Sunday, July 19, 2009

"The Jewish News isn’t a newspaper based on circulation"

Forging a new identity

THE doomsayers will tell you that the clock is ticking on newspapers, and that within 10 years, newspapers might be obsolete. These doomsayers tell us that we will be consuming our news on the internet and increasingly on our Blackberrys, iPhones and other cool devices. Convention now tell us that young people don’t read newspapers at all and the blogosphere is full of a story about a 15-year-old intern at Morgan Stanley’s London office, Matthew Robson, whose report on teenage media habits spelled further gloom for the newspaper industry.

It is in these challenging times that we at the AJN launch our new website. It is more visual than before, gives more prominence to our multimedia content and engages in social media, particularly Facebook and Twitter like never before. The challenge here at the AJN is how to grow our brand in the online space without compromising our 115-year history as a newspaper.

The Jewish News isn’t a newspaper based on circulation - we like to talk about readership here because we know the paper gets passed around. Three families might read one copy of the paper, particularly during Shabbat. Using that statistic, a significantly large percentage of the community read our newspaper.

So what to do? We are planning to break more news on our website and in most cases, we won’t be won’t be waiting for the print edition of the newspaper to publish our main stories. But the news component of the paper will remain strong because we know we have many elderly readers for whom newspapers remain their their first and most trusted source of news from our community and Israel.

And we’ll save some of the best features, opinion and analysis for the newspaper and then online. And the whites and blacks (simcha and death announcements) will appear first in the newspaper for the considerable future. But we’ll be working hard to engage Gen Y and Gen Z (yes, my 14-year-old daughter tells me her generation now has a label) through Twitter, Facebook and other emerging social media. Now and as always, we want you to tell us how we can make the AJN talk best to you. And send us your photos, your stories, your tweets and your updates.

The future doesn't look too promising, does it?
AJN is not based on circulation? Yeah, try and tell that to savvy advertising agencies and see how far you'll get.

Years ago, when they had more respectable readership figures, the AJN circulation was voluntarily audited by an organisation still used by other publications. These days, of course, it would quite rash to reveal how low the figures have really sunken to.

As we've mentioned previously, the cut and paste jobs from the Jerusalem Post website isn't going to encourage anyone to spend $3.50. Nor the regurgitated media releases supplied by Jewish organisations and neither the PRW, which arrives - free -in everyone's letter box weekly - together with the rest of the junkmail.

Looks like it's up to the "whites and blacks" to save the AJN.

We'll be watching with interest.

1 comment:

  1. They have a chutzpah to regularly write articles about the high price of kosher meat and other kosher food products, when they charge such an outrageous price for what is basically a 'Leader'-type freebie newspaper with a few jewish items. And as for their advertising rates, phew!!
    That really shows how a monopoly operates. The ACCC should have a look at that.

    I am frankly surprised why a publisher like Leader Newspapers hasn't considered taking them on with a free weekly in the Jewish areas.


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