J.O. Policies



The Jewish Observer is the house organ of the Jewish Federation of CNY. Its goals are to:

  • Promote the Federation, its programs, activities, its agencies and other Jewish organizations and to foster a sense of community among the Jewish people of Syracuse and Central New York by sharing ideas, information, experiences and opinions.
  • Encourage affiliation and involvement
  • Build community across institutional, organizational and denominational lines
  • Advance causes important to the strength of our Jewish community including support of Federation committees, Jewish Federations of North America Annual Campaign, synagogue, Jewish education and participation in Jewish and general community affairs
  • The JO’s goal is to inform the local Jewish community of news they would not ordinarily find elsewhere.


Information from organizations other than Federation

Synagogues and organizations are responsible for supplying the Jewish Observer with information they want published. This includes photographs of acceptable quality. It is not the Jewish Observer’s staff’s responsibility to gather material from the synagogues or organizations. Any material not received by established deadlines in the correct form will not be printed.

Institutional or organizational articles:

Articles by or about an organization or institution may be published as an activity announcement if the activity is open to the community and of general interest. After an organization holds an event, a shorter, detailed article reporting on the actual event may be accepted for publication in the Jewish Observer, depending on space availability.

The Jewish Observer may publish information received from all synagogue-affiliated groups (Brotherhood, Sisterhood, Youth Groups). The information should be submitted through the synagogue representative or directly to The Jewish Observervia e-mail.


The Jewish Observer will publish articles, commentary and opinions written by the Federation president/CEOand/or other Federation people which reflect the philosophies, programs and policies of the Federation.

Federation’s Ad Hoc Communications Sub-Committee maintains editorial oversight and confers with the JO editor and Federation president/CEO on the publication of Israeli and/or American newspaper editorials with different viewpoints, and invites comments from JO readers through letters to the editor. Nothing inflammatory will be allowed.

People’s viewpoints may be submitted for publication as “Letters to the Editor,” rather than as articles, unless an article of opinion or background information from the Federation has been solicited by the editor or desired by the Federation.

Anyone wanting to express an opinion may do so in the “Letters to the Editor” column as long as such letters are responsible, substantive and backed by fact and are not deemed by the Ad Hoc Editorial Committee to be divisive and contrary to the best interests of the Federation and/or the community. If the editor receives many letters on the same subject, one letter expressing each point of view may be published as a general representation of the readership’s opinion.

NOTE: Articles or letters critical of Jewish organizations, programs and institutions generally will not be published.

Personal notes

Personal notes should include births, deaths, engagements, marriages, special honors, graduations, B’nai Mitzvot, confirmations and milestone birthdays and anniversaries (birthdays 65 and older; anniversaries 25 years and every five years thereafter).

Editorial Decision Making

The editor retains broad authority to decide on content, authorship, frequency, or other factors –  including space availability, solicitation of articles and publication of articles, opinions and commentary.

However, as an employee of the Federation, the editor reports to and meets regularly with the Federation president/CEO regarding planning of upcoming issues and matters of concern. It is understood that should a matter of concern between these parties be unresolved, the final decision shall be made by the Federation president/CEO.

Sensitive or Controversial Matters

  • The editor shall bring issues of sensitive or a controversial nature to the attention of the Federation president/CEO. If the editor and/or Federation president/CEOconsiders the issues sufficiently sensitive and/or controversial, they may request a meeting of the Ad Hoc Editorial Sub-Committee of the Oversight Committee. This committee will consist of the editor and Federation president/CEO, the VP of Communications and the chair of the Oversight Committee. The committee will determine how the Jewish Observer will deal with the matter.
  • Matters concerning policy should be brought before the full JO Oversight Committee.
  • The editor retains the right to edit submissions for length, mechanics, readability and expression.

Guidelines for Articles and Opinion Pieces

  • Articles vs. opinion pieces

An article is an objective piece of writing, which includes specific information about an upcoming event or an event that has already occurred. An opinion piece tells what the author thinks about an event. If the author says an event was wonderful, that everyone loved it or that the event teaches the community something, then that makes it an opinion piece.

Articles can include opinions, but they must be in a quote and attributed to someone other than the author of the piece. The newspaper can’t urge people to go to an event unless it does so from the editorial page; but you can quote one of the organizers as urging people to do so and explain why this event will be really special. If something was “beautiful,” tell us who said so. Not only will this separate news from opinion in news articles; but it will also quote community people in the paper and that makes it more interesting to everyone.

  • Writing articles

The old rule still stands. The first thing to tell people is: who, what, when, where and why. Answer these questions in plain prose and you satisfy the needs of our readers.

Any article that quotes someone MUST have an author in case there’s a question about the comment. Write in the third person; do not use “we” or “our.” Remember that this is a newspaper and not a notice sent to your members, so using the first person is inappropriate. You may also want to explain a particular campaign or program in a way that a non-member can understand it. After all, your object in submitting any release to the paper is to gain wider publicity for the event.

Organizations are allowed two articles before an event and one article afterwards. The articles must be substantially different from one another. The only repetition of information is the time, location and contact information. Make sure the important details are included near the beginning of the article. Do not wait until the end of the story to talk about a famous person who will be making a guest appearance (even if you don’t consider that to be the most salient part of the event, that might be the one that may draw the best crowd); or that this event is expected to raise 90% of the organizational budget and the organization will have to close its doors if that does not happen. If such drastic statements are to be made at all, they must be included near the beginning of the story.

Another common error is to include certain factual details only in headlines and captions. Do not allow facts to be lost by failing to include them in the body of the story. The media will take care of redundancy; you need to take care of getting the message across.

Please double check the spelling of all names in the article. Please use first and last names, for example, Harriet Schmaltz (not Mrs. Lewis Schmaltz). Also include first names for rabbis, cantors, senators, etc.

Please check for consistency. If the event is on Sunday, May 12, check that May 12 is a Sunday; or if the event is a dinner, check that the hour listed is a reasonable dinner hour, not 6 am. If there are four people on a committee and you are listing them, check that there are, in fact, four names listed.

If you want credit, remember to include your byline at the top of the story.

  • Photos – Digital Photos Preferred

All photos need captions. Photos with five or fewer people in them must give the names of all those in the photo. Larger group shots do not have to have every name. Other suggestions: If there is a special speaker, ask him/her for a publicity photo and submit it with the article. Sometimes the best way to cover an event you organized is to take lots of photos – close-ups of real people, not far-away crowd shots. It is always best to take candids of people doing things rather than posed groups. Each article is allowed two photos, space permitting.

Contact us if you have any questions or problems. We can be reached at (315) 445-2040 ext. 116 or JewishObserverCNY@gmail.com.