Jane Eisner re-writes history to become the first female editor of the Forward

By Candice Krieger, June 20, 2008

Jane Eisner has just become the first woman editor-in-chief at the Forward, the national American Jewish news weekly based in New York. The paper, founded in 1897, has an august heritage: previous employees included the likes of Isaac Bashevis Singer and Elie Wiesel, before they won their Nobel Prizes.

Ms Eisner, 52, took up her new post last Wednesday. How is she getting on? “I am still trying to learn the computer system,” she tells People. Ms Eisner — a former Philadelphia Inquirer correspondent and editor, and former vice-president of Philadelphia’s National Constitution Centre — has two main goals for the Forward. The first, she says, is the ongoing project to integrate the website more seamlessly with the paper. “We do have a very good website, but in journalism these days you can never rest on your laurels,” she says. “We also want to attract younger readers. Also, there is the presidential election. Although Jewish voters are a small minority of voters, they play an outsized role, so we will aim to cover it wherever we can.”

Ms Eisner spent 25 years at the Philadelphia Inquirer, as City Hall bureau chief, features editor, editorial page editor and London correspondent, spending two-and-a-half years living in Swiss Cottage, North London. “I loved it and still have very close friends [in London]. My mother was English-born and raised in Leeds, so it is nice to have a connection there.” The mother-of-three says she was approached to apply for the Forward role. “I had been a reader of the English version and had always admired the paper, but it was only when I was approached that I started to consider it.”

Currently commuting to work from her home in Merion, where she lives with her oncologist husband Mark Berger, Ms Eisner hopes to move to New York by the end of the summer.

    Last updated: 4:54pm, June 23 2008