After Nearly 200 Years of Publication, Coronavirus Drives UK’s Main Jewish Newspaper Into Liquidation
One of the world’s oldest Jewish newspapers announced that it was going into liquidation on Wednesday, with staff members learning on the eve of the Passover holiday that they were to lose their jobs.
The Jewish Chronicle, which began publishing in the UK in 1841, announced on its website that its Board had taken the decision to seek a creditors voluntary liquidation of Jewish Chronicle Newspapers Ltd, the paper’s parent company.
“Despite the heroic efforts of the editorial and production team at the newspaper, it has become clear that the Jewish Chronicle will not be able to survive the impact of the current coronavirus epidemic in its current form,” the paper explained in a note to readers.
News outlets that are heavily dependent on their print editions have been badly hit by the coronavirus crisis, as revenue from advertisers has been slashed.
The closure comes despite the paper’s merger in February with its rival, the Jewish News, in a bid to secure the financial futures of both. The deal was in the process of being finalized.
According to a report in The Guardian newspaper, management told staff they were in negotiation with the Kessler Foundation — which owns the paper — “to possibly secure the future of the Jewish Chronicle in some form, potentially involving rehiring a number of people, although this would require new funding.”
On social media, commentators and Jewish community advocates mourned the announcement, while some anti-Israel activists expressed pleasure at the news that Jews in the UK might no longer have a weekly news outlet that supported the Jewish state.
This is so sad. Terrible, terrible news. Huge sympathy to all the staff there – what a loss this would be to the Jewish community https://t.co/TSz1IRP28Y
— Hadley Freeman (@HadleyFreeman) April 8, 2020
I’ve been a JC columnist since 1998. My father wrote for the paper for 67 years, starting in 1951. It’s no exaggeration to say it is the beating heart of the British Jewish community. It must not be allowed to die https://t.co/1CBH2ECtl0
— Jonathan Freedland (@Freedland) April 8, 2020
Devastating news for us at @JewishChron (and @JewishNewsUK).
I won't be saying anything beyond confirming that the paper will be out as usual next week, and we have every intention of avoiding any interruption. https://t.co/0msxfR5PE6 continues, toohttps://t.co/RM5zbkZCxn
— Stephen Pollard (@stephenpollard) April 8, 2020