Haaretz Publisher Amos Schocken Holds Q&A Session With Haaretz Readers

Schocken answers questions concerning the new design, layout, and subscription services available at Haaretz.com.

Haaretz publisher Amos Schoken held a live Q&A session with readers to discuss the new design, layout, and subscription service available at Haaretz.com.

Haaretz launched its new website on Sunday amid celebrations here in Tel Aviv.

This is the start of an exciting new era for Haaretz and we invite you to take part in the changes.

Below is a transcript of questions and answers from Haaretz readers and publisher Amos Schoken.

If you have any other questions regarding the new design, layout, or subscription services, or general feedback, contact us via http://www.haaretz.com/contact-us.

Customer service inquiries can be sent to digital-support@haaretz.co.il.

Q: What are Haaretz digital editions, and why should I pay? (Ron, Michigan)

A: We are in the process of enhancing our online content, especially in English, with an array of digital platforms. These include mobile apps (the iPhone, Android and Blackberry apps are already available) and editions for various tablets and Kindle, which will be released soon.

Haaretz provides high-quality coverage of Israel, the Middle East and the Jewish world. It takes many journalists to achieve the standards we set for ourselves, and we are constantly striving to be better. This costs a lot of money, and in the final analysis, it has to be financed by our readers and advertisers.

In order to improve and to continue bringing you our award-winning journalism on all major platforms, and to keep up with the amazing changes in the digital world, we are starting to charge users who use our services extensively. Users who seek fewer services from us can continue browsing for free.

Digital payment will enable us to continue to provide you with high-quality content, while expanding to deliver a product that is innovative and fresh, and available anywhere, anytime, in whichever format suits you best.

Q: Why was the website free until now? (Alison, Manchester, U.K.; Shadi via talkback)

A: Newspapers around the world have been offering free websites for several years now, but the press is undergoing a big change. Print is losing ground, revenues that supported the press for many years (like classified advertising) are evaporating and the press must shift its sources of revenues to its users in the new digital platforms.

Many major newspapers around the world have adapted to the digital revolution by recognizing the necessity of charging users in order to maintain the excellent journalistic standards by which they stand. Haaretz has to follow the same route, and we also hope to extend and deepen our services to our readers.

Q: What exactly will I be paying for and what are the prices? (Tom)

A: As a subscriber, you will have unlimited access to all the English-language content and digital applications that Haaretz has to offer. This means you can browse our homepage and every article published on Haaretz.com, as well as interactive multimedia and video. You will also receive a subscription to Haaretzs mobile applications for smartphones and tablets (coming soon).

Additionally, you will have access to Haaretz's digital news archives and enjoy seamless integration with social networks and other exclusive features, including blogs written by prominent journalists and editors, daily and weekly newsletters from our editors and all exclusive updates and offers from Haaretz.

The cost of the digital subscription varies according to your preference: Annual subscribers will be asked to pay just $1 for the first month, and save 30% by paying $7.36/month after that (through a one-time payment of $80.98 for full access the rest of the year). Monthly subscriptions will cost $8.49/month (or $2.02/week).

Please check our current special offers at http://www.haaretz.com/promotions

Q: Won't this affect Haaretz's role and responsibility in Israeli society? (Gideon, Westchester, New York)

A: I hope it will, in a very positive way. The more subscribers to our digital platforms we have, the stronger economically we are, the more secure will be our ability to fulfill our role in Israeli society. A free and independent press must be able to support itself economically.

Q: What kind of access will I have if I don't pay? (Mark, Be'er Sheva, Israel)

A: There are two kinds of unpaid registration. Non-registered users will have access to the homepage and to certain material on the website, while registered users will have access to these basic amenities, as well as to 10 "locked" articles a month. Not all material will be exclusively available to subscribers, but we will reserve our best content for those who choose the digital payment option.

Q: When is the iPad edition going to be ready? What will it include? (James, Victoria, Australia)

A: The iPad edition is set to be released within the next month. It will be a curated edition that includes breaking news stories from the website, along with exclusive features unavailable on any of the other platforms. It will be published every day, 6 days a week at 7:00 a.m. EST, and will include 24/7 live updates as well as up to 40-60 premium items.

Haaretz has invested time and money to provide you with a superb iPad experience. You can see a screen shot from the App on the right column of this page. Please do register now and we will send you a link to download the application – if you subscribe now through Haaretz you will receive free iPad access when available.

Q: Will I have to pay for links to Haaretz articles that I see on Facebook? (Shira, Montreal)

A: No. There will be no charge for those who arrive to our page via links from Facebook, Twitter, search engines, blogs and social media. Social media is a wonderful engine for sharing information, and it is important for us to remain a part of that world as much as possible.

Q: How much content is going to be closed? (Rachel, Ireland)

A: This will change depending on the content. Certain items will continue to be open to all readers, whether registered or not, while our premium content will be reserved for subscribed users only. The homepage will always be available to readers, regardless of subscription level, and much of our breaking news content will be as well.

Q: I live in Israel and have a daily subscription to the Haaretz English-language print edition that comes with the International Herald Tribune. Do I still have to pay for a subscription to the website? (Barbara, Netanya, Israel)

A: If you live in Israel and already have a subscription to the daily English-language edition of Haaretz, all you have to do is link your home subscription and digital account for free, unlimited access to all of Haaretzs English digital content. With this subscription, you will also continue to receive free access to NYTimes.com. Just go to www.haaretz.com/misc/printsub to connect your print and digital accounts.

If your home delivery subscription is just for the weekend edition, however, you will still need to purchase a digital subscription separately. Likewise, if you buy single copies of the newspaper at a newsstand, you will need to purchase a digital subscription to enjoy Haaretz's exclusive content.

Q: What are the details of the digital subscription model? When will it start? (Chaimy)

A: The digital subscription has already kicked off! Early subscribers should take advantage of our special one-time discount of up to 35% off the regular price. Annual subscribers will be asked to pay $1 for the first month, and then a total onetime payment of $80.98 ($7.36/month). Monthly access subscription will cost $8.49/month (or $2.02/week). You can check out our special promotions at http://www.haaretz.com/promotions.

Q: Why do I have to provide an e-mail address to subscribe? What does it mean in terms of additional spam in my Inbox? Can I be a paying subscriber without providing an e-mail address? (Daniel)

A: Your email is the vehicle with which you can connect to our digital platforms – look at it as an ID card or key of sorts. We promise not to send spam to users, just important news and updates from our editors.

Q: We have a print subscription (which we have had for 25 years) in Hebrew, however, we like to read Haaretz in English on the computer. Will it be possible to do this on the basis of our print subscription? Will all members of our household be able to view it on their different computers? (Rosemary)

A: It is not possible to link your Hebrew print edition subscription with the digital subscription. Only home delivery customers of Haaretz's daily English-language print edition, who live in Israel, can do so. We may consider in the future a reduced rate for Hebrew subscribers interested in our English offering. As for access for all members of your household, we offer a personal access which will be available on your computer, smartphone and tablet – using the same e-mail address and password. 

Q: Hi, Could you please advise me when Haaretz (in English) will be available as a Kindle subscription? (D Engel)

 A: Our Kindle edition is ready to go live and has already been sent to Amazon. Unfortunately, at this point, Amazon wont add new publishers to the daily subscription option. We are discussing the issue with them, and hope to resolve it soon.

Q: I dont like the new design. What was wrong with the old one? (Sharon, Israel)

A: The new site was carefully designed by a broad team that contemplated editorial considerations, user experience, aesthetic appearance, as well as the most effective ways to bring our readers the best content that we have to offer. Our site has been upgraded to include these considerations, and while it may take some time to get used to, we are quite confident that we have chosen a good design for the exciting changes that lay ahead.

Q: I have a subscription to the weekly edition which is sent to Europe. Does that result in a discount on the digital edition? (Martin) 

A: There are no discounts for subscribers of the weekend print edition, neither in Israel or abroad. Only home delivery customers of Haaretz's daily English-language print edition who live in Israel will be able to link their subscriptions for free.

Q: You make your money from advertisers, not readers, so why ask for digital payment? (Arnold, Canada)

A: Advertisements alone are not enough to sustain the costs required for the standards that we seek, both of high-level journalism and the increasing demands of being a player in the modern digital world of media. As the world of print journalism declines, we must shift weight to digital subscriptions as well.

Q: It would be beneficial if the newspaper really was interactive and published within the shortest possible time readers comments! (Harvey) 

A: We receive hundreds of comments from readers every day, and do our best to publish as many as we can – provided that they are in accordance with our guidelines, of course. Many of the comments that we receive as talkbacks are offensive and inappropriate, and our policy is not to publish remarks of that kind.

That said, we are aware that many perfectly appropriate talkbacks are published with great delay. It is unfortunately impossible to filter through so many comments and publish them in a timely fashion, but our dedicated staff ploughs away as best it can.

If you feel your talkbacks are appropriate but are not being published quickly enough, feel free to leave a comment on our Facebook page. Comments there are posted automatically, and those we deem inappropriate are then deleted at our discretion. 

Q: Is the online site written in php? What are you using to scale it for higher traffic? (Howard Clayman via Facebook) 

A: The site is written in Java. Our main traffic sources are loyal Haaretz readers who go directly to our site, as well as through Google searches, links through main news publications and through social networks such as Facebook and Twitter

Q: Will there be a Kindle or Nook edition of #htzNew? How about for Symbian phones (Eyal Allweil viaTwitter(

A: We are currently on active on iphone, android and blackberry, with our iPad app to be released soon. We will consider developing an app for Nook, Symbian or any other platform when it becomes largely used within our use base.

Q: Commentators are one of Haaretz's big selling points. Will you be locking them behind a paywall that will prevent linking to them and therefore reduce their exposure online via blogs and other sites? If so, won't you and they lose influence? (Alan Abbey via talkback)

A: Most of our opinion pieces will indeed be behind the paywall, as we believe that it is an inherent part of our product. However, when shared on social networks, locked articles will be available for anonymous users.

Haaretz Select Digital Editions
Roni Arie