Friday, March 18, 2005

At last - a new website for the Jewish Chronicle!

The world's clunkiest website - the UK Jewish Chronicle - has been updated. The old one was totally impossible - requiring page after page of scroll-downs to get to anything. Frequently regular pages were blank, and there were several menus that, even years after its introduction, had no pages attached. The new one, at first review, frankly still seems a total mess(!) - very confusing with side menus, top menus, etc - but at least they've corrected one totally infuriating feature, which was that to read the letters, you had to click on a letter, read it, then go back to the main page etc etc etc. They also now have more than three news items visible on each page.
To understand why anyone - including me, from 6,000 miles away - bothers, you have to understand the indelible place occupied by the 'JC' in the psyche of any English Jew. The late Chaim Bermant - its most illustrious and interesting columnist, ever, and to whom this blog is proudly now related [skip this link if you looked at the wedding pix already last week] - once said that the definition of 'Who is a Jew?' in England was easy - if you read the Jewish Chronicle you were, and if you didn't, you weren't.
What made / makes the JC almost unique is its total financial independence. Unlike the US (and other) Jewish papers, it is beholden to no-one, and was restructured some years ago to ensure that it is owned by a trust that can nebver be bought out by any commercial or other interest. Of its editors, for my money the best was Geoffrey Paul, in the 1970's and early 1980's. The current editor, Ned Temko, who has been there for over a decade, is moving on. I'm not sure he ever really got the pulse of the community, and in recent years it has often been difficult to see that any of its reporters ever actually left the JC building in Furnival Street and got out into the community ......
Everyone is waiting to see who the new editor will be - as far as I know, no announcement has been made. I have a suggestion, of course -- but then I'm biased!

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