May 29, 2003
Ha’Am Makes Its Mark at UCLA
hen the editors of Ha'Am, UCLA's Jewish student newsmagazine, scrawled the words, "Ha'Am Is Back," across the back of Kerchoff Hall, they didn't realize the staying power of the statement that they were about to make. What the editors thought was sidewalk chalk, commonly used by students at UCLA as a means of political expression, turned out to be permanent.
"We're still waiting for it to come off," said Miriam Segura, Ha'Am's editor-in-chief.
Ha'Am's editors and staff hope that their quarterly newsmagazine, which has returned to print after four years of being only online, will have the same staying power.
"Now I feel that we're really established," Debra Greene, incoming editor-in-chief for Ha'Am, told the Daily Bruin, the university's student newspaper. "Online, the readership was a lot smaller. Now people are picking them [copies of Ha'Am] up everywhere."
Born in the 1970s by Jewish student activists who wanted to make their voices heard on the UCLA campus, Ha'Am has served the Jewish campus community for more than 30 years. Due to an editorial decision four years ago to focus on Web publishing, the publication went out of print. This year's editorial staff, however, felt that the presence of a published Jewish student voice was essential -- particularly now.
"There's a lot of anti-Israel activism," Segura said. "We are able to combat that, or at least provide a forum where students can express their frustration, as far as being marginalized as a group. At the very least, it should be a place for Jewish students to express anger and frustration at being marginalized, and at the the very most, it should be a place to respond to that kind of thing."
Published by the UCLA Communications Board, Ha'Am receives 60 percent of its funding from profits generated principally by the Daily Bruin, according to Avril Ward, student media director. The remaining 40 percent is paid for by advertising generated by the publication.
"They've got to build an advertising base," Ward said.
In order to get the newsmagazine off its feet, Ha'Am recently accepted an anonymous donation in the amount of $3,018. According to Ward, the editors of the magazine say that it was isolated and that they do not plan to rely on such donations for sustenance. Additionally, for reasons of neutrality, Ha'Am's editors decided not to find out the donor's identity.
"Ha'Am thought it was critical to their editorial integrity," Ward said. "They agreed that having a person pay for the magazine might call into question how independent the magazine was. These are young journalists, they're very idealistic, and I applaud them for that."