May 13, 2010
LAT gives Journal plaudits but little perspective
The Jewish Journal got some favorable treatment in the Los Angeles Times yesterday:
Leaving aside the incidental Jews-with-money comment and one likely reason that Muslim student leaders don’t talk to the paper anymore (sorry), I couldn’t help but feel that media critic James Rainey lacked perspective on The Journal and its readership. I should disclaim that it was always a complaint of mine that many people around town, even many within the Jewish community, were oblivious to the great work regularly done by the Jewish journalists in Koreatown. And, to be sure, the LA Press Club’s best blog from 2007 got overlooked in Rainey’s piece. (No hard feelings.)
But The Journal is more than “generally thorough and professional in tone. On any given day, it publishes the most interesting story in town. (Jordan Farmar was my favorite.) It also does a lot, though not always, to “rock its audience from its comfort zone.” (Kevin MacDonald and Luke Ford are the two I remember best; as you might expect, I am partial.) There was also all that coverage in the aftermath of the Bernie Madoff scandal, for which there are still certain machers in the community who won’t talk to me. And did I mention that for two years the paper employed a Christian named Greenberg as its senior writer?
This may come off as a lot of self-aggrandizing. I don’t intend it as such but I’m most familiar with my own perspective. And I think my experience helps explain why the paper is a guilty pleasure in some corners of the community, a labor of love in others and an essential source of information in many. It’s why some derisively refer to it as the un-Jewish Journal or the “Jewish” Journal, while others appreciate that it doesn’t just cater to one constituency. None of this, though, is reflected in Rainey’s article. His offers a good foundation and is accurate as accurate can be, but it felt to this insider like a small-town story being reported by a big-city journalist who parachuted in for the weekend.
I know, I know: Leave it to the Christian to be the one kvetching ...