JTA Taps Top Talent to Help Lead Global News Agency

JTA has tapped three of the top talents in Jewish journalism to join the senior staff of the global Jewish news agency.

Ami Eden, the former executive editor of the Forward, has started work as managing editor. Uriel Heilman, a former JTA staffer, is returning as associate editor in September.

And Daniel Sieradski, the founder of Jewschool.com and a pioneer in new Jewish media, began work this week as the director of digital media.

“These hires signal that JTA intends to continue setting the standards as the global leader in providing Jewish news and information,” said Mark Joffe, JTA’s executive editor and publisher. “We have assembled the best team to produce content of the highest editorial quality in an ever-changing array of digital formats.”

“Together, this team represents an exciting new dimension for JTA,” said Lisa Hostein, JTA’s editor. “Their collective talent, experience and creativity will strengthen our role as the go-to source on issues that matter to the Jewish people.”

Eden, 34, comes to JTA from the Forward, where he also served as the founding editor of the Jewish Daily Forward Web site, a Webby Award winner. He previously worked as an editor of the Jewish Exponent in Philadelphia.

The recipient of numerous journalism awards, Eden has written for such publications as The New York Times, the International Herald Tribune, Ha’aretz, the Philadelphia Inquirer and Beliefnet.com.

Eden’s primary role at JTA will be to coordinate the agency’s North American coverage and reporting staff.

“We will build on JTA’s excellent reporting on identity, religion and philanthropy; expand coverage of Capitol Hill and the 2008 election; and begin taking a serious look at the world of arts and culture,” Eden said. “In all of these areas, the goal will be to be the definitive Jewish news source, with our reporters asking important players the tough questions and supplying readers with the most informed answers.”

Heilman’s appointment as associate editor marks a return to JTA, where he previously served as news editor and staff writer. He has garnered several Simon Rockower awards for excellence in Jewish journalism, including first place for investigative reporting for his 2004 JTA series on the Claims Conference.

Heilman, 32, also has served as New York bureau chief of the Jerusalem Post. He spent the past two years doing independent reporting in Israel and the Arab world.

As associate editor, Heilman’s primary responsibility will be coordinating JTA’s network of foreign correspondents based in cities around the globe, from Jerusalem to Paris, from Prague to Buenos Aires.

Sieradski, as the founder of Jewschool.com, is considered one of the innovators in Jewish new media. Jewschool, a progressive blog launched in 2002, is widely considered a pioneering leader in the realm of new Jewish media and online community-building.

At JTA, his role will be to guide JTA’s digital media strategy. This includes major development and expansion of JTA’s Jewish news portal on the Internet — www.jta.org — as well as additions and improvements to the agency’s suite of e-mail and wireless products.

Prior to joining JTA, Sieradski worked as a freelance journalist and webmaster for Jewish publications and not-for-profit Jewish organizations. He also served several years as the webmaster for the JCC in Manhattan.

Sieradski, 28, has lectured internationally on the topic of Jewish cultural expression on the Internet and is regularly featured in the Jewish media for his knowledge on the subject.

He recently returned to the United States after three years in Israel, where he worked and studied. During that time, Sieradski spent a year as a Dorot fellow, a study program aimed at developing young Jewish leaders.

“I’m very excited about my new role and I look forward to applying to JTA that which I’ve learned from my years running Jewschool and its attendant projects,” he said. “Through the merit of my hire alone, JTA has demonstrated its intent and willingness to take risks, to try new things and to do things a little differently than its competitors.”

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