JOURNALISM


JOURNALISM
Jews have played a major role in journalism since the early years of the profession. Publishers, editors, columnists, and reporters contributed to the development of political analysis, mass circulation techniques, methods of worldwide news gathering, chain journalism, and techniques that deepened the influence and impact of the written word. The overall number of Jews engaged in journalism in various countries is actually small. The significance of their contributions is readily apparent, however, in any examination of the relatively new, constantly changing and developing field of communications. There have been Jews who distinguished themselves in journalism by their direction of some of the leading and most influential papers of the day. In the United States there were Adolph S. ochs and arthur hays sulzberger of The New York Times, joseph pulitzer of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, The World, and the Evening World, and samuel newhouse , newspaper chain owner; in Germany, Leopold ullstein and bernhard wolff ; in Britain, Baron paul julius reuter of the news agency bearing his name, Lord southwood of the Daily Herald, and Joseph Moses Levy and his son Lord Burnham (see lawson family) of the Daily Telegraph, the newspaper which, selling at a penny and aiming at popular appeal, started the trend toward brighter newspapers. In the 1890s rachel beer edited two leading London weeklies owned by her husband. The overwhelming majority of publishers and editors, however, were and are non-Jewish, notwithstanding the old canard that the world's press is controlled by Jews. Jews entered the main currents of journalism when they entered the mainstream of life in Europe. In the late 18th century, emancipation broke down the ghetto walls and Jews were able to enter a world from which they had been excluded. Modern journalism was born after the French and American Revolutions. The freedom to think, to speak, and to write sought expression in the journals then developing, which were read by the rapidly growing educated and semi-educated population of the cities and towns. The Jew emerging from the ghetto was thus in the right place at the right time. German Jews, excluded before 1848 from the professions for which they had been trained, were disproportionately prominent in journalism during this early period and tended to advocate "radical" liberal views. His gift of adaptability permitted the Jew to act as an intermediary, the link between the event and the reader, as the journalist has often been called. Jewish journalists were active during the 19th century in Austria, Czechoslovakia, Germany, and Hungary, and to a somewhat lesser degree in the United States, England, France, and Romania. Small numbers also worked with the general press in Scandinavia, the Baltic states, Italy, Belgium, Russia, the Netherlands, Spain, Portugal, the Balkans, and Switzerland. Involvement of the Jew in journalism in other areas of the world came later. The activities of Jewish journalists were proscribed, of course, in those countries where antisemitism was practiced officially during the 20th century. Jewish journalists and publishers who led some of Germany's most important newspaper enterprises became the special targets of the Nazis. Some were killed; others fled their homeland to practice their craft in a different land. For at least two decades the voice of Jewish journalists was stilled in Germany and for years also in countries overrun by the Germans. In the United States, Jews became part of the developing journalism of the new land early in its history. But it took almost a century and a half for any measurable numbers of Jews to enter the profession. Jewish engagement in journalism in the United States began with mordecai manuel noah , editor of the Enquirer in New York. Similarly, in Europe, Jewish participation began almost with the birth of modern journalism. The impact and influence of Jews on the general press increased markedly during the 19th and 20th centuries. Jews did not work as Jews. In Europe, talented Jewish writers turned to journalism as the best means of expressing themselves. The emancipated mind and spirit often eschewed such traditional forms of expression as poetry and fiction in favor of journalism, which had brightness and novelty. In Germany and Austria, Jewish influence in the new craft was marked by the contributions of such outstanding men as heinrich heine and   ludwig boerne (in the Augsburger Zeitung), and karl marx (in the Rheinische Zeitung), and by the efforts of Daniel Spitzer (1835–93) and moritz saphir , by the work of theodore herzl , max nordau , and alfred polgar . David Kalisch founded Kladderadatsch in 1848 and made it famous as a satirical journal. His collaborator was the poet Rudolf Loewenstein. Important publishing enterprises were begun by Rudolf mosse , who in 1872 founded the Berliner Tageblatt; leopold sonnemann , who founded the Frankfurter Zeitung in 1856; and Leopold Ullstein, publisher, whose Morgenpost reached a circulation of 600,000. Herzl, Nordau, and Spitzer wrote for the Neue Freie Presse of Vienna, making it one of the outstanding journals of its day. Eduard Bacher was its publisher. Moritz Saphir published the witty paper Der Humorist (1837), and Polgar won a reputation through his contributions to Die Weltbuehne. Bernhard Wolff founded the Wolff Telegraphic Bureau in 1848. This fruitful period of the 19th century was also marked by the journalistic work of gabriel riesser , johann jacoby , and edward lasker . The primary contribution of the most famous of these was in the form of the feuilleton, a personal essay or commentary that has no precise counterpart in present-day journalism. The feuilleton was marked by a highly personal character and a well-developed style. In America only Simeon Strunsky could be said to have reflected this special skill. Several decades later the field attracted such names as karl kraus , egon erwin kisch , kurt tucholsky , theodore wolff , who served as editor in chief of the Berliner Tageblatt, and georg bernhard , editor in chief of the Vossische Zeitung. The early 20th century also saw the development of a large group of art, music, and drama critics, such as alfred kerr , who produced a quantity of creative criticism which influenced and fostered the arts. In Great Britain, first mention of a Jewish journalist is made by Oliver Goldsmith in his Haunch of Venison (1776). Emanuel Samuel (d. 1818) contributed to the Morning Post as early as 1786 and later worked in The World. He is the first Anglo-Jewish journalist on record, followed at the end of the century by lewis goldsmith , a vigorous political writer and propagandist. The contribution of Jews was greater in publishing and organizing than in writing. Men like ralph d. blumenfeld of the Daily Express, Lord Burnham (Levy), founder of the Daily Telegraph, Paul Julius Reuter, founder of Reuter's news agency, and Lord Southwood (Elias) of the Daily Herald, were among the builders of the modern British press. Other important names in British journalism were Sidney low , editor of the St. James Gazette, lucien wolf , foreign editor of the Daily Graphic, Henri Georges Stephane adolphe opper de blowitz , correspondent of The Times, and Bernard Falk, editor of the Sunday Dispatch. While a number of leading columnists in the British press in recent years have been Jewish, such as The Times' bernard levin , Jewish ownership of the British press in recent decades has been slight, with only the ill-fated period of ownership of the Daily Mirror by robert maxwell being an exception. In the 1990s the Daily Telegraph was owned by the non-Jewish but strongly pro-Zionist Canadian, Conrad Black (Lord Black of Crossharbour), whose Jewish wife, Barbara Amiel, had an influential pro-Israeli column in the paper. In France, Jewish journalists were concerned primarily with politics, although several were active in literature. Perhaps the nation's foremost journalist was leon blum , who did his principal journalistic work in the period 1920 to 1939 in such papers as L'Humanité and Le Populaire. Blum, Joseph reinach , and bernard lazare were three of France's greatest journalists at the turn of the 20th century. Other French journalists of repute were Marcel Hutin of L'Echo de Paris and L'Epoque, Pierre Lazareff, general director of Paris Soir, George London of Le Journal, Jacques Kayser of La Dépêche de Toulouse, Arthur Meyer of Le Gaulois, and Louise Weiss of L'Europe nouvelle. In Italy, with its relatively small Jewish population, Jewish journalists made important contributions to the country's liberal movements. Among the most prominent were Cesare Rovighi; angiolo orvieto , who with his brother Adolfo founded the Florentine weekly, Il Marzocco; Giacomo Dina, editor of Opinione; Salvatore barzilai , foreign editor of La Tribuna; and Margherita Sarfatti, literary editor of Il Popolo d'Italia, who became a member of Mussolini's inner circle. In Russia and Poland where the suppression of Jews was a continuing governmental policy, several journalists of importance emerged. During the Bolshevik period, many Jewish revolutionaries engaged in newspaper work for political purposes, and ilya ehrenburg won international fame as a journalist of uncommon ability. In Poland the name of isaac ignac schwarzbart stands out with those of Wilhelm Berkelhammer, Joseph Perl, and Florian Sokolow. Schwarzbart directed the most important paper in Lvov. In Scandinavia, Jews held important posts on papers in Denmark. Among the journalists were carl brandes , who helped to found Politiken, M.A. Goldschmidt , Moritz Nathansen, and Gottlieb Siesby. In Holland, Marcus van Blankenstein, louis de jong , Eduard Elias, Joseph F. Stoppelman, and Arnold Vaz Dias were important. Jews entered the general Hungarian press during the 1840s when newspapers appeared mainly in German. Active in liberal organs and in the production of pamphlets which preached assimilation, most of them changed their faith. In the revolution of 1848, they attained high posts in the government service. After 1867, the year of "The Compromise" (which ended Austrian domination) and the year of emancipation of Hungarian Jewry, Jews had an important part in the founding of a modern press and its technical organization. Jews worked on almost every paper (except those openly antisemitic), from the nationalist papers which preached complete assimilation for all minorities to the radical and socialist, where the Jews were in a majority. In 1910, out of 1,214 journalists in Hungary, 516 were Jews; but in 1920 their number had dropped to 358, and continued to fall. From 1938 onward Jews were ousted from editorial posts under the provisions of antisemitic legislation; only a small percentage retained their jobs. During   the first hours of the German invasion in 1944, the Hungarian Nazis, using prepared lists, hunted down the Jewish journalists still at work and had them sent to the extermination camps. From 1945, during the period of the coalition administration, which was set up after World War II, Jews regained important positions, especially in the socialist and communist press; but after the rise of the communist regime they tried to conceal their Jewish identity. Unlike the European press (primarily concerned with ideas), the press in the United States focuses its attention on information and news. It is chiefly devoted to reporting the events of the world and not to the propagation of opinions. Jews became active in journalism not long after the first papers made their appearance in the colonies (1704–30). In the first quarter of the 19th century Mordecai Noah was the editor of the City Gazette of Charleston, South Carolina and later the editor and publisher of the New York Enquirer. Noah also helped James Gordon Bennett to establish the New York Herald in 1835. A visionary and dreamer with a Zionist ideal long before the word itself was invented, Noah may be said to have been the first important Jewish journalist in the New World. He was among the first to attempt to enliven his paper for the benefit of the ordinary reader. As in Europe, Jewish journalists participated in all sections – in publishing, chain journalism, circulation techniques, and writing. Their overall numbers are small. Of the 1,800 dailies published in the United States at the end of the 20th century about 50 were owned by Jews, among them some of the most influential – The New York Times, The Daily News in New York, and the 22 papers owned by Samuel I. Newhouse. As on the Continent, it is difficult to define the distinctive Jewish contribution. Most Jewish journalists on the staffs of the general press were entirely integrated into American newspaper routines. An early figure of importance was edward rosewater , who worked during the second half of the 19th century in Nebraska as a correspondent and owner of the Omaha Bee (1871). The earliest papers in the New World were commonly called penny papers. They were sensational in their treatment of news, and their attitude was to influence the journalism of two outstanding American Jewish publishers, Joseph Pulitzer and Adolph Ochs, whose papers were among the most important in the nation. Pulitzer purchased The New York World in 1883 after having followed an aggressive policy in earlier penny-paper journalism, both in news and editorial columns. He engaged in numerous crusades, one of the most important of which was the exposure of the mismanagement of life insurance companies in New York City. He introduced political cartoons, striking illustrations, colored pictures, and colored comics. The circulation of The World rose and in 1886 it claimed the largest circulation of any newspaper in the United States – 250,000. Pulitzer and William Randolph Hearst, who had purchased the Morning Journal in 1895, vied with each other in sensationalism. Their rivalry gave rise to the expression "yellow journalism." Pulitzer was an ardent believer in professional training, and provided a large endowment for a school of journalism, which was opened at Columbia University in 1912, as well as for the prizes in journalism and the arts that bear his name. Adolph Ochs took another road. When he became publisher of The New York Times, he issued a statement of purpose under a signature that is still the basic credo of the paper: "… to give the news impartially, without fear or favor, regardless of any party, sect or interest involved…" Ochs recognized that New York was beginning to tire of sensationalism and he promised to give straight news as fast as, or faster than, any other paper. He thought of The New York Times as a kind of public institution of which he had only temporary charge, and was fiercely determined that no individual, or favored group, would ever use it selfishly or for self-glorification. When he died he was succeeded by his son-in-law, arthur hays sulzberger , whose youngest son, Arthur Ochs Sulzberger, became publisher in 1963. His son, Arthur Sulzberger Jr., succeeded him and was publisher and chairman of the board of the New York Times Company, a publicly traded corporation, through the early years of the 21st century. The latter Sulzbergers, along with their advisers and editors, including Executive Editor A.M. Rosenthal , played prominent roles in putting The Times on a sound financial footing, in uncovering government misfeasance, and in furthering the aims of a free press. In the early 1970s The Washington Post, under Katharine Graham, took the lead in exposing an attempted cover-up of the break-in at Democratic Party headquarters in the Watergate office complex in Washington. That reporting, by the team of Robert Woodward and carl bernstein , got Graham's personal backing and eventually resulted in the resignation in 1974 of President Richard M. Nixon in disgrace. During that period, The New York Times came into possession of a secret history of the war in Vietnam, which came to be known as the Pentagon Papers when it was published at great length in 1973. The Nixon administration tried to suppress publication of the historic documents and their analyses on the grounds of national security, but the United States Supreme Court upheld the right of the press to publish the information. The case was a landmark ruling against prior restraint of the press, and its champion was The Times. Other important Jewish figures in American journalism include Emanuel Philip Adler who founded the Lee Syndicate, a chain of papers in the Midwest; eugene meyer , former owner of The Washington Post; Paul Block (1877–1941), who helped to foster the growth of chain journalism; moses koenigsberg , the creator of the King Features Syndicate; walter annenberg , publisher of The Philadelphia Inquirer; J. David Stern , owner and publisher of papers in Camden, NJ, and Philadelphia; dorothy schiff , owner and publisher of The New York Post; Edwin S. Friendly who served on the former Evening Sun; herbert bayard swope of The World; and harry golden who, in the 1950s, achieved the distinction of making his Carolina Israelite a weekly with general readership. After Dorothy Schiff's death, The Post changed hands a few times. The other major New York City newspaper, The Daily News, was bought by Robert Maxwell in 1991 and then, with the paper in bankruptcy, shortly afterward by Mortimer Zuckerman, a Boston builder and the publisher of the magazine U.S. News and World Report. The Post and News became embroiled in a bitter advertising and circulation war in the first years of the 21st century. Jews scored successes in two special areas of American journalism – commentary on current affairs and the "gossip" column. In the first, walter lippmann , arthur krock , and david lawrence commented on domestic and foreign affairs in some of the nation's most important journals, winning attention in world capitals. As gossip columnists, Walter Winchell, Leonard Lyons (d. 1976), Louis Sobol, and Sidney Skolsky (d. 1983) attracted a wide readership and developed an influence by their reporting on the lives of stage and screen personalities, government officials, and public and political figures. Identical twin sisters from the Middle West, Pauline Esther Friedman, writing as Abigail Van Buren, and esther pauline lederer , writing as Ann Landers, dispensed homespun advice in their newspaper columns, each appearing daily in over 1,200 newspapers and reaching 20 million readers. Each received 10,000 letters a week for help, and both sisters dispensed blunt, common-sense remedies for most of the second half of the 20th century. Other Jewish journalists were active as foreign correspondents and as writers on science, economics, politics, and sports. Among American journalists, Franklin Pierce Adams, Meyer Berger, and ben hecht had especially keen eyes for the unusual. In sketching the human condition they successfully translated the stories of ordinary people into newspaper prose of high quality. As Jews assimilated into the mainstream of American life, they rose to prominent positions in journalism. Rosenthal of The Times was succeeded by max frankel , who was succeeded by joseph lelyveld . All had been star reporters and winners of the Pulitzer Prize. And thomas l. friedman of The Times became the most influential foreign affairs columnist as well as the first reporter to win a Pulitzer for reporting on Lebanon and another for reporting from Israel. At least one Jewish American journalist lost his life, daniel pearl of The Wall Street Journal, while affirming his faith. The participation of Jews in Latin American journalism began at an early stage of their immigration. Since the publications for which they wrote were oriented toward the Jewish public, the newspapers, journals, and publications in general were in Yiddish during the first years, and with the immigration from Central Europe in the 1930s, also in German. However, publication in Spanish and Portuguese commenced very quickly, and these became the main languages of communication in the community framework with the decline of Yiddish. Jews were active in general journalism in almost all the Latin American countries. Some of them achieved prominent positions and can be considered pioneers in their field. The first Jewish journalist who published in Argentina in a general daily was Enrique Lipschutz (1864–1937), who wrote in La Prensa from 1895. After him, many Jewish journalists and writers published in general newspapers and journals and some of them also became section editors and also chief editors. One of them was Alberto Gerchunoff (1884–1950), who was with the leading daily La Nación for 40 years and part of the time was its editor in chief. Other leading journalists were Bernardo Verbitsky (1907–1979) in El Mundo (his son Horacio Verbitsky became editor in chief of Página 12), Santiago Nudelman (1904–1961) editor in chief of Crítica from 1958, and Antonio Portnoy at La Gaceta. In the 1960s and 1970s one of the best-known journalists was Jacobo Timerman (1923–1999). In the 1960s he founded and directed two successful current affairs magazines, Primera Plana and Confirmado, and in 1970 the daily La Opinión, which tried to be a new kind of newspaper in the style of the French Le Monde. Timerman became known worldwide when was kidnapped by the military junta in 1977. International pressure, especially from the U.S. and Israel, led to his release in 1979. In those years of dictatorship the weekly Nueva Presencia (1977) was founded, which started as a Spanish offshoot of the Yiddish daily Di Prese. Under the editorship of Herman Schiller, it adopted an opposition stance against the repression in Argentina. This journal became one of the referents of the Argentinean Human Rights Movement, and Schiller, who participated in the organization of the Jewish Movement for Human Rights, was recognized as one of its leaders. In the early 21st century there were many well-known Jewish journalists who published in the printed press as well as in the electronic media – radio, television, and the internet. These included José Eliaschev, Marcelo Zlotogwiazda, Ernesto Tenenbaum, Roman Lejtman, Martín Liberman, and Juan Pablo Varsky. Jews were prominent in Chilean journalism. Ana Albala-Levy was editor of Las Últimas Noticias of Santiago; her husband, Robert Levy, wrote for many newspapers and journals; Max Dickmann, was literary and managing editor of El Ateneo of Santiago and an author of substantial reputation; and Marcos Chamudes was chief editor of the magazine Política, Economía y Cultura (PEC) and later of the newspaper La Nación. In Brazil Jews were prominent as journalists as well as entrepreneurs in the news media. One of the most important media companies was Bloch Editores owned by Adolfo Bloch, which at its peak included 25 magazines, among them the famous weekly Manchete, six radio stations, and a TV network, Rede Manchete. Two important Jewish journalists collaborated in many stages of their career with this group. Zevi Ghivelder (1934– ) worked for many years for the magazine Manchete and directed the news magazine on its TV network, also publishing numerous books that won national prizes. Henrique Veltman (1936– ) was editor in chief of Bloch Editores publications from 1971, including the magazine Manchete, and was also editor in chief of the most important newspapers of Rio de Janeiro – Ultima Hora and O Globo. Both of them were much involved in Jewish community life and Zionist action. Also   Naum Sirotzky was editor in chief of Manchete in the 1950s. Alberto Dines (1932– ), who started his career as a journalist with Manchete under Naum Sirotzky, became one of the most prominent and innovative in the field. As a professional who combined writing and news photography, he was editor in chief of many major newspapers, such as Jornal do Brasil and the Folha de São Paulo branch in Rio de Janeiro. Besides teaching journalism in many universities, he developed a new kind of journalistic criticism in Brazil with Observatorio da Imprensa on TV programs and the internet. Diane Kuperman (1949– ), a journalist at Jornal do Brasil and director of the Instituto de Comunicação Social da Universidade Gama Filho, and Osias Wurman (1950– ), a journalist at O Globo and Jornal do Brasil, were also the leaders of the Jewish Federation of Rio de Janeiro. Samuel Wainer (1912–1980) is also considered one of the professionals responsible for a revolution in Brazilian journalism. In 1930 he started his career at Diário de Notícias and in 1938 he founded the monthly magazine Diretrizes with an agenda in politics, culture, and economic affairs. In 1971 he founded the magazine Domingo Ilustrado as part of Bloch Editores, and in 1973–75 was editor in chief of Última Hora of São Paulo. From 1977 he was a member of the editorial board of Folha de São Paulo. Arnaldo Niskier (1935– ) was, in addition to his more than 40 years in journalism, a teacher at the University of Rio de Janeiro State and secretary of the state for science, technology, education, and culture. He was also chairman of the Academia Brasileira de Letras. One of the most prominent journalists in Mexico was undoubtedly Jacobo Zabludovsky (1928– ). He started his career in 1946 as assistant editor of news magazines at Cadena Radio Continental. In 1950, at the very beginning of TV transmissions in Mexico, he initiated the production and direction of the first professional news magazine on Mexican television, and subsequently directed and presented many news magazines. He also directed the cinema news magazine El Mundo en Marcha, wrote for the newspapers Observaciones and Novedades, for the weeklies Claridades and El Redondel, and from 1959 edited the magazine Siempre. He held official posts in radio and television and also wrote many books on politics and the Mexican media and containing interviews with Mexican painters. There were also important contributors to the local press like Luis Rubio, Ezra Shabot, Enrique Krauze, Hellen Krauze, and Alberto Musacchio, all of them on the daily Reforma, and Esther Shabot on Excelsior. Enrique Burak and Abraham Faitelson are sports journalists on TV. In Canada, Jews were prominent in all facets of the journalism professions, and in ways unimaginable even 30 years ago. In 2000, the Asper family acquired the Hollinger media holdings, thereby controlling a large number of newspapers both in Canada and abroad, including the National Post, one of Canada's two English-language newspapers. They also own Global Television Network, Canada's second large independent television network. Another Jew, Edward Greenspon, is the editor in chief of Canada's other major national English language paper, The Globe and Mail. Michael Goldbloom is the current publisher of the Toronto Star, which is the largest mass circulation newspaper in Canada. Jews are also prominent as reporters, columnists, and feature writers in newspapers across the country, and have achieved a high profile in the electronic media. Peter C. Newman, Joe Schlesinger, William Weintraub, Barbara Frum, Simma Holt, Robert Matas, Michelle Landsberg, Rick Salutin, Ralph Benmergui, Avi Lewis, and Naomi Klein, to name only a few over the last four decades, have become journalistic icons in Canada. In Australia, an outstanding newspaper owner and builder was theodore fink . In recent decades, none of Australia's newspapers had a Jewish owner, although Michael Gawenda, a Melbourne Jew, was editor of the Melbourne Age from 1996 to 2004. In South Africa, the leading weekly The Sunday Times was edited (1912–40) by J. Langley Levy. From 1960 the same paper was edited by Joel Mervis and its companion paper the Sunday Express by Meyer Albert "Johnny" Johnson from 1961. Johnson subsequently assumed the editorship of the conservative daily The Citizen in 1979. In 1987, the left-leaning weekly Weekly Mail (later Mail & Guardian) was founded by Irwin Manoim and Anton Harber. (Kalman Seigel / Stewart Kampel, Richard Menkis, Harold Troper, William D. Rubinstein, David Saks, and Efraim Zadoff (2nd ed.)

Encyclopedia Judaica. 1971.

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