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Regular readers of Jewish News may have noticed a financial theme in this space the past few weeks (“A closer look at allocations year-over-year,” Jewish News, April 22, and “Is $3.5M campaign the new normal?” Jewish News, April 29). Yet, unlike those columns classified as “need to know” because we were looking deeper at the information that makes the news what it is, this week’s column is classified as “between the lines,” which is us looking deeper at how “the sausage” of news is put together.
As we leave 2015 and prepare for 2016, we wanted to take a moment to look back at the past year to see which local stories drew the most people to our website, jewishaz.com. Here is the top 10, leading up to the most viewed story.
Jewish News will soon be introducing a “paywall” and we wanted to tell you why we’re doing it and how it will work, so let’s start with the why and move our way into the how.
“People don’t buy what you do, they buy why you do it!” The quotation comes from “Start With Why,” a book by Simon Sinek, whose 2010 TED Talk on the subject of “How great leaders inspire action” has received 18.6 million views to date.
Having once worked at a big-city newspaper, I’m still adjusting to the kinder, gentler community newspaper culture. Community newspapers, usually weeklies, send young journalists out to learn the journalistic ropes by taking pictures of cats stuck in trees or writing about how geese are fouling up a neighborhood lake. My personal favorite was a photo that ran on the front page of a community weekly in suburban New Jersey early in my career. It showed a man holding a duck and the reins of a horse and carried the headline: “Lame-duck mayor with lame duck, mare.”
The Internet has changed everything about almost every business on Earth, and it has been particularly hard on newspapers, including Jewish News. Although readership decline has been a steady trend for newspapers since World War II, the arrival of the World Wide Web just 25 years ago accelerated that readership decline to the point where today big-city newspapers are shells of their former selves. The Arizona Republic is a case in point. As one wag noted, “You’ve had napkins at Italian restaurants that are bigger than that newspaper.”
In preparation for the New Year, Jewish News is undergoing a renovation, both with our print edition and our website, jewishaz.com. Next week’s issue of Jewish News will look much different from what it has over the past several years and the website will soon also offer many new features.
This past Sunday gave Jewish News staffers and our new publisher a chance to meet with passers-by at the community Yom Ha’atzmaut festival put on at the Ina Levine Jewish Community Campus by the Israel Center (which is a project of the Jewish Community Association of Greater Phoenix and the Valley of the Sun Jewish Community Center).