Going off the record with Steve Linde…

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Steve Linde, pictured, the recently retired SA-born editor-in-chief of the Jerusalem Post, was in Johannesburg last week where JR board chairman Howard Sackstein hosted an off-the-record dinner with him for a group of local Jewish journalists and authors. Linde shared some incredible stories and gave some very frank answers to questions which global Jewry often ponders. One would love to share some, but the privilege accorded by being off-the-record means that nobody is able to share his frank opinions and sometimes hilarious anecdotes.
by ANT KATZ | Aug 11, 2016

Last week Steve Linde, the recently retired SA-born editor-in-chief of the Jerusalem Post, came to Johannesburg for the first time in 30 years. The chairman of the SA Jewish Report’s board of directors, Howard Sackstein, invited a host of Jewish media practitioners to an off-the-record discussion and dinner with Linde.

The group of writers and journalists came from across the core of print, electronic, and online media houses (such as the Independent Media Group, Times Media, The Daily Maverick and, of course, the SA Jewish Report.

Everyone agreed that the discussion was extremely stimulating and, being off-the-record, Linde was able to share many "war stories" as only someone who has been so close to the leadership in Israel for so long, could do.

Other representatives, Jewish writes all, included those from organisations as diverse as the SA Institute for Race Relations and the SA Zionist Federation. The group also included a few private publishers and authors and Jewish Report directors.

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ABOVE: Some of the Jewish SA writers who sat down for an off-the-record evening with outgoing editor in chief of the Jerusalem Post, Steve Linde (with host Howard Sackstein, SAJR's chairman, front right)

One of the regrets is that that one cannot share some of the incredible stories that were shared and frank answers that were given to questions which global Jewry ponders often. But that’s what off-the-record means. Were that privilege not in place, one would never hear such frank opinions and sometimes hilarious incidents.

 Linde remains active at the Jerusalem Post. While he has handed over the reins of editor-in-chief, he remains features editor and continues to oversee a global battery of products – most of which he himself started and almost all of which provide income to keep the 50 000-daily circulation print edition of the newspaper alive. Their Friday edition has sales of 80 000 and their international edition 40,000.

Originally regarded as left-leaning newspaper, the Post underwent a noticeable shift to the right in the late 1980s.

From 2004, under then editor-in-chief David Horovitz, the paper took a more centrist position, competing against the staunch left-liberal Ha'aretz. When Linde took over the reins, he immediately changed the newspaper’s position to being "centrist" – aiming to provide balanced coverage of the news along with views from across the political spectrum. In April 2016, Linde stepped down as editor-in-chief and was replaced by Yaakov Katz.

The newspaper is published in English and French and is a venerable old lady, having been founded in 1932 by Gershon Agron as “The Palestine Post”.

It changed its name to The Jerusalem Post in 1950. It is a broadsheet newspaper based in Jerusalem and was purchased by Mirkaei Tikshoret (a diversified Israeli media firm controlled by investor Eli Azur) in 2004. Ten years later  Azur acquired the Hebrew-language Ma’ariv newspaper.


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