The New York Jewish Week, affiliated with UJA-Federation, is edited by an Orthodox Jew and also hires observant journalists. Both those newspapers, aimed as they are at the broader Jewish community, would seem to be able to cover news in a more objective manner than a newspaper openly identified with a particular segment or subgroup. However, these “broader” publications can often prove to be the worst offenders of the prohibition of lashon hara, hiding sensationalism and bias in impartial clothing.

Notwithstanding, I think that a journalist who seeks to avoid writing lashon hara could be successful at such a newspaper, because the editor may have some understanding of religious objections, and would give the more controversial topics to other writers. Of course, all of this depends on the dynamics of a specific newspaper.


Orthodox newspapers seem to present a viable alternative for the observant journalist. The Jewish Press tends to represent a mainstream, Modern Orthodox perspective. The paper features divrei Torah (Torah exegesis) by various rabbis, news from the Jewish world, advice columns, and feisty editorials and letters to the editor. While the avoidance of lashon hara is undoubtedly a value shared by most of the newspaper’s writers, there are those in the Orthodox community who consider some of the editorials (and other pieces) to be inappropriate, causing unnecessary machloket (disagreement) within the community.

Hamodia and Yated Ne̓eman, haredi newspapers based in Israel with American editions, are also options for the religious writer. While I am not very familiar with those newspapers, I suspect that the issues present at The Jewish Press may also be present there.

While choosing to write for an Orthodox newspaper would allow a reporter to avoid conflicts likely to be experienced with editors at a secular or “secular Jewish” newspaper, that reporter would be deprived of one positive byproduct of working at a non-Orthodox publication: the largest potential for kiddush Hashem (sanctification of God’s name) through the writing of articles that champion righteous values amid the newspaper’s secular culture.

Though I have not reached a final conclusion on whether, or in what capacity, I will pursue a journalistic career, I am concerned about the issues that face me as an observant Jew and an aspiring journalist. Whether I choose to work for a secular newspaper, for an issues-oriented publication, for a “secular” Jewish newspaper, or for an Orthodox publication, I hope to uphold the value of kiddush Hashem, and by doing so create merit for myself and virtue among my fellow Jews and human beings.


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