The independent Jewish newspaper—which resumed publication in August after a public campaign to save it—made a comeback with increased subscription costs and an upheaval in staff. And now the newspaper is undergoing a major redesign for the first time in 30 years, says editor-in-chief Yoni Goldstein. 
 

A preview of the redesigned Canadian Jewish News, which will be launched on April 10

By Tamara Baluja, Associate Editor

The Canadian Jewish News (CJN) is undergoing a major redesign for the first time in 30 years, said editor-in-chief Yoni Goldstein.

The independent Jewish newspaper—which resumed publication in August after a public campaign to save it—made a comeback with increased subscription costs and upheaval in staff. Goldstein, who joined the newspaper in January, said CJN is making a conscious decision, both editorially and in its design, to attract a younger audience with a news magazine style. That means more visuals, a fresh look and more analysis and commentary from younger columnists..

Goldstein, 33, said tapping into a younger audience is crucial for CJN’s long-term viability.

“If you take a look at the issues we’ve published since I arrived, you’ll see our focus has turned to discussing the real issues in the Canadian Jewish community,” he said. “The cover of this week’s issue, for example, features an essay by a 30-something Torontonian on the changing meaning of ‘Never Again’ … what does it mean for the younger generation whose grandparents or great grandparents lived through the Holocaust and how does this generation understand that concept today?”


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CJN has managed to win back its older subscriber base. But with the changes it has made editorially, including what Goldstein described as an “edgier, younger tone,” the newspaper’s website has seen a spike in traffic over the past two months.

“To be frank, a lot of readers are not coming to us for the breaking news, because they already get that online or from the daily newspapers,” Goldstein told J-Source. “What they want from us is more analysis on what that news or development means for them. They want that debate and commentary.”

Goldstein said the newspaper will also bring more debate to the forefront of the newspaper. “We will have this interesting new feature, for example, where we have two rabbis email about a topic of interest to them—it could be about Jewish law, it could be about something cultural or social, or current events—and then we’ll publish an edited version of that exchange in the newspaper.”

The redesigned print newspaper will be launched on April 10, with a website redesign planned for later this year, Goldstein said.  

“It’s been a long time coming,” said CJN president Elizabeth Wolfe in a press release. “We really hadn’t modernized the paper in far too long.”

The CJN also has some upcoming initiatives to attract subscribers outside of its primary markets in Toronto and Montreal. “We are also exploring ways to enhance our service to other Canadian cities where Jewish communities have expressed a strong interest in receiving the CJN,” Goldstein said.

Wolfe said she hopes the redesign will emphasize the message that the CJN is sticking around.  

“We want to send a message to our advertisers and to our readers that we’re here to stay,” she said. “And we hope the Jewish community will show its support for this great publication by reading and subscribing to the new CJN.”


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Tamara Baluja is an award-winning journalist with CBC Vancouver and the 2018 Michener-Deacon fellow for journalism education. She was the associate editor for J-Source from 2013-2014.