JTA: On Sound Financial Footing, Looking Toward the Future

by Ami Eden

Let me start by thanking Bob Goldfarb for continuing to raise important questions about the future of Jewish media – and for highlighting several new initiatives at JTA, including our weekender newsletter, Friday Five list, celebrity blog and digital archive. We will also be ramping up our political coverage as we head into the 2012 elections and continuing to launch other new products.

These initiatives – along with an increasing roster of content-sharing deals – are helping us expand our offerings to our newspaper clients and other partners.

The bottom line: Our primary goal is to create compelling content that dramatically increases JTA’s audience and the audience of other Jewish media outlets, while continuing to serve the core news needs of communities, organizations and institutions.

Of course, we also need to pay the bills. Two years ago, like many organizations, our financial situation was a bit precarious. Fortunately today we are on sound financial footing, continuing to run surpluses and growing new revenue streams. Combined income from our two largest revenue sources – newspaper fees and federation allocations – has been stable in 2010 and 2011, despite carnage in the newspaper industry generally and strained federation budgets. During this time, we have more than doubled annual revenue from advertising and general operating donations from foundations and philanthropists. We have also built a network of online/grassroots supporters that has produced thousands of donations.

In pursuit of our goals, JTA continues to collaborate with a variety of partners and is always looking for new ways to work together, including figuring out how to leverage Jewish media’s combined traffic to create a major boost in online advertising revenue. And we wish only success to any entity – old or new – that can help the Jewish media accomplish these goals.

While others may feel it best to pursue these objectives from an ideological perspective, we remain committed to the idea that JTA’s vital role is to keep Jews and Jewish communities connected and info with credible, independent and unbiased journalism. So we will push ahead with our plans for expanding audience and revamping our business model as we continue to serve as a town square, where Jews of all religious and political stripes can debate with and learn about each other.

Ami Eden is Editor in Chief of JTA.