Longtime San Diego journalist Don Harrison will celebrate the New Year with one less job responsibility. Effective Jan. 1, the 76-year-old will no longer serve as publisher and editor of San Diego Jewish World, an online daily news website he founded in 2007.
Succeeding Harrison, considered a leader in the local Jewish community, will be Jacob Kamaras, who joined the publication as managing editor in May 2021.
“I’m selling-out,” Harrison quipped to Times of San Diego. “It was a tough negotiation, but we agreed on a sales price to Jacob of $1. But, I don’t want Jacob to just casually hand over a ceremonial, one-dollar bill. I want this event to be done in a public setting with an audience and a certain flair and panache.”
The money exchange is expected to occur at a gala fundraiser in 2022 that Kamaras will organize following his recovery from a fractured heel injury after falling at La Jolla’s Congregation Adat Yeshurun, where he serves on the board.
Harrison said, “I never intended San Diego Jewish World to be a profit-maker. Rather, it was my way of providing a service to the community, which I was happy to do to assure that the Jewish community would continue to have a voice.”
In January 2021, Harrison underwent brain tumor surgery, followed by a knee operation in May 2021. “My tremors are gone, along with the paralysis, and the arthritis isn’t too bad in my legs,” he said. “Sometimes, I use a walking stick. I can get around fine, I’m just not as fast as I used to be.
“I’m ready to move-on to other things without the responsibility of the editor’s chair. I will continue reporting and writing, primarily travel stories and book reviews, as editor emeritus and contributor.”
On Harrison’s New Year’s resolution list is authoring a seventh book, a sequel to “77 Miles of Jewish Stories: History and Anecdotes Along Interstate 8” that features stories related to Jewish history, settlement or people at each freeway exit along a 77-mile stretch of I-8 from Pacific Beach to the Imperial County line.
Previous books have focused on finding Jewish stories in unlikely places. Titles have included “Schlepping through American West” and “Schlepping and Schmoozing through San Diego County.”
After a reporting career with the Associated Press, The San Diego Union, San Diego Jewish Press Heritage and San Diego Jewish Times, Harrison founded San Diego Jewish World with his wife Nancy.
According to Harrison, “I’m delighted to turn over responsibility and ownership to Jacob. He is half my age with twice the amount of energy. I’m expecting he will expand Jewish World’s reach to a younger demographic.”
New stories are posted daily on San Diego Jewish World for an audience that exceeded 2 million visitors in 2021, Harrison said.
Born in Brooklyn, Kamaras, 35, moved to San Diego in 2018 with wife Megan, who grew up in La Jolla. They have two children, Elliott, 3, and Aurora, 1. Kamaras began his career in Jewish journalism with The Jewish State, a weekly newspaper in Central New Jersey. He also is a former editor in chief of the national Jewish News Syndicate, a wire service that served more than 75 Jewish community newspapers and websites. He graduated from Brandeis University with a degree in politics and journalism.
Kamaras also has a background in public relations. He worked as an associate at J Cubed Communications, a Tel Aviv-based international PR firm that represented The Jewish Agency for Israel, Nefesh B’Nefesh, Ruderman Family Foundation, University of Haifa and Jerusalem College of Technology. In 2020, Kamaras founded his own PR firm he calls Stellar Jay Communications, which serves nonprofit and government clients.
“It’s a challenging time in today’s economy for news organizations,” said Kamaras, “and we will need to count on the support of the local community and institutions to survive and thrive. I’m looking forward to growing our audience while continuing to serve our present readers. There is no limit to our community’s umbrella. We want to ensure a vibrant future for Jewish news and commentary here in San Diego.”
BLVR Wins 10 Awards at San Diego One Show Competition
BLVR, a creative agency based in Del Mar, received 10 awards, including Best of Show, at the recent San Diego One Show Awards, presented by The One Club San Diego for the advertising community.
BLVR said it took home four Gold awards for work on its client Andis, a Wisconsin-based company that sells hair styling accessories, including trimmers and clippers. Categories for its Gold awards included cinematography, brand transformation, television-online video and print campaign.
BLVR also won four Silver awards for Andis-related work in integrated campaign, website, writing and logo design categories. Additionally, BLVR won two Bronze awards for photography for Andis and website for BLVR’s own site.
“We’re thankful for our fearless clients and their trust and determination to do things differently,” said Austin Lane, executive creative director, BLVR.
“It’s an honor for our work to be recognized by the San Diego One Show Awards,” said Scott Hancock, CEO, BLVR. “I’m exceptionally proud of the BLVR team and their fearless passion and commitment to creating art, poetry and stories with the power to inspire and change the world.”
In addition to Andis, BLVR clients include Polaris, At Home and Harrah’s Resort Southern California.
Cindy Hill Adds Associate Title to Marketing Duties at KPFF
Cindy Hill, marketing director at the San Diego office of KPFF, a multi-disciplined engineering firm, has added the title of associate to her marketing duties, the company announced.
Hill, who has worked at KPFF since 2000, has grown the San Diego marketing team from one to three members. The company said Hill has been involved in every major marketing pursuit by KPFF’s San Diego office and has participated in helping expand the San Diego office staff from 13 to 77 members.
Prior to joining KPFF, Hill worked for four years as a scientist in the biotech industry. She has a bachelor’s degree in biochemistry and cell biology from the University of California San Diego. She also has earned a Certified Professional Services Marketer professional designation from the Society of Marketing Professional Services.
Radio’s Top Holiday Songs More Than Just Mariah Carey
An estimated 450-to-500 U.S. radio stations switched music formats this past fall to all-Christmas tunes. A pandemic-weary audience, perhaps not feeling their holly-est or jolliest over higher prices for food, gas and energy, rewarded the Santa-inspired programming changes with above-average ratings bumps as big as a snowman’s belly, reported Inside Radio, an industry trade publication.
So, at the end of an extremely difficult year, what favorite melodies did radio listeners hear most often during the past couple of months?
Based on Mediabase-monitored airplay, seven songs received more than 30,000 total station spins in 2021. They included Mariah Carey’s “All I Want for Christmas Is You,” José Feliciano’s “Feliz Navidad,” Bobby Helms’ “Jingle Bell Rock” (the oldest of the seven, released in 1957), Wham!’s “Last Christmas,” Brenda Lee’s “Rockin’ Around the Christmas Tree,” Burl Ives’ “A Holly Jolly Christmas” and, yes, Andy Williams’ “It’s the Most Wonderful Time of the Year.” Also popular were Paul McCartney’s “Wonderful Christmastime” and John Lennon’s “Happy Christmas (War Is Over)” with an estimated 25,000 plays.
For stations with an adult-contemporary format, Michael Buble’s “Let It Snow” was heard more than 6,000 times. Mariah Carey’s “All I Want” was the leader among stations with a top-40 contemporary hit radio format with about 3,900 spins.
Receiving frequent plays at country radio stations was Taylor Swift’s “Last Christmas,” while Trans-Siberian Orchestra’s songs were often heard on classic rock stations.
As part of their holiday strategy, stations will blend-in promos for their regular formats in hopes of beckoning new listeners to stick around in the New Year after the ornaments and decorations have been boxed up and put back in the attic.
Rick Griffin is a San Diego-based public relations and marketing consultant. His MarketInk column appears weekly on Mondays in Times of San Diego.