Nice quiet first year, eh?
Anarchy in nation to the north, with attendant WMD fears; ongoing revolution in nation to the south; collapse of Libya; rockets fired from Gaza deep into Israel and a mini-war with Hamas; terror attacks in Bulgaria and New Delhi; insistent Olympic deafness to Israel’s Munich victims; the deaths of Amnon Lipkin-Shahak, Yitzhak Shamir and David Hartman; the visits of Madonna and the Red Hot Chili Peppers; Palestinian UN unilateralism; settlement crises; Iran’s onward nuclear march; elections here, elections there, an imminent presidential tour; superstorms, Oscar nods, the Israeli invasion of American television, and a spy suicide scandal. (Not necessarily in any order of importance.)
Through it all, since we launched The Times of Israel on February 14, 2012, I like to think we’ve maintained a semblance of competence — even when the rain seeped into our heating system, plunging us all into darkness, and we updated the site via laptops and iPhone hotspots.
I promised you, when we launched The Times of Israel 365 days ago, that we would strive to report Israel, the region and the Jewish world accurately and engagingly, to reach out to readers the world over with content free of partisan bias, to underline the interconnectedness of the Jewish world, and to enable an informed debate over the challenges and the choices that face the Jewish people and the Jewish state. I hope you feel we’ve honored that pledge thus far; we aim to stick with it.
Or rather I promised some of you, because that was Day One and very few of you had heard of us. That’s changed a lot these past 12 months. Google Analytics shows us how many people, where, are spending how long reading which articles on the site. (Don’t worry, we can’t see who you are, how old, or what you’re wearing or eating… yet.) And the wave is constantly rising. We’re the fastest-growing English-language site in the Jewish world, and we hope to keep it that way.
Nothing is static in this crazy-paced world — the news never ceases, and the tools for delivering it are being remade and refined every day. Our site is constantly evolving. We’ve expanded our editorial staff, and our business development team (advertising, social media, et al, headed by the irrepressible James Oppenheim, he of “And the boss raised up my Morty” fame).
We’ve added a daily email newsletter, which highlights the most important stories on the site once every 24 hours; we introduced live-blogging, notably during Operation Pillar of Defense in November (and that proved staggeringly popular for its ability to give you the closest sense of what was happening in Israel minute by minute); we’re about to add a “news feed” of key breaking stories from around the web; we’re working on a slew of other innovations that will come online in the next 12 months.
That’s all been possible only because The Times of Israel proved so resonant, from the get-go, with so many people. It was our bloggers — empowered by a blog platform that lets you post your own content (once we’ve determined that you’re relatively sane and given you the necessary codes) — who did so much to spread the word from day one. And it’s you, the readers, who’ve converged on The Times of Israel in ever-growing numbers, spreading not just the word from Jerusalem, but the links from Jerusalem. It’s a win-win: Compelling, fair-minded content brings interested readers, whose presence on the site yields rising advertising revenue, which means The Times of Israel can thrive while staying free of charge.
I also said a year ago that, for me, personally, The Times of Israel represents “the realization of a dream, a venture that I believe can really make a difference, and I feel immensely fortunate to have been able to bring it to launch.”
Trying to fulfill that dream, day after day, is unrelentingly arduous — to a degree that I honestly did not anticipate. We are not perfect. Boy, are we not perfect. But we are working for that impossible 100 percent. Our relentlessly dedicated staff is striving, every day, to make The Times of Israel the most reliable, fascinating, entertaining, fair-minded, informative and thought-provoking journalistic venture in its field.
Thank you for being with us during that lovely, calm Year One. Welcome to Year Two.