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On the Media: Jewish Journal of Greater Los Angeles adapts to changing media market

Niche journalism and an $800,000 donation make its future seem secure.

May 12, 2010|James Rainey

Rather than pull back, however, Eshman and company have pushed the paper's circulation back to 50,000, with hopes of going higher, while expanding Internet offerings and launching a monthly magazine, Tribe, that will soon be out with its sixth issue.

Most readers pick up the Jewish Journal, which is free, at businesses on the Westside and in the San Fernando Valley, while the magazine, with initial circulation of 15,000, reaches up the coast to Ventura and Santa Barbara.

The high-end readership for both publications, with an average household income said to reach above $260,000, has allowed Tribe Media Corp. to reach beyond its demographic and appeal to a new group of advertisers.

Ads for Jewish mortuaries, summer camps, charities and schools still dot its pages. But with the hiring a couple of years ago of a new top ad executive, the company has broadened its horizons significantly. Steven Karash, previously of the New York Times, has helped lure buys from Porsche dealers, the Four Seasons hotel, Saint John's Health Center, the House of Blues and, recently, the city of Rancho Mirage, whose resorts are a frequent destination of Jewish visitors. Even Macy's department stores are looking at hopping on board.

"People now are looking at us as a media group," Karash said, "and not just for an ethnic buy but for a niche buy with an affluent audience."

While Jewish news outlets in Las Vegas and other communities had been folding, the Jewish Journal made enough improvements, despite the brutal economic downturn, that it showed promise. Its expanded Web offerings, including a social networking/dating site, everyjew.com. The online audience has grown to 350,000 unique visitors a month.

Like many other news outlets, the Journal's managers want to find ways to make money off those online users.

If they can solve that one, they'll truly have found a model for the new niche journalism.

james.rainey@latimes.com

Twitter: latimesrainey

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