AJPA President Amy Doty welcomes new member Alan Smason
The American Jewish Press Association (AJPA) met in Dallas this week for its 44th year as the consortium that represents the oldest and most prominent of Jewish publications as well as some of the very best minds in Jewish journalism. The conference dealt with a number of issues confronting traditional print organizations and how they are coping with dwindling subscription bases, higher costs and increased competition from newer technologies such as web-based news sites and applications designed for mobile users. Demographer Ira Sheshkin gave attendees a lot of information to consider about the changing habits of the Jewish newspaper reading community and what the lack of young readership portends for the future of Jewish broadsheets, tabloids and glossy magazines. Several panels featuring major players and commentators spoke on topics such as issues confronting present-day Israel as well as offering sound practices attendees could use in their businesses. The conference was crowned with the presentation of this year's Rockower Awards for excellence in Jewish journalism. Dozens of submissions from newspapers and magazines were grouped by distribution size and critiqued by an anonymous slate of judges who determined their selections as this year's very best. Originally scheduled for Denver, the conference was switched to Dallas at the Galleria Westin Hotel for logistical reasons, graciously hosted in part at the Galleria Westin Hotel by Texas Jewish Press Vice-President and current AJPA President Amy Doty. All meals served were strictly kosher with supervision by Dallas' own Vaad Hakashrus and attendees were treated to an indoor feast featuring Texas-style barbeque on Tuesday night sponsored by Washington public relations firm Rabinowitz-Dorf Communications. Kudos also go out to AJPA Executive Director Leslie Honaker and assistant Alex Trujillo for their work in organizing and coordinating the conference.