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Tuesday, January 25, 2005

Newspapers Are So 1995

There are those who look to the fact that there are now B"H a multitude of 'chareidi' newspapers and magazines as a salvation, and wonder why anything more is needed.

In 1905, when the Gerer Rebbe other Gedolim were instrumental in founding the first Orthodox newspaper, a newspaper for Orthodox Jews was truly a revolutionary advance, and was viewed as such.

In 1948 the Hebrew daily Hamodia became the postwar successor to the Tageblat, and in recent years English language newspapers have appeared. This is certainly a significant step forward, particularly for our children.
However, newspapers no longer fill the 1905 niche, and here is why. A century ago newspapers were the main source of news. Large metropolises had a morning paper and an afternoon paper, and between the two publications an individual or family was current on the news and had plenty of features to read.Beginning in the 1950's many cities lost their afternoon papers as people discovered the radio was a better way to keep current.

All news and news/talk stations began to become popular in the sixties. Until Bill Clinton and his ilk added concepts to the news which would have earned a jail term for a broadcaster a few years earlier, even dedicated ‘kolel yunger leit', including those rejecting much of the modern world, would repair to radio news morning and evening.
Now, it can be maintained that our community missed the boat both in Israel and chutz l'oratz by not continuing what pre-war gedolim sacrificed for (which in my view was not newspapers per se but media access) and trying to create a radio station or network.

We look at newspapers as the main point – false! Newspapers were simply the only media a century ago. Our own media, and utilizing the tools of progress for Yiddishkeit and Tahara – that was what the of gedolim of yesterday meant!

The Internet could and should have been a solution. It includes much of the upside of radio without the downside. It can provide radio broadcasting, video of news events, and printable articles, all without venturing beyond the 'daled amos' of yiddishkeit if one so desires. In addition, the investment required is so much less than purchasing public bandwidth.

Moreover, it has become the main source of news for many of us, continuously updated and with much less (unsuitable) advertising intrusion than other media.

Rather than than saying no, and then ignoring ourselves, we should be there!

Is anyone listening?

6 Comments:

Blogger TheProf said...

Leapa I'm afraid I may be the only one listening, unless we receive more comments. You seem to be hitting a lot of nails squarly on the head with this blog site of yours. You take issue with the fact that newspapers remain the media of choice for disseminating information that is "all the news thats fit to print". and you are correct. and radio isn't any better. in fact, it can be worse cause you can tear out news articles that aren't "fit to read". back in the clinton era, i didn't listen to radio at all because most broadcasts were about clinton and his escapades and couldn't be listened to. a charedi news service such as that offered by yahoo etc, but geared to the needs of our community would be welcome. but hey, leapa, you wanna be the one to put it together? you had enough problems trying to get your views across to klal yisroel.

9:10 AM  
Blogger Rachack said...

i read but i dont post so much.

1:21 PM  
Blogger Leapa said...

Well, it's not quite that bad. My readership is huge, my comments are another matter. Maybe everyone agrees with me, with everyone else, with whomever. Maybe they just are agreeable.
I'd love to be a part of it. I wish I had the resources to do it all.

3:41 PM  
Blogger Leapa said...

To clarify, the resources to run or help run an on-line constantly updated news and commentary source for us.

3:44 PM  
Blogger Michael said...

You said:

<< Now, it can be maintained that our community missed the boat both in Israel and chutz l'oratz by not continuing what pre-war gedolim sacrificed for (which in my view was not newspapers per se but media access) and trying to create a radio station or network. >>

What about the yiddish radio station in New York that existed until about ten years ago? Or the weekly motzei shabbos gemarra shiur that R' Teitz zt"l, of Elizabeth NJ, used to give?

I think people tried but there was no audience for it, though I'm not exactly sure why...I'll leave that for you to comment on if you'd like.

1:04 AM  
Blogger Leapa said...

The yiddish radio station was not oriented toward the Orthodox community.
Moreover, they were a second hand source of news, which made them useless in terms of news.
I'm thinking more of a source subscribing directly to news feeds, and providing first rate commentary and features.
Similarly, Rov Teitz was an original thinker. However, he never got to the point of Eli Teitelbaum's Dial-A-Daf & Dial-A-Shiur, which are more successful, and certainly not to a Mesorah/Artscroll standard of writing and professionalism. (Incidentally, Artscroll uses the internet heavily, with all of their Haskomas)
Our crowd turns to the outside when we on the inside don't offer quality and timeliness.
The existing Orthodox newspapers (Hamodia & Yated) do now offer quality news and commentary. (They had a steep learning curve)
But they are frequently too little, too late in today's fast moving world.

8:43 AM  

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