Ami Eden: Shaping the Future of Jewish Journalism
03/08/11
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Jewish journalism is at a crossroads. Disruptive technology, an evolving communal identity and tight media economics all make for a challenging environment. JInsider’s newest Top Jew, Ami Eden is one of the key media players shaping the future of journalism in the Jewish community. Eden is the highly regarded editor of JTA, the Jewish news agency that provides reports and commentary to Jewish newspapers around the country, including The Jewish Week. The Jewish news wire also operates the website www.jta.org. JInsider spoke with Eden for his perspective on a range of issues.

Jewish Media Survival

 

“The most important thing for Jewish media outlets to remember is that our main competitors are not each other, but The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, NPR, Politico, Huffington Post, Drudge and whatever else large numbers of Jews are consuming. We need to produce content that is just as compelling and also figure out the right models for distribution. Whenever possible, we need to work together to maximize our limited resources to compete with the wider media world.”

 

Jewish Community Polarization

“Unfortunately Jews on all sides are internalizing the MSNBC-Fox News-ization of our political culture. Disagreement seems to be increasingly replaced by disrespect, distrust and demonization. Every one of us has said to someone something like: “Yes, you have crazy liberal/conservative dovish/hawkish secular/religious views, but I love you anyway.” So why not give that same benefit of the doubt to everyone else with those same crazy views? Why not start from that same place of respect with everyone else that thinks differently than us?”

 

Favorite Jewish Teachings

“Rabbi Tarfon (Mishnah sage): ‘It is not up to you to finish the task, nor are you free to desist from it.’ No guilt. No excuses. It’s arguably the most realistic, universal and meaningful approach to life that I have ever heard. Theodor Herzl: ‘If you will it, it is not a dream,’ and Rabbi Hillel: ‘Do not judge your fellow until you are standing in his or her place.’”

Favorite Rituals

“As for ritual, I’m not sure I would use the term ‘favorite.’ But the most powerful and meaningful: approaching the bedeken and standing under the chupah on my wedding day, taking part in a bris as a father, experiencing the mourning process as a son, davening on Yom Kippur and studying Torah.”

 

Importance of Being Jewish

“I’d go with the Walter Sobchak answer from ‘The Big Lebowski’: ‘Three thousand years of beautiful tradition from Moses to Sandy Koufax. You’re goddamn right I’m living in the past.’ Part of it is a connection and responsibility to those who came before and after, and part of it is a sense that our religion/culture/tradition is in some way true and good.”

Key Stats

Favorite Jewish food: Ben & Jerry’s Ice Cream

Favorite Jewish expression: Only simchas

Guilty pleasures: Reading the New York Post

Favorite movies: “The Empire Strikes Back,” “Gattaca,”
“The Usual Suspects”

Favorite book: “The Amazing Adventures
of Kavalier and Clay” by Michael Chabon

Recent hero: Ami Horowitz (business guy-turned-
documentarian who decided to do
something and is making it happen)

Hero of all time: Nachum Eden (Grandfather)

Greatest accomplishment: Marrying the right woman

11th commandment: Be flexible

 

End Note: A Journalist's Journalist

“Ami is passionate about Judaism and journalism. I think that passion enables him to embrace radical changes in technology while still having a deep appreciation for the fundamentals of his faith and his craft.”

Rob Eshman, Editor-in-Chief, Jewish Journal of Los Angeles

This is the last JInsider in The Jewish Week’s print edition. Check us out on the paper’s website, www.thejewishweek.com.

 

Last Update:

03/15/2011 - 09:42

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Ami Eden claims to believe all Jews have a right to their opinions. yet, ami routinely bans me from expressing my opinions on JTA's website. ami speaks with forked tongue.

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