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Letters : Growth of Jewish Paper Defended

February 24, 1985

The Jewish Federation Council's expansion of its Community Bulletin (Times, Feb. 17) will not affect the existing Anglo-Jewish newspapers in the city, if their editor-publishers recognize aggressive salesmanship and excellent coverage and reporting make their paper(s) what one wants to read.

The experience of other house organs--two come to mind immediately, the B'nai B'rith's Record and the Jewish War Veterans' Veterans Review--demonstrates profits can be realized. Advertisers will buy space if they are convinced the paper has readers and subscribers (memberships, in the instances cited).

The Bulletin "advantage" the existing press fears may be allayed if an arrangement is worked out whereby the names and addresses of contributors are made available, under some mutually acceptable agreement. After all, we know "lists" are available in this day of more and more direct mail. In this instance, the JFC is not a "private" but a "community" instrument.

And because it is a "community" instrument, the proposed formula--and most likely accepted by the time this letter appears--for an "independent" board needs to be changed. By having the Federation Council select the majority (13) and that majority having the responsibility to select 12 "community" members, the power rests with the Federation Council. It doesn't ensure "independence." And with the major need of the JFC is dollars for their community programs, pressures for reporting and applauding that effort may not alter the character of the Bulletin, one of the complaints today regarding its readability acceptance.

It seems to me that it would make more sense if the majority newspaper board people come from the community . Eligibility to serve would be based on two criteria: being a contributor, and the other, a "stockholder" in the paper through a paid subscription . The "stockholders" would be convened annually for a report and election of its representatives by them.

Being truly "independent" and a "community investment," the expected profits, if realized, could be distributed by the board, and if need be, but hopefully not needed, to the existing Anglo-Jewish press on a predetermined basis or resolution after some experience.

The test as to community harmony being the ultimate achievement rests with the participants. The question is whether they will have the wisdom to attain it. HYMAN HAVES

Pacific Palisades

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