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Yiddish Forward to cut back to biweekly publication, launching new website

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NEW YORK (JTA) — The Jewish Daily Forward’s Yiddish-language publication is shifting to a biweekly print schedule and launching a new daily website.

The Forverts, a 116-year-old publication that switched from a daily to a weekly print schedule 30 years ago, will become a biweekly beginning Feb. 4, the newspaper announced Friday. The publication also will be revamping its website to update it daily with new content.

The Forward Association, the owner and publisher of the Forward newspapers, said the Forverts has a print circulation of 2,100 copies and 6,000 readers. According to a publicly filed financial report, the association’s Yiddish editorial division lost more than $1 million in 2011.

“We see the opportunity to grow the audience in a number of directions, including haredi, or ultra-Orthodox, readers, students of Yiddish, and children of survivors who grew up in Yiddish-speaking homes but only have a passive knowledge of the language,” Forward Publisher and CEO Samuel Norich told the Columbia Journalism Review.

The Yiddish website will offer podcasts, English-subtitled videos and articles with pop-up translations from the new Comprehensive Yiddish-English Dictionary. Among the new editorial features will be “Yiddish With an Aleph,” a blog geared towards haredi Orthodox readers.

One of the eight full-time staff positions for the Yiddish editorial operation will be lost in the transition, according to the Forward.

The Forward Association said it became a publicly supported media organization in 2011, with its first fundraising event. The association saw a significant infusion of cash in 2003, when it sold its WEVD radio station to ABC for $78 million.

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