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June 29, 2014

Geoffrey Melada Named Washington Jewish Week's Editor-in-Chief

Geoffrey Melada is a journalism fellow at Columbia University's Graduate School of Journalism.
Washington Jewish Week’s Editor-in-Chief Geoffrey Melada

Our very good friend Geoffrey Melada (whom we’ve interviewed before for Hot Off the Press) was recently named the new editor-in-chief of Washington Jewish Week, an award-winning publication which covers the Jewish life and culture, particularly involving issues in the Washington, D.C. area.

On his first day at WJW, Geoffrey decided to write about the damages caused by the media when falsehoods are reported as facts because when the media perpetuate figures or evidence that are not factual it can be quite damaging to the people and organizations involved. His piece centered around the haste and lazy judgment of the “Central Park Five,” a group of black and Hispanic teenagers who were wrongfully convicted of raping a female jogger.

Drawing from traditional Jewish governing laws, his background as an lawyer, and his career as a journalist, Geoffrey advocates in his piece that truth searching is at the heart of journalism. Although there was an admission of guilt by the Central Park Five, and although there was evidence, there was no truth in any of it– the confessions were a result of unrecorded police interrogation and evidence to the crime was finally linked to the actual perpetrator. Noted black journalist Bob Herbert of the New York Times had vilified the teenagers, who had no criminal backgrounds prior to the case, by branding them “teenage mutants” in his column for New York’s Daily News, further drenching a case in racism which was already tinged with racism.

Geoffrey’s piece centers around finding the truth and promoting that, rather than promoting a widely accepted consensus that has not been probed or debated. The Central Park Five were eventually released after being incarcerated for a vicious crime they did not commit and will receive $40 million from New York City, representing about $1 million for each year of their incarceration and all but one of the Central Park Five completed their sentences which ranged from six to 13 years.

As he closes his piece, Geoffrey writes: “News of the Central Park jogger case may have dampened my spirits as I headed into my first day of work as WJW’s editor. But perhaps it was just the reminder of journalism’s high calling that I needed to hear.”

With views like that, we at Kennedy Blue Communications send nothing but praise and well wishes to our very good friend. Geoffrey Melada will serve WJW well and will continue to be a pioneer of the fundamentals of journalism: finding truth and honesty in every story no matter how long it takes.