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Marc Klein, pioneering editor and journalist in California, dies at 75

“He raised the level of Jewish journalism,” said Robert Leiter, who counted Klein as his first boss in the news industry, and served in a number of positions at the Philadelphia “Jewish Exponent,” including as interim editor.

Newspaper. Credit: Andrys/Pixabay.
Newspaper. Credit: Andrys/Pixabay.

Marc Klein, who fought to protect independent Jewish journalism in the San Francisco Bay Area, died on May 25 from the complications of a transplant-related cancer. He was 75 years old.

For 28 years, he worked as the editor and publisher of what began as the Jewish Bulletin and what became J., The Jewish News of Northern California, an online news portal that emerged as the first website for a Jewish newspaper.

Previous J. publisher Nora Contini said that Klein “felt an independent Jewish publication was really important, and he wasn’t afraid of standing his ground about that,” according to an article in the J.

Marc Klein
Marc Klein. Source: J., The Jewish News of Northern California.

Klein grew up in Northeast Philadelphia and began developing his journalism skills as a writer for his high school newspaper. He wrote for the Daily Collegian, the student newspaper at Penn State University, where he majored in journalism. In a professional capacity, he worked as a reporter and then assistant managing editor for the Evening Bulletin in Philadelphia, which closed in 1978; and later served as editor for the Philadelphia Jewish Exponent.

Robert Leiter, who served in a number of different positions at the Jewish Exponent, including as interim editor, said Klein was his first boss in the newspaper industry.

“He raised the level of Jewish journalism. He was tough but fair, old school. He had high standards and asked the staff to step up; in short, he was a very fine editor,” said Leiter.

Then Klein moved to California, where he tackled another Bulletin, this once which he helped bring back to life.

Contini recalled when Klein began at the J., “it was 1984, but it was like 1960.” She said that in that initial year, “there was rapid change. We moved offices. We bought computers. We went from going to a typesetting shop, to desktop publishing, to the internet. We were the first Jewish newspaper to create a website.”

Another key innovation Klein led was reorganizing the publication as a 501(c)(3) nonprofit, a process that was completed in August 2013.

In other leadership capacities, Klein served as president of the American Jewish Press Association, helping to foster dialogue among writers, editors and the business side of Jewish news outlets in North America. He was also president of Temple Israel of Alameda in the Bay Area of San Francisco.

Klein is survived by his wife, Sandy—they met in 1968 at a Hillel Shabbat service at Penn State—two daughters and three grandsons.

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