NEW YORK (Oct. 17)
Mark Jonathan Joffe has been named executive editor and publisher of the Jewish Telegraphic Agency.
The announcement was made by JTA President Marshall Weinberg following a meeting of the executive committee of the agency’s board of directors.
For the past six years, Joffe, 33, has served as JTA’s editor. In his new role, he will have overall responsibility for the agency’s business as well as editorial operations.
Joffe replaces Mark Seal, who resigned earlier this month as the agency’s executive vice president to become associate executive vice president of the Hebrew Immigrant Aid Society.
In his role as executive editor, Joffe will continue to direct the agency’s daily reportage of news affecting Jews around the world.
Joffe’s first priority as he assumes the new position will be to address the serious financial challenges facing the agency.
“Over the past few years, there has been a decline in allocations from Jewish community federations, and as a result our income base has eroded,” said Joffe.
To offset some of these losses, JTA has raised the rates paid by newspapers subscribing to JTA’s news and feature services.
But Joffe said that despite these increases, there will still be a gap in JTA’s funding.
“While we hope to stem the decreases from the federations, we will have to look to other places for revenue,” he said.
‘EXCITING TIME’ IN JEWISH NEWS BUSINESS
Joffe said that national Jewish agencies will have to “shoulder more of the burden” associated with operating JTA.
“These organizations benefit enormously from JTA’s service, in terms of both the information we provide and the publicity they receive,” said Joffe. If they want the service to continue at the same level of quality, he said, they will have to help pay for it.
Although his responsibilities will be broadened as a result of the new appointment, Joffe says he will continue to be actively involved in the agency’s editorial operations. But he added that some of the day-to-day operations will be handled by JTA’s managing editor.
In addition, Joffe will soon be hiring a business manager to help manage the agency’s finances.
Among some of his other goals, Joffe plans a redesign of JTA publications, which will be inaugurated early next year, following the installation of a new computer system.
He also plans to expand JTA’s coverage of news from the newly independent states of the former Soviet Union.
Joffe described this as “a very exciting time to be in the Jewish news business,” citing the fast pace of developments in the Middle East peace process and the current self-examination under way in the North American Jewish community as it attempts to define its future.
“I am looking forward to the new job ahead of me,” said Joffe. “There are some daunting challenges, but I am optimistic that we will overcome our financial problems and continue to improve our editorial product.”