Wednesday, June 16, 2010

American Jewish Press Association

Once a year the American Jewish Press Association meets to conduct business and assess where the industry is and where it is likely to be going. Previous year's meetings have been held in San Francisco, Washington, D.C. and Evanston, Illinois. This year the site of what is the largest gathering of Jewish press and public relations firms that cater to the Jewish community is Scottsdale, Arizona, a sleepy desert suburban locale not far from busy Phoenix. A partner in this year's event is Arizona State University's Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Media. Numerous faculty members from the school have taken part in panel discussions or have headed up interesting topics such as Digital Entrepreneurship. Much of the topics have dealt with the concept of social networking and how newspapers can take an active role in integrating social networking sites like Facebook and Twitter into their digital presence on the Internet. For some it is a logical next step; for others it is a frightening reality that looms large. Many have already placed some social networking into their scheme of things, but others have yet to figure out how to harness all of the possibilities and pitfalls these sites and applications portend. There is also the concept of raising ad revenue through this kind of integration as web traffic is increased and, by extension, more eyeballs should translate into more page views and unique visitors to newspaper websites. While not everyone has been ecstatic about all of the sessions, most have been satisfied that much of what has been discussed is pertinent to the future of newspapers and journalism. There's more to consider for the final day tomorrow, but first the Rockower Awards, the equivalent of the "Pulitzer Prize" for Jewish journalism, will be announced. It is all part of a very well-orchestrated conference and organizers are to be congratulated for a job well done.

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