponent, along with The Guide to Jewish Philadelphia and special-interest supplements throughout the year. We also must continue to grow and enhance the Exponent’s increasingly popular digital platform including www.jewishexponent.com and all related social media sites.
It will not come as a surprise to anyone that fewer of us are reading newspapers as more people are getting their news from the Internet, specifically on their mobile devices. We now live in a never-ending 24-hour news cycle and consumers of news expect fresh content delivered not weekly or even daily, but hour-to-hour. It means the Jewish Exponent must change to remain relevant and meaningful in our everyday lives. We also must change because the Exponent, like most newspapers, has not been financially healthy for many years.
That is why today we are proud to announce a new affiliation with Mid-Atlantic Media, a growing media company centered in the Baltimore-Washington, D.C., corridor with which we have contracted for the Jewish Exponent’s editorial and production operations. Readers of Jewish newspapers in three large regional Jewish communities already benefit from the expertise of Mid-Atlantic Media, which today publishes the Baltimore Jewish Times, Washington Jewish Week and Pittsburgh’s Jewish Chronicle.
What can we in Philadelphia expect from Mid-Atlantic Media?
- A commitment to more local content, with less reliance on wire services
- A thriving, vibrant online presence that augments our print edition
- A website optimized for viewing on smartphones and other mobile devices
- A greater commitment to social media content by our journalists
- A newspaper that remains for many years the voice of Philadelphia’s Jewish community
With this new partnership comes a new editor-in-chief, though his name will be familiar to readers of the Exponent. Joshua Runyan, who was born on the Main Line and returned to Philadelphia to attend the University of Pennsylvania, has served as the Exponent’s news editor and religion columnist, and has held other posts over the years at the newspaper. While Josh is based in Baltimore, he will supervise an editorial team that will live and work right here in Philadelphia, including a new managing editor and four writers. This team will be tasked with generating more local content – not just for the weekly print edition, but content that will be regularly updated for our readers who want to check in daily with us from their iPhones, laptops and other portable devices.
It is important to us that you understand that the Exponent will remain Philadelphia’s Jewish newspaper. While the production will now be handled by Mid-Atlantic Media, the Jewish Exponent will maintain oversight of editorial, circulation, marketing, accounting and, perhaps most importantly, sales. We want and need area businesses to see the Exponent as an important place to advertise, and so we will keep those functions local in Philadelphia.
Not only will this new partnership strengthen news content, it will allow us to reverse a troubling trend that sees the Exponent losing $300,000 annually. It is only with the financial support of our owner, the Jewish Federation of Greater Philadelphia, that we have been able to continue to publish. We simply could not continue without making bold changes. To achieve the savings, and to position us for future success, 15 of our 27 positions are being eliminated. We can assure you that the affected Exponent staffers are receiving generous severance packages based on the length of their employment, and we are making their names available to Mid-Atlantic Media for potential rehire to serve on the new editorial team. We thank all of those impacted for their dedicated service. We know this is not easy for them, and our entire team is committed to helping them through this transition.
Please know that before making this decision, we consulted with a number of current and former leaders of our Jewish community to share this vision. In giving us their unequivocal support, they each underscored the important role the Exponent plays in our Jewish community and that change is necessary to see that its future is assured.
Nearly 130 years ago, a group of prominent Philadelphians decided there needed to be a weekly newspaper “devoted to the interests of the Jewish people.” That need remains as true today as it did in the late 19th century. That is what this decision is all about. Please feel free to contact us directly with questions or comments.
Steve Rosenberg – Publisher’s Representative/General Manager
Jay B. Minkoff – Chairman, Jewish Publishing Group