The Pittsburgh Jewish Chronicle is as Important as Ever
When Jim Busis took over the Pittsburgh Jewish Chronicle in 2012, it was on the verge of collapse. Faced with a number of challenges, including a constantly-evolving media landscape, the paper was failing. It was time to rethink how the Chronicle did its reporting, how it served the community, and how it operated its business. After a near-decade of organizational restructuring, thanks to Busis' leadership, the Chronicle has established its place as a critical local media service in the community.
These changes fostered a culture of constant innovation and flexibility that have enabled the Chronicle to cover two enormous community crises in two years: the shooting at the Tree of Life Synagogue and its aftermath, which remained ongoing almost right up until the COVID-19 pandemic began. The insightful reporting provided by the Chronicle throughout this time has demonstrated the value of an inquisitive local news source that shares community narratives through a Jewish lens.
"There are more stories than you can possibly cover… it has been a nonstop marathon for us over the past two-and-a-half years," said Jim Busis, CEO of the Pittsburgh Jewish Chronicle. "I'm enormously proud of our staff. I'm enormously proud of them for soldiering through this time. We've tried our best to cover a broad range of stories of things that people want and need to know in the community."
On top of these catastrophes that have impacted every aspect of life, the Chronicle continues to navigate an ever-evolving landscape of challenges. COVID-19 has put a financial burden on all media services, and the Chronicle is no exception. But in an era of excess disinformation, the value of a reputable voice for local, national, and international news has never been so critical. The Jewish Healthcare Foundation (JHF) relies more heavily on the Chronicle's local reporting than ever before, and, as part of JHF's COVID-19 Emergency Fund, the Foundation recently provided the Chronicle with a two-year grant to help address shortfalls in funding due to COVID-19's impact.
During the pandemic, owing to their exceptional reporting of these crises, the Pittsburgh Jewish Chronicle was invited to apply for the inaugural Jewish Journalism Fellowship by the Maimonides Fund, a yearlong program designed to help local Jewish news outlets thrive in the 21st-century media landscape. In February it was announced they were one of just five Jewish publications from across the nation to be accepted. This fellowship, along with Busis' leadership and his strong staff, the Chronicle will continue to adapt to the ever-evolving needs of the community and effectively reach Pittsburghers.
"It's often said in Pittsburgh, and it maybe sounds a little trite, but it's absolutely true that this Jewish community is unique in how well we all play together and how closely knit we are," said Busis. "Throughout this crisis, from our perspective where we are working with organizations and trying to write news stories about them, I am just so happy that we get along so well together. It makes us more effective for our partners in the community. It is a terrific aspect of Pittsburgh."