Memo to JTA: Telling Stories Jewishly

Every day of the year, OK probably not on Yom Kippur, the Jewish blog-o-sphere is alive with dynamic content, interesting news and STORIES.

Here, is just one, from a blogger, telling a great story showcasing a slice of Jewish life in New York City:

from Jewlicious, The Murray Hill Song: A Piece of Jewish New York History

“The Lower East Side of Manhattan will always be remembered as a place of Jewish beginnings in contemporary American Jewish culture. Escaping from Czarist pogroms, harsh anti-Semitism and stifling shtetl life, many Jewish American families began their new lives in die Goldene Medina by alighting from boats on Ellis Island and setting up homes in this traditionally impoverished New York City neighborhood. Today, the Jewish imprint on the Lower East side is greatly diminished as economic progress, rapid gentrification and other factors have led to the exodus of most of the Lower East Side’s traditional Jewish residents to more fashionable Manhattan addresses and cleaner suburbs. The synagogues have been mostly replaced by fancy condos and the Jewish delis by upscale eateries. No one has played stickball on the streets of the LES since 1962.”

By the way, the YouTube video in the post has had 41,000 views in less than two days. Does any one JTA “story” match that exposure?

So, I ask you, in the JTA’s own words: “Without a strong JTA, the storytelling will be left to bloggers, twitterers, and non-professionals. Is this the best way for our future Jewish stories to be told and recorded?”

Maybe leaving things to bloggers is not such a bad thing.

Here’s more from this morning on the JTA’s ill-advised fundraising appeal:

from The Jewish Channel:

JTA’s President Insults Bloggers, Twitterers

In a new twist on what’s become the near-constant pleading for donations from JTA, President Elisa Spungen Bildner insults producers of new media explicitly…

And insulting new media producers is actually only part of it: just where does Spungen Bildner think that the many local Jewish newspapers fit into this equation? They’re rarely bloggers or twitterers, so I guess the New York Jewish Week, LA Jewish Journal, and New Jersey Jewish News are “non-professionals”? I’ve leveled many a criticism at various print Jewish media purveyors, but calling them “non-professionals” is something we had to wait for Spungen Bildner to do – someone whose JTA organization, by the way, gains a significant chunk of its revenues by charging all of those papers thousands of dollars per year to reprint JTA content.

from The New Jew:

JTA in Crisis Mode After E-mail Dissing Bloggers

What’s the story here? Are the JTA’s own blogs showing them how truly powerful a medium blogging can be? Are they being hit so hard by the economy that they have to separate themselves from their closest competitors, self-identified as the blogs? Whatever it is, the message of the site, heavy with a new media blog-based design, and its blogging and twittering staff, do not align with the negative heavy handedness of its organizational message. Be on the look-out for some back pedaling in the near future.