September 13, 2009

How To Save Jewish Newspapers

The L.A. Jewish Journal recently ran an opinion piece called "Cooperation and Consolidation Needed on Jewish Web." The piece discussed some of the challenges faced by the media in general and Jewish media in specific.

The damn thing made my head hurt.

Why?

Because they did a very poor job of turning a report into something that is not just easy to read, but inviting and interesting to the reader.

Guys, this should have been simple.

Introduction: What is this about? American Jewish media is fighting to stay afloat for many of the same reasons as general media. Advertising revenue is needed.
Body:  Here is what the report found. Facts, figures, blah, blah support our analysis.
Conclusion: If American Jewish media is to survive here is what needs to happen facts, figures analysis, blah, blah, blah.

Instead you force fed me garbage like this:
"Beyond just unique site traffic, visitor engagement patterns (generated by Quantcast) also suggest the American Jewish news industry is too fragmented on the Internet. Not only do visitors spend significantly more time per visit when perusing the Israeli sites, but many more of those visitors are regulars (people who visit more than once per month) and addicts (people who visit more than 30 times per month). Because of this “addict” phenomenon, a quarter of the traffic to Haaretz.com and JPost.com is generated by just 2 percent of their users. In contrast, only JTA.org has any sort of measurable traffic generated by addicts — 11 percent. A better strategy for U.S. sites would involve more regular updates (not weekly or semi-regularly) and a wider and deeper offering to encourage habitual readership."
Someone dropped the ball editing this. If they had spent longer than the five minutes I just spent typing this up they could have had something far more compelling and useful. Instead it is dull, garbled and incoherent.

This is not going to get it done.

2 comments:

Soccer Dad said...

Here's the problem, too much of the Jewish American media is left wing. There's little to distinguish its content from that of major American newspapers. Read Ron Kampeas of JTA or James Besser of the NYJW then read political coverage of American politics generally or American-Israeli relations specifically and you won't see anything significantly different from what you'd read in the NYT or WaPo.

I have no idea why Lipsky (The Forward, The NY Sun) couldn't succeed. There was a need for a different orientation. But if the only thing Jewish about your reporting are the names involved, no one's going to be very interested if they can get the same product elsewhere.

Jack said...

All true. They could do far better and distinguish themselves more than they have.

I really wonder about the business and editorial sides. I suspect that they don't have as many professionals as they should.

I could be wrong, but if you are professional reporter do you want to work for a small outfit or the NYT.