Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Rocking the Senate

Cleveland Jewish News editor-in-chief Cynthia Dettelbach and publisher Michael Bennett frame me

Last night the Senate Caucus Room, the former site of such historic hearings as those involving Watergate, Iran-Contra and the Teapot Dome scandals, was the scene of a much milder and less anxious group of journalists. It was the annual recognition dinner of the American Jewish Press Association's Rockower Awards. For the first time honorees were given their awards in advance (earlier in the morning at the Doubletree Hotel) so that the Rockower ceremonies would not seem to carry some sort of government sanction. The recipients from sixteen different categories didn't seem to matter. The setting in the Russell Senate Building in the shadow of the Capitol was so magnificent and the ability to soak up a bit of Washington's history was well worth the earlier reveal. Among the attendees were the AJPA's outgoing president, Cleveland Jewish News CEO Rob Certner and CJN editor-in-chief Cynthia Dettelbach, both of whom I had the pleasure to work for while esconsed in Cleveland from 2005 to 2007. Also joining from Cleveland were advertising director Jennifer Woomer and publisher Michael Bennett, who took over his new position following last year's AJPA conference. It was a grand opportunity for Jewish journalists to discuss industry trends, keep informed as to best practices and to honor their own. Panels of Washington area experts kept everyone up to date and, indeed the conference goes on for yet another day today before closing. The opulent setting for the Rockower recognitions was made possible due to the tireless work of AJPA executive director Toby Dershowitz and fellow Washingtonian Natasha Nadel, both of whom were assisted by a staff of young, energetic interns. My congratulations to them all. The AJPA continues to assist the business side of Jewish journalism with cutting edge technologies being explored in many brainstorming sessions as well as giving important symposiums to reporters and editors who thirst for knowledge. I am privileged to have been at both business and editorial sessions with some of the brightest and best Jewish writers, editors, publishers and advertising people in the country. I continue to praise them all for what they do to further the cause.


Lila Hanft said...

What's the most interesting / surprising / counterintuitive thing you heard at the conference?

Kosher Computing said...

Hey, Lila,
I'm sorry. I didn't see your comment until today, but I'm responding to it now.
In terms of interesting topics revealed at the AJPA conference, I would have to say the overall disappointment with the present Jewish newspaper model, but the almost defiant attitude with those in attendance that they would weather the coming financial storm by finding alternative revenue streams.
I attended mostly editorial sessions, but did stop in on a few of the business sessions and found them very full of energetic newspaper people who were prepared to do what it takes to survive.
I don't have a direct e-mail addy for you, so send to my G-mail account when you have a moment.