On behalf of the Atlanta Jewish Times, we hope that everyone is having a happy summer and tolerating the unprecedented heat! I would like to thank everyone for taking the time to read this message, and particularly thank the thousands of people who have supported the AJT in the past four months.
As you may know, after 86 years of serving the Jewish Community in Atlanta, the AJT nearly ceased doing business earlier this year. As this paper has been part of our community and heritage for several generations, I did not want to see it come to an end, especially not in the tragic manner that led to the crisis of this past January. As a result, on March 1, 2012, my company purchased some of the assets of the AJT from Adler Publishing, and I took over as Publisher of the Atlanta Jewish Times.
From the outset, I made some fundamental changes to the AJT, such as: improved quality of paper, print, and color; more local content; return of popular past columnists; establishment of working relationships with Jewish Federation of Greater Atlanta, Marcus Jewish Community Center of Atlanta, Atlanta Rabbinical Association, Israeli Consulate and Jewish day schools; sponsoring community events; and increasing the distribution of the newspaper from approximately 1,800 paid subscribers to 10,000 papers delivered throughout metro Atlanta. Those with any doubts as to the current status and integrity of the AJT need only ask those people who know first-hand all that has been done, such as staff members, advertisers, columnists, rabbis, leaders of the Jewish organizations, etc.
The AJT is the only place where you can consistently see your friends and families in a weekly newspaper; catch up on everything Jewish in Atlanta; read about the personal side of local Jewish business leaders, politicians, and celebrities; and learn about news events affecting Jews in Israel and around the world.
Our goal is to return the Atlanta Jewish Times to prominence, but that is easier said than done. The last four months have had many ups and downs, and while everyone at the AJT has done their best to improve the quality of the paper, now we need you, as members of the community, to do your part. Without your support, the AJT will not only struggle financially, but if the community does not deem it worthwhile to participate in and maintain this integral part of local Jewish culture and heritage, the Atlanta Jewish Times/Southern Israelite will have no purpose.
Please understand that the AJT is not going out of business. We have had a great response to the improvements made, and we appreciate everything that our subscribers, advertisers, and contributors have done. We just need more community involvement if we are to continue our progress! The majority of the community is not yet participating. Luckily, it is not difficult to contribute to your community newspaper; there are several simple ways you can help.
Firstly, you can advertise with us or encourage others to do so. For the last four months, we have relied on advertising revenue in order to cover the increased weekly costs that come with printing and distributing approximately 8,000 free copies (in addition to the paid subscriptions), but unfortunately, we need the support of additional advertisers to continue. We need members of the community to advertise or ask people whom they know to advertise.
Secondly, you can help the AJT by subscribing or gifting a subscription to someone you know. For only $1 per week – less than one cup of Starbuck’s coffee – you or a loved one can have the paper delivered to your mailbox. Take advantage of this convenience, and you are ensured to receive your issue no matter where you live or how high the demand!
Finally, you can show your support by simply logging onto atlantajewishtimes.com and navigating through the pages. Likewise, “liking” the AJT on Facebook increases and improves the AJT’s status on the web. Also, we are always looking for people to contribute stories and articles, or write a “Letter to the Editor.”
The Atlanta Jewish Times really is your community newspaper, and you can be part of it and continue its history and heritage. In fact, without all of you, there is no community, and without that, the AJT has no one to serve. Please consider participating. Your children and grandchildren will thank you some day!
By Cliff Weiss