Forward Editor Jane Eisner spoke with FishbowlNY this week to explain why her pub decided to partner with the cultural publication Zeek and how she feels about competition from other Jewish magazines like the recently launched online magazine Tablet.
“This partnership is something that has been in the works for several months,” Eisner said. “It didn’t come in response to anything else that any other publication was doing.”
Under the terms of the agreement, the Forward will host Zeek on its site, but both publications will remain independent.
“Zeek will have a channel or microsite on our site,” Eisner explained. “They will control all of the content and keep up their relationships with all their writers. We will at times try to collaborate if we think there are things that will be interesting to our readers, but we’re going to try not to obviously overlap our content. We’re also trying to do some programming with them in New York and around the country in the fall, I hope.”
As far as Eisner is concerned, pairing with Zeek was win-win for the Forward. The paper, which focuses mostly on complex, investigative stories that affect the Jewish community, was looking to attract a younger audience and expand its reach.
“The reason that Zeek made so much sense for us is because we have been developing this idea of becoming a portal for the Jewish community,” Eisner said. “Until very recently most of the content on our site was generated by the Forward. We really want to move forward into a time when we can be partnering with like-minded enterprises, like Zeek and host their content or share content on our site as well. Readers will know they are getting quality content and we will be providing a service to the community.”
The Forward is consistently recognized as a publication of the highest quality. Just this week, the paper was honored with a record ten Simon Rockower Awards for Excellence in Jewish Journalism, also known as the “Jewish Pulitzers.” The paper won six first place prizes, including the Louis Rapoport Award for excellence in commentary, The Boris Smolar Award for excellence in comprehensive coverage or investigative reporting, the David Frank Award for excellence in personality profiles and the award for outstanding Web site.
“I still believe that content is everything,” Eisner told FBNY a day before the award ceremony. “It’s good to have good design and bells and whistles and all that — and we have certainly been recognized for our Web site design — but it can’t replace good content. Where ever readers are going to read us, whether it’s in print, online or on an iPhone or Kindle, they want that content. That’s still our main focus.”