Dov Alfon has been named as the new editor-in-chief of Haaretz Newspaper, following a decision by the company's board of directors. Guy Rolnik, the deputy publisher of the Haaretz Group said Tuesday that the "choice of Alfon was a natural one and is a sign of our commitment to direct the newspaper toward growth and significant expansion of our readership, continuing the marked growth of recent years."
Alfon is expected to take up his new role on April 15. He will replace David Landau, who is completing a four-year term in the post. Landau will stay on at Haaretz as a member of the editorial board.
Haaretz publisher Amos Schocken said that Landau took the position of editor-in-chief during an uneasy period for the newspaper and its editorial staff.
During his tenure, said Schocken, Landau succeeded in expressing Haaretz's commitment to the values of practical Zionism, and concludes his service with the same great journalistic achievements, leaving the newspaper with an unprecedented high circulation and as strong a status as ever in Israel and abroad.
Schocken said he was glad that Alfon, who successfully held key positions at Haaretz for 15 years, was now returning to the paper as editor-in-chief.
Alfon, 46, began his journalistic career at the weekly publication Koteret Rashit (Lead Headline) in 1984. He joined Haaretz five years later and held a series of posts. Among his roles at Haaretz, Alfon founded "Gallery," the paper's culture edition, and edited the Haaretz magazine from 1992-7. He also served as the newspaper's correspondent in Paris and created the "Captain Internet" character and his adventures.
In January 2001, Alfon joined TheMarker, where he founded the monthly magazine and served as its senior editor.
In January 2004, Alfon left Haaretz and took the post of editor-in-chief of the publishing house Kinneret Zmura-Beitan Dvir.
Alfon's tenure at Kinneret Zmura-Beitan Dvir was a time when many editors and authors joined the publishing house, and its number of best-sellers more than doubled. Today it is considered the largest and most influential publishing house in Israel.
"Alfon brings with him to Haaretz great journalistic experience, combined with talent, brilliance and originality," Rolnik said Tuesday.
"In recent years, he has proven himself not just as a gifted journalist but as an editor who is innovative in many areas. I am convinced that under his leadership, Haaretz newspaper will continue to flourish, rejuvenate and strengthen its status as the highest quality and most important newspaper in Israel during this challenging time in the media world."
Alfon said Tuesday: "I am excited to return to Haaretz and I am eagerly anticipating the renewed encounter with its excellent journalists. I am grateful for the vote of confidence and for the chance to lead this important Israeli newspaper throughout the changes necessary to continue its success."
Landau said he was privileged to have been part of leading the flagship of Hebrew journalism and that he was concluding his tenure with a sense of pride.
"During my four-year term, I have been happy to be part of the newspaper's growing success, achieved in a time of turbulence and recession in the newspaper industry worldwide," said Landau on Tuesday. "With its English edition and Web site, which I was instrumental in creating, Haaretz has become a major medium in international and Jewish discourse, bringing its proud and principled journalism to a world audience.
"My term as editor spanned testing times of terror, war and ongoing peace efforts. Throughout this period, Haaretz has advocated policies of responsible Israeli Zionism, while maintaining the values of pluralistic and ethical journalism."
Over the past three years, the circulation of Haaretz grew by 25 percent, compared to a declining trend in other newspapers in Israel and abroad.
According to audited figures, the number of paid subscriptions to the newspaper grew by 8.4 percent in 2007 and reached an all-time high of 65,000.
The newspaper sells 72,000 copies daily, and close to 100,000 copies at weekends.
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