This is the season when journalists honor their own, and it is my pleasure to report that the Forward is a finalist in three categories for the annual awards given by the Deadline Club, the New York Chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists. This is a record for us, and a distinct thrill, even if the competition for these awards — which honor the best in New York area journalism in 2009 — is daunting!
The Forward’s nominations reflect the breadth of our work. In the category for best news reporting for newspapers with a circulation of under 100,000, we are nominated for a pair of stories examining the work practices in Jewish communal organizations. Written by a team of journalists — Gabrielle Birkner, Devra Ferst and myself — the stories documented a serious gender gap in pay and promotion in these organizations, and showed how few offer family-leave policies, even though women make up most of the workforce.
In arts reporting, our regular contributor Benjamin Ivry is nominated for his marvelous story about a young Israeli orchestral musician who became a world expert on the music of the Aka Pygmies of Central Africa.
And Jay Michaelson, who writes the Polymath column each month, is nominated for opinion writing for his incisive and provocative explorations of the modern Jewish condition.
We are up against writers from The New York Times, Sports Illustrated and Vanity Fair, among other publications, and there’s no telling how the judges will decide until the winners are announced at an awards ceremony on June 7. But this solid recognition from our peers is a gratifying affirmation of the excellent journalism performed by the entire Forward staff every day.
The creativity of my colleagues isn’t confined to the newsroom, and some of their recent accomplishments are also worth noting.
Kurt Hoffman, our art director, is an astonishingly talented designer, musician, and artist. His band has toured in Europe, and now his artwork is, too. He will be represented by four drawings on paper at the Museum Ludwig in Cologne, Germany, as a part of a month-long exhibition of works from the private collection of artist Rosemarie Trockel, opening April 20.
Just last week, we celebrated the launch of a new book — her first! — by Nadja Spiegelman, the Forward’s associate web producer. “Zig and Wikki: Something Ate My Homework” is the first book to incorporate nonfiction in the Toon Books easy-to-read comics series. Written by Nadja and illustrated by Trade Loeffler, this charming work entices youngsters to read while teaching them fun facts about flies and bugs and frogs.
We are also pleased to announce that Jenna Weissman Joselit, author of a beloved monthly column “Wonders of America,” has been named director of The George Washington University Judaic Studies Program of the Columbian College of Arts and Sciences. As the college dean said when the appointment was announced on April 13, “Dr. Weissman Joselit has enriched the lives of her students through her teachings and research…. We are confident that the Judaic Studies Program will continue to thrive under her leadership and expertise.”
So are we.
And just to prove that the Forward’s range is wide and deep, our Dan Friedman, arts and culture editor, is a contributor to the World Cup Memories series on The New York Times soccer blog, Goal. Go, Leeds United!
Jane Eisner, a pioneer in journalism, became editor-in-chief of the Forward in 2008, the first woman to hold the position at the influential Jewish national news organization. Under her leadership, the Forward readership has grown significantly and has won numerous regional and national awards for its original journalism, in print and online.