Jewish papers in circulation war

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The Independent Online
BRITAIN'S LEADING Jewish publication, the Jewish Chronicle, is fighting a bitter circulation war with a rival title which owes as much to a struggle for power and influence as a desire to shift more newspapers.

The London Jewish News, a free newspaper, claims that the Chronicle had tried to browbeat newsagents into not delivering it to Jewish homes. Potential advertisers had also been sent letters casting aspersions on the paper, according to Gary Stern, the LJN managing director.

Mr Stern last week launched an advertising campaign designed to "knock" the Chronicle. He also hired several advertising vans to put his message across, parking one outside the Chronicle's offices in the City of London.

"The Jewish community is crying out for a publication which takes a fresh look at the news and does not charge extortionate advertising rates," he told The Independent on Sunday. Mr Stern, 34, claimed the Chronicle was a paper for the "chattering classes", while the LJN was "more in touch with the views of ordinary Jews".

Mr Stern, who helped to found the London Financial News, said: "I took on the Financial Times. After that, this fight with the JC appears easy."

But one critic said: "The LJN is a lightweight, it's a glorified synagogue newsletter. At best, the quality of its journalism is parochial."

Some community insiders believe that the LJN is being used as a weapon in a campaign against the Jewish Chronicle and its high-profile editor, Ned Temko.

Mr Temko dismissed the threat from the LJN, saying it was merely the latest in a long line of competitors that the Chronicle had seen off since it was founded 158 years ago.

Before becoming the Chronicle's editor in 1990, the American-born Mr Temko was a highly regarded foreign correspondent who had covered the civil war in Lebanon.

He said he did not know if the LJN would survive much longer because it was haemorrhaging money. But he said he welcomed its challenge.

"It will stop us from getting lazy. Any competition is good and we can learn from it."

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