Jewish Journalists in Europe Look to the Information Highway

How can the Internet be used to maximize communications between Jews and Jewish communities?

This was one of the questions on the agenda when some 30 Jewish reporters and editors from six European countries gathered for a three-day seminar in Rome to discuss ways to improve their coverage of Jewish affairs.

The seminar consisted of workshops and roundtable discussions aimed at motivating Jewish journalists to break out of local viewpoints and “think European,” a process that would strengthen the European Jewish media through shared experience and information exchange.

“New Frontiers in Jewish Information,” organized by the European Council of Jewish Communities, also addressed such questions as:

Should Jewish media seek an audience outside the Jewish world?

Should a Jewish newspaper act as a community organ or be independent of community control?

Should Jewish community bulletins publicize controversial material?

Participants came from France, Italy, Turkey, Sweden, the Czech Republic and Germany.

They included the editors of independent or semi-independent Jewish publications such as the glossy, Paris-based L’Arche magazine and Istanbul’s Shalom weekly newspaper.

They also included staff members and editors of a number of Italian community- run periodicals and newsletters, as well as several independent Jewish journalists and writers.

“This meeting tried to give a European rather than a local view of what we are all doing,” said an Italian participant. “That really hit me.”

Lack of communications among Jewish communities and organizations, both internationally and within individual countries, was seen by many participants as a major hindrance to European Jewish development.

They view Internet links as a promising way to foster grass-roots, Europe-wide Jewish networks and bypass old, bureaucratic channels of communications.

Participants at the seminar drew up a wish list of proposals to present community leaders in an effort to improve information channels.

Among them was the creation of a network by which Jewish newspapers across Europe could exchange information about their communities with Jewish media in other countries.

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