The more heterogeneous a society gets, the more diverse its media sector becomes. Whilst large media outlets cater for the general public, community media respond to the interests of a more tightly knit readership. Computer geeks read magazines authored by computer geeks. Single parents post entries on blogs for single parents. Senior citizens listen to radio broadcasts produced to reach out to senior citizens. In this vein, ethnic and religious communities publish for internal audiences.
On the flipside of this development, media products of minority or immigrant communities increasingly attract the attention of other segments of society. Especially better educated, widely travelled and open-minded members of the majority population do not merely want to know what is written about minorities but also what is written by them.
Turning our spotlight onto the Viennese community media scene, one can observe both trends. Some outlets explicitly address a clearly defined community with information mostly relevant only thereto. Others, however, claim their voice in the general public discourse. This is based on the assumption that minority issues are at the same time majority issues. A city belongs to all people living therein and is being shaped by all its inhabitants, irrespective of ethno-religious belonging or socio-economic stratum.
Vienna has seen numerous media projects who critically promote this intersection of majority and minority. Once a month, I have the pleasure to find an extremely well-crafted magazine of this type on my desk – Wina: Das jüdische Stadtmagazin (www.wina-magazin.at). For many decades, various Jewish community media have (re-)emerged in Vienna. Understandably, many of those outlets have been directed at a Jewish readership, whereas others predominantly reported on Jewish history or acts of hatred against Jews. Wina would not turn a blind eye to these crucial topics either, but what makes it particularly worthwhile reading is the underlying concept of being an urban magazine in a diverse city. Insightful portraits of Viennese Jews and non-Jews, travel guides with a kosher touch of cities across Europe, sceptical op-eds, and the transformation of Jewish life styles inside and outside Israel are but a few of Wina’s multifaceted features. The magazine’s very name - the Hebrew name of Vienna written in German transliteration - epitomises this approach.
Sitting in one of the city’s fancy cafés for Sunday brunch and watching people from different walks of life browsing Wina’s newest edition illustrates the idea of what a community magazine in a diverse urban space could look like. (EK)