B’nai Brith’s Jewish Tribune suspends print edition

The newspaper has been in print since 1964.

TORONTO — The Jewish Tribune, a weekly newspaper published by B’nai Brith Canada, announced Jan. 29 that it would be suspending production of its print edition.

Sam Eskenasi, a B’nai Brith spokesperson, said “the Jewish Tribune will be temporarily suspending publication of its print edition, but continue with its online offerings to re-examine the best ways the print edition can service the community. During this phase, the Tribune will continue to offer top notch content on their website at www.jewishtribune.ca. 

“This decision was made by the Tribune management with the best interest of the paper in mind, and readers will be updated with information as soon as it becomes available.”

According to JTA, the suspension of the print edition will last 13 weeks.

Frank Dimant, former B’nai Brith CEO and publisher of the Tribune, who stepped down last fall after 36 years as head of the Jewish advocacy organization and was replaced by Michael Mostyn, said he was saddened when he heard the news.

“I’m always saddened when any institution in the Jewish community ceases to operate, even for a little time. I’m hopeful they will be able to restructure, because I believe that multiple opinions in the community that are legitimate have a place,” he said.

Dimant said that the newspaper, which was originally called The Covenant, has been in print since 1964. It has been known as the Jewish Tribune for about 20 years.

A number of community newspapers in Ontario have suffered a similar fate over the past few years, citing financial difficulties due to a lack of advertising revenue.

In 2013, the Town Crier, a chain of community newspapers serving several Toronto neighbourhoods, announced that it would be suspending publication of its newspapers indefinitely. The Corriere Canadese, an Italian-language paper and one of Canada’s oldest community publications, also suspended its operations in 2013.

In April of that year, The CJN announced that it would be shutting its doors, citing financial difficulties due to a drop in advertising and subscriptions, but an outcry from the Jewish community spurred CJN management to restructure and redesign the paper. Production resumed a few months later.

Commenting on the Tribune’s suspension of its print edition, Suanne Kelman, professor emeritus of journalism at Ryerson University, said, “As a journalist, I'm concerned about our problems finding viable business models for traditional media. As a Jew, I find it sad that the sense of community seems to have declined so rapidly.”

Efforts to reach Mostyn by The CJN’s deadline were unsuccessful.