In the last few days, you might have noticed two quite minor changes on The Times of Israel website. A new section – “Local” – has appeared on the navigation bar. And down the homepage, just below our Jewish Times section, there’s a new “Local” module, featuring content from the first “Times of Israel Local Partner,” New Jersey’s Jewish Standard.
These small changes on the homepage mark the start of an exciting, potentially big change for us and for you, our readers: Today we are introducing The Times of Israel Local initiative – a new initiative aimed at bringing lots more resonance to local Jewish journalism, by enabling local Jewish publishers to open websites on our platform.
Sometimes in the digital world, you can create ecosystems that simultaneously serve the needs and best interests of a whole range of different players. The Times of Israel Local does precisely that.
For readers – the most important participants in this ecosystem – it creates a better product. As of today, with this first local partnership, our readers in New Jersey will be able to get, in the same place, excellent coverage of Israel, the Middle East and the Jewish world and of Jewish issues relevant to their local community. It’s a case of the broadcast TV affiliate model meeting the newspaper local supplement model, online.
How does it work for readers? If you are coming to the main Times of Israel website from New Jersey, you will see a prominent module at the top of our homepage, and at the top of each article, that shows the main headlines from The Jewish Standard. Just click through, and you’re reading the Jewish Standard. And vice versa: Readers of the Jewish Standard can easily move from that local content to The Times of Israel’s pages.
As for our local partners, let me start by thanking the first of them. The Jewish Standard has almost a century of journalistic heritage, and today boasts a talented team led by publisher Jamie Janoff. It’s a terrific first partnership, and the team-up is already starting to prove itself. In the few days the new Jewish Standard local site has been online, it is already drawing substantial traffic and is gaining thousands of new unique users a day – a very promising start.
For other Jewish publishers, this is a unique opportunity to join forces with The Times of Israel, one of the biggest and arguably the most influential website in the Jewish world. After nearly three and a half years of continued growth, we currently average over three million unique monthly users and 20 million monthly page views; we now publish in French, Arabic and Chinese as well as English; we have 120,000 daily email subscribers and 4,500 bloggers. The Times of Israel is strong and growing fast. Now, by presenting Jewish world issues to local readers and local news to international readers, we aim to appeal to more readers, with more engaging content, on both sides of the partnership – more readers to our local partners and more readers to The Times of Israel.
Publishers joining our local initiative get a very reader-friendly digital platform, carefully tailored to their needs on the basis of a digital strategy that we’ve developed in cooperation with our partner RGB Media, the innovative Israeli firm that built and constantly upgrades our website. Like the Jewish Standard, future local partners will get access to all the tools and methodologies that have proven crucial to The Times of Israel’s quality and success: a blog platform to host the most vibrant marketplace of ideas; a daily or weekly email that gradually gathers a community of readers; Salamandra, our unique software that enables editors to shape their website and newsletters according to the content rather than forcing content into a predesigned shape; Spotlight, our state of the art advertorial platform; and much more.
In time, we also intend to utilize our local journalistic partnerships to combine forces — for The Times of Israel to work with local newsrooms on stories of global interest, to be published together. Better journalism for all of our readers.
Finally, and perhaps most importantly, our local partners will be getting visibility. It is very hard to promote small voices in the vast digital ocean. It is easier to reach the right audiences when voices combine into a powerful, harmonic chorus.
That is our joint goal: to grow together and better serve a widening community of readers. And so I encourage publishers who are interested in hearing more about joining our new platform to email us at email@example.com