This article was first published as “Tech-savvy duo use social media in bid to save Canada’s Jewish weekly” in The Times of Israel.
If you think tech-savvy young people don’t read or care about printed Jewish newspapers, then you haven’t met Alana Kayfetz and Rachel Singer. These two young Toronto women are spearheading a grassroots effort to save the Canadian Jewish News, which is set to cease publication on June 20.
Kayfetz and Singer, both 29 and both CJN subscribers, were devastated to read an April 22 letter to readers from CJN President Donald Carr announcing Canada’s flagship national Jewish newspaper had succumbed to the two biggest challenges plaguing printed media: diminished advertising revenue and the widespread expectation that news and commentary be made available for free. Carr mentioned the hope that the CJN could continue in a digital format, but he was not specific about such plans.
“We made substantial operating changes, which we thought would assist. After careful analysis, we have concluded that they do not,” Carr explained. The decision was made to cease publishing the weekly and to use whatever assets were left to wrap things up properly and pay severance to the approximately 50 employees who had been putting out the paper’s Toronto and Montreal editions.
With the disappearance of the CJN from newsstands and mailboxes, the Canadian Jewish community would be left with only one non-regional paper, B’nai Brith Canada’s The Jewish Tribune, and several local Jewish publications.
Kayfetz and Singer immediately sprung into action, using modern social media tools to try to save the 53-year-old weekly tabloid, which is more often seen in the hands of older people than in those of the women’s mobile device-toting peers. Within hours of launching their “Save the CJN” website, they discovered hundreds of other Millennials felt the same way.
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© 2013 Renee Ghert-Zand. All rights reserved