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Sale at Forward Newspaper Intended As Push Toward Daily

The owner of the weekly English-language Forward has sold a minority interest of the publication, with the intention of converting the paper into a daily in 1997.

The Forward Association Inc. has been the proprietor of the Yiddish-language Forverts since 1897 and the English-language Forward since 1990.

Forward Editor Seth Lipsky and New York-based investor and philanthropist Michael Steinhardt head the group of outside investors who acquired a minority interest of the company last week. Steinhardt is a longtime supporter of Jewish causes.

The group hopes to acquire half the interest in the newspaper over the next three years, with the other half continuing to be owned by a division of the Forward Association.

The sale comes despite speculation that the Forward would have to fold because of its inability to sustain itself. Officials at the Forward say it now operates at a loss, though both circulation and advertising revenue of the national paper have recently increased.

“I never had any doubt that it’s what I wanted to do, that it was logical and that eventually it will happen,” Lipsky said.

The Forward began in 1887 as a Yiddish daily, born out of the socialist Jewish labor movement on New York’s Lower East Side. But as circulation decreased after World War II, the Yiddish Forverts became a weekly.

Lipsky said the daily Forward would continue to be based in New York, but he hopes it will reach further.

“The center of gravity has always been New York, but the Forward will be where the Jews are,” he said.

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