Yoni Goldstein, who oversaw the revival of The Canadian Jewish News twice in the last decade, is stepping down, starting Jan. 1.
Goldstein, 43, is currently the editor-in-chief and CEO of The CJN. He first joined the newspaper in December 2013, after it had briefly folded for financial reasons, and relaunched the weekly publication in April 2014 with an increased digital focus.
The CJN closed again in April 2020, at the onset of the pandemic. Goldstein—working with Bryan Borzykowski, president of The CJN’s board—oversaw a second restart in January 2021.
“Yoni’s dedicated 10 years of his life to The CJN and has really modernized the publication… He really helped keep the paper alive and going. He’s made incredible contributions to Jewish media and the Jewish community in general,” Borzykowski said.
Goldstein says he has mixed feelings about his decision to leave The CJN.
“On the one hand, after 10 years with The CJN I feel like I’m just getting started in some ways. The CJN is in, I believe, a very strong position at the moment and I am satisfied with my efforts to get things to this point, but there is plenty more to do. The CJN is growing again and I am excited to see where it goes next.”
Goldstein was appointed as the top editor in 2013, with a goal to modernize a familiar and beloved community institution, that first started publishing in 1960.
“It may have taken 10 years and a somewhat circuitous path, but I feel like that mission has finally been achieved,” he said.
When the weekly newspaper incarnation shut down in 2020, Goldstein could have left The CJN, Borzykowski said, but he was eager to say he wanted to revive it.
“The board of The CJN at the time looked around for entities who would continue publication,” recalled Ira Gluskin, a member of The CJN’s board. “Yoni and Bryan came forward and they had, by far, the best vision.”
Transitioning from running a newspaper, to overseeing a diverse news outlet, during a pandemic, however, was challenging.
“We had this plan of podcasts, magazines, events, websites and all of this has happened. He really took the reins of something that was different and managed to create something new,” Borzykowski said.
The newest iteration of the country’s only independent, national, Jewish news outlet now boasts a newly designed website, a glossy quarterly magazine, and a number of podcasts focusing on news, current events, sports and culture.
The CJN was also designated as a non-profit institution and—for first time in its history—can receive tax-deductible donations.
“My experience first as editor-in-chief of the ‘old’ paper and as CEO of a modern media startup were very different in many ways,” Goldstein reflected. “What they shared, though, has been the opportunity to learn all sorts of new things and the blessing to work with incredible colleagues.
“It’s a very tough media environment out there right now, everyone knows that. And yet I think The CJN has shown a path forward certainly for small and community publications, but I’d like to believe also for even the biggest platforms in Canada how to thrive.”
Goldstein’s departure signals a new chapter for The CJN, but “he is leaving The CJN in a better position than when he found it,” Borzykowski said.
“Despite all the ups and downs that have happened, with the economy, the pandemic, with just the media business itself, I really believe that he is leaving the business in a better position that when he started and that is all you can ask for.”
The board will be searching for a CEO to spearhead the news organization’s financial growth.
“It will be very difficult to replace Yoni because he was involved in everything,” Gluskin said. “Our challenge is in raising revenues from our products and continuing to raise donations.”
The new CEO will have “big shoes to fill,” but Borzykowski says he does not expect any major changes in direction.
“We want to continue the vision that the board has and that Yoni has, into creating a Jewish media platform that connects Jews from across the country in all sorts of different ways… We’re going to keep moving forward and making sure The CJN is here for another 60 years.”