Editor's Desk: Stephen Pollard, The Jewish Chronicle

The Jewish Chronicle is the world's oldest Jewish newspaper and has been running for 169 years. At the beginning of June, it launched a Northern edition to cater for Jewish communities in Glasgow, Leeds, Liverpool, Manchester and Newcastle. PRWeek talks to the editor Stephen Pollard about the launch.

Stephen Pollard: Editor, The Jewish Chronicle
Stephen Pollard: Editor, The Jewish Chronicle

Describe the newspaper
The JC is the world’s oldest Jewish newspaper – 169 years old. We are also the best, with unrivalled coverage of domestic British news of interest to Jews, and of the Middle East. We boast some of best columnists in the county – Daniel Finkelstein, David Aaronovitch, Jonathan Freedland, Melanie Phillips and Julie Burchill – have Martin Samuel writing a weekly sports column, and superb arts and books coverage.
 
Why have you launched a Northern edition?
Northern readers have long complained that are too London-centric. When I became editor in November 2008 I realised quite soon that they were right. We are a national paper but we need to respect our readers. Our circulation has increased over the past year. If we get JC North right, it gives us a real opportunity to boost that increase.
 
How will it be different from the current version of the paper?
We have increased the pagination given to local, community news by fifty per cent. And we are slipping a dozen pages a week to give a more northern focus, such news stories, features, arts reviews and sport.
 
Who are your competitors and what makes you different?

In the north, the Jewish Telegraph, which is a local newspaper focused on hyper-local issues. We are a national paper with a northern edition. In London, the freesheet the Jewish News, which is editorially vapid.
 
What makes a good story for you?
Two types: something of big interest happening inside the Jewish community – Jewish schools are a regular example; and something in the wider world which is of special interest to Jews, such as events in the Middle East or some political story in the UK.
 
Of which story are you most proud?

I am hugely proud of our coverage of Operation Cast Lead in Gaza in 2009, and the recent Israeli action on the so-called aid flotilla, in which we offered an alternative to the overwhelming bias against Israel elsewhere. And of our coverage of the furore of Michal Kaminski, the Polish MEP.  We effectively ‘owned’ the story, breaking every key development.
 
What opportunities are there for PRs to get coverage and what tips can you give them to be successful?
Our section editors are always on the lookout for interesting stories. Biggest tip is to remember our readers are Jewish, so don’t just send in any old suggestion. Focus on the Jewish angle.
 
What are your own personal media must-haves?
The Times, online and in paper. My Kindle. Coffee House blog. And my iPhone, especially my RSS reader.
 
Circulation: 31,224 for the main edition
Contact: Editor Stephen Pollard at stephenpollard@thejc.com

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