We’d like to make something clear to the readers of the New Jersey Jewish News: We hear you.
Since September, when The Jewish Week Media Group began publishing the award-winning NJJN, a number of you have weighed in with comments — some solicited and some not — about the product you hold in your hands. And we truly welcome the feedback.
The transition has been a work in progress, blending new and longtime staff and seeking to better understand the communities we serve and their particular interests, personalities, and culture. We’d like to share with you here what we’ve been hearing and respond in kind. And of course, we hope to continue to interact with you about what you read and don’t read, what you like and don’t like. This is, we hope, an ongoing relationship.
We appreciate the many positive comments we’ve received about the contents and look of the publication. But more important, we want to share with you the criticisms; the one we hear most often is that the editorial content leans too far to the left. For the record, that is not our intention. We see our role as being the voice — and at times conscience — of the community, and we do not have a political or religious ideology to promote.
But we understand the perception, especially since NJJN endorsed a presidential candidate — a first for us, last fall — and it was the Democratic nominee. As we explained in the accompanying editorial, our decision was based on our belief that the 2016 presidential election was unique, and about more than politics. It was, as we wrote, “about character, competence, and compassion,” and we felt Donald Trump lacked those values.
Further, some readers have voiced concern over the number of news stories and columns we’ve published on Muslim-Jewish relations. Specifically, these critics say American Muslims should be viewed more with a sense of vigilance than neighborliness, and that our coverage has been excessive. We understand the apprehension, but we see the issue of Jewish-Muslim relations as an increasingly important one, locally and nationally. Whether these two minority groups come to see themselves as allies or enemies in the U.S. is of vital interest to us all. Avoiding the issue won’t make it go away.
In seeking to serve you with fairness and balance, please know that we are reaching out to several thoughtful columnists in an effort to reflect both liberal and conservative points of view. We are constantly seeking to deepen our coverage and widen our reach, and we trust that over time you will appreciate reading perspectives that can sometimes challenge your beliefs.
Ours is an independent voice, and we seek to engage all segments of the community by combining journalistic integrity with Jewish values. We deeply appreciate your support and encourage you to let us know your thoughts about NJJN through Letters to the Editor, Opinion essays, etc.
After all, it’s your paper.