Today’s #MediaMonday comes to us from Shannon Levitt, editor of the Jewish News. The Jewish News covers news of interest to and about the Jewish community throughout the Valley.
So, Shannon, time to share!
Tell us how you got your start in writing? Tell us your story!
I started as an English teacher, but I always liked creative writing. My ex-husband is a journalist, and I started editing his copy and books. I didn’t consider doing it as a job until he separated from the Boston Globe and started his own media website about the Catholic Church. He needed an editor and there I was. Soon he asked me to start writing articles as well for Cruxnow, the website, and I discovered it was actually fun to be a reporter. I had been watching him do this work for years and often accompanied him on reporting trips and to interviews. I really like writing about religion in general, and now I’m so happy I have the opportunity to write about my own.
Tell us how you came to start working in the Valley media scene?
I moved to Scottsdale in the spring of 2019 to be close to my family, and at the time, I was still working from home for Crux. At the beginning of 2020 I decided I’d like to change jobs and work among other people for a change. I liked what I was doing, but I worked alone, far from all my colleagues, and I’m a social person. When I saw the notice for the position at Jewish News, I applied immediately. The job description matched my skills and interest, and it turned out to be about two miles from my apartment. I knew it would be the perfect job for me.
Tell us about the outlet and types of story pitches you want?
The big difference for me at Jewish News is that it’s all local. I was used to a national and international outlet, and sometimes I find myself interested in a story that’s outside of Arizona. But any story that’s local and Jewish is wide open for us, and I like that freedom.
Where did you grow up?
I was born and raised in a small town in Colorado where I was part of the only Jewish family in town. It gave me a very unique perspective, as well as an interest in religion.
Favorite type of music?
I’m so boring when it comes to music. I listen to whatever is on the radio, and my playlist is just music my friends have suggested to me. I would say it’s eclectic, but that makes it sound as if I had a plan.
Any shade of blue.
Favorite TV shows or movies?
I love “The Simpsons,” “Buffy the Vampire Slayer,” and “The Handmaid’s Tale.”
I like most movies directed by Quentin Tarantino and Whit Stillman.
Favorite local restaurants or other haunts?
Only living here a year I don’t have that many, but White Chocolate Grill is wonderful. Before the pandemic, Eddie V’s was my favorite bar to go to with my friends. The best thing is that it’s walking distance from my apartment.
Least favorite food?
Tripe. Romans love it, and I can’t stomach it!
Three things readers would be surprised to know about you?
I grew up in a farm town in eastern Colorado with no Jews, other than my family, in sight.
I lived in Rome for six years.
I know a LOT about the Catholic Church.
What is the lead time you need for content or pitches?
We need a couple of weeks in general.
What should (and shouldn’t) people be pitching to you?
Anything that has both a local and Jewish theme works for a pitch. We would love to hear about members of our community doing interesting and unusual things. We especially like to feature individuals or groups that we haven’t featured before.
What is the best way to reach you?