Tuesday, December 1, 2009

A to Zeddy...

So the AJN’s latest recruit Zeddy Lawrence has arrived to take on the top job. Presumably he hopes to last longer than the numerous previous occupiers of that chair.

He has an unenviable task trying to increase circulation figures or at least put a stop the ongoing loss of circulation and try to ensure that the paper at least breaks even. The other unpalatable option is for the AJN to continue being a money-losing plaything for one rich Jew after the other.
Who can blame the previous AJN proprietors, who, after having a bit of fun, were relieved to find another ‘sucker’ upon whom to dump a financially (and otherwise) rapidly diminishing asset? All the recent business moguls with delusions of being mini-press barons quickly lost interest. The Kleins, Pratts nor the Adlers. Current owner, property developer Robert Magid will no doubt get sick of holding on to an a money-losing asset.
(But let’s not forget one obvious advantage enjoyed by some of the previous proprietors. Ie, ensuring that despite the efforts of the general media, the AJN carried no reports about certain financial and personal unpleasantness regarding themselves, their friends and/or family members. That must’ve been worth SOMETHING.)
So Zeddy, you have your work cut out for you.

Here’s some advice. Have a good look at who your demographics are. Who in the Jewish community is interested in a Jewish newspaper?

It definitely isn’t those who have lost most of their connections with Jewish values and traditions. There is very little future for the AJN in the reform/progressive/liberal sector. After all many (most?) are probably not halachically Jewish and even less so their children. As for the ‘mainstream’ orthodox, some are probably interested in reading a decent Jewish newspaper. But you will soon come to realise that the future of Jewry in Australia comes from the members of the 'traditionalists’, the modern Orthodox, the Charedim and Chassidim and the hundreds of Baalei Teshuva.
Cater to their needs and the AJN has a chance of survival. Antagonize or ignore them at your own peril.

Zeddy, you may not have heard, but the newspaper Hamodia – whose British edition sells thousands of copies weekly – has also been available locally for the past couple of years. It has built up an fiercely loyal readership of several thousand people who are prepared to pay $6 a week for the pleasure. For this they get 4-5 times as much reading material as in the Jewish News including dozens of pages of world, Jewish and communal news and features. Compare that to the few pages of cut-and-paste stuff served up to the readers of the AJN (most of which they have long ago seen on the net).
Is it any surprise thatyour newspaper is generally considered to have the status of the weekly free suburban throwaways?

The ONLY thing going for the AJN are the “hatches, matches and dispatches” notices. But even that too has changed since the advent of community e-mail news services by a number of Melbourne and Sydney congregations. Their information is available immediately as it happens, rather than waiting until Thursday.
To add to the AJN’s misery, there is a persistent rumor that some enterprising chaps are planning a free email service listing all life-cycle events culled from the Melbourne and Sydney editions of the AJN. No doubt many would avail themselves to this service and pocket a saving of $3.50 per week.

So good-luck Zeddy. You sure need it.

1 comment:

  1. No idea who or what this Zeddy (funny name) is. But I doubt that he will hold the job for too long. Even serious newspapers like the Age are struggling these days - and has anyone seen the printed media projections in the US?

    Sure Magid has plenty of dosh to keep it going. But he fun of being a media mogul dissipates pretty quickly especially a rag like the Jewish News which has no original quality material.

    In fact the reason why they go on and on ad naseaum with 'scandals' in the religious community is only because they have very little other stuff to feed their readers.

    Though I am not from that demographic, since I picked up the Hamodia 6 weeks ago, I have become its biggest fan. Zeddy should have a good look at it and try to emulate their style - quality and quantity


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