With the unveiling of the newest innovation for the Jewish News, we take a look back at the changes that have developed over the years.
I learned two major lessons when I began to write for the Jewish News. First, whatever we write about at the JN, the content has to meet high standards of accuracy and fairness. Indeed, this has been the raison d’etre since the first issue of the JN was published in 1942 and Philip Slomovitz was its first editor.
The second lesson concerns today’s issue. The JN has always strived to deliver its reports and articles, the critical information about Detroit’s Jewish community, as well as American and international affairs, for you to read the way you want it. Today, you will see our latest innovation, but if history tells us anything, this will not be the last change in the way we deliver the news in the coming years. In fact, the JN is also delivering more and more content that is appealing specifically to its growing digital audience at thejewishnews.com
The JN began publishing on March 27, 1942, as a typical tabloid-sized newspaper of its era. It was printed on standard newsprint with untrimmed edges, loose pages and, with the exception of headlines, a rather small font size. The pages were densely packed with multiple stories, announcements and little bits of information. This format lasted for 34 years, until Jan. 31, 1987. There was one visual change during this period: the use of color (just one color) on the front page starting in 1984.
The next step in the evolution of the JN occurred after our current Executive Editor/Publisher Arthur Horwitz arrived in Detroit in 1986. He soon introduced a major revamp of the JN. Beginning with the Feb. 6, 1987, edition, the JN became a stitched (stapled rather than loose), trimmed publication with newsprint wrapped in a bright-white offset paper stock. Moreover, the cover and other parts of the publication — for the first time — had full-color photos and advertisements. In short, this was a radical new look for the JN that was largely in place until 1997. Notice, I said “largely.”
The JN did not rest on its laurels. With the Rosh Hashanah issue of Sept. 22, 1995, the JN — for the first time — wrapped its newsprint pages with a glossy cover/coated paper stock. On Sept. 12, 1997, the JN introduced a totally revamped design, new logo — utilizing the services of the iconic designers from the Pushpin Group. For one example of their work, think about the famous “I Love NY” logo (for an excellent visual tour of iconic posters, signs and other graphics, visit the Pushpin website. It’s impressive).
I’m writing about this history from the William Davidson Digital Archive of Detroit Jewish History because today you see the latest step in the visual and physical evolution of the JN, which also has a history. In 2018, President Donald Trump imposed a 31 percent tariff on Canadian newsprint, the major supplier to the U.S. market. This cost was passed along to the JN by its printer and never lowered, even when tariffs were eventually decreased. In response, the size of the JN was reduced slightly to offset some of the additional, unplanned expense. But, this also led to innovation.
Today, on Sept. 12, 2019, the Jewish News you are holding has been transformed again. It is now published on all glossy/coated paper stock, with full color throughout, and as a more standard magazine size. As Horwitz states on page 5, this new format “represents our ongoing commitment to provide you with a publication of quality — visually and substantively. We may be the only weekly publication in Michigan — perhaps the country — that is battling the headwinds of industry-wide contraction with an upgraded printed product.”
So, one more step forward for the JN. Great content is still primary, of course, but the JN is following its longstanding tradition of delivering the news for and about Detroit’s Jewish community to you just the way you like it — whether print or digital.
Want to learn more? Go to the DJN Foundation archives, available for free at www.djnfoundation.org.