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Another Jewish newspaper downsizes

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The Wisconsin Jewish Chronicle — in the Fundermentalist’s opinion one of the finest small-market Jewish newspapers around — will cut its staff by two-thirds and will be switching to a monthly format after being hit hard by the economic downturn.

Here is the announcement from the paper’s Web site:

Following a decision by the Milwaukee Jewish Federation’s executive committee, The 88-year-old Wisconsin Jewish Chronicle is adopting a new business model and will be published monthly.

The change will take effect after the April 3 Passover-themed issue.

As part of this change, four staff members have been laid off, two in the editorial department and two sales representatives. The full-time position of production manager has been reduced to half time and the editor will remain in full-time capacity.

“The goal of this new model is to continue to build community and meet the Federation’s marketing and communications needs by means of a regular, high quality publication, while at the same time stemming financial losses and operating as efficiently as possible,” said MJF executive vice president Richard H. Meyer in a formal announcement Tuesday.

A task force, led by Michael Green, will reconvene to advise the federation of The Chronicle’s content and format.

The move comes after the Feb. 10 executive committee decision to discontinue two direct service programs, the Jewish Chaplaincy Program and the Wisconsin Jewish Conference.

The Milwaukee Journal Sentinal has a bit more:

The 89-year-old Chronicle, mailed to 8,000 households across the state, is a premier source of Jewish news in Wisconsin.

The Milwaukee Jewish Federation, which publishes the Chronicle, said the change was necessitated by the newspaper’s growing deficit and not the 10% decline in giving projected for the federation’s 2009 fund-raising campaign.

"This is not about federation cuts, but what’s going on in the newspaper industry today," said federation spokeswoman Laura Barnard.

The federation will continue to subsidize the Chronicle, at $25,000 a year, she said. Past federation budgets allocated about $7,000 annually, she said, but cost overruns were pushing it as high as $15,000 a month, she said.

This is not the first and will not be the last Jewish paper to downsize or close.

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