In 1917, five European journalists, led by a 25-year-old Viennese reporter named Jacob Landau, gathered in The Hague, Holland, to create a news service prepared to tell the Jewish story as it emerged out of the wreckage of the first World War. Known as the Jewish Telegraphic Agency, its early history would reflect the upheavals of the era, moving from Holland to London to New York along with journalists who were themselves displaced by political change and economic necessity.
Jewish newspapers published in various languages quickly understood the necessity of an agency that would provide exclusive, unvarnished reporting of Jewish communities the world over. JTA's reports from Jerusalem and European capitals would bind the Jewish world through mutual understanding, as well as disseminate news being ignored or overlooked by "mainstream" outlets. In this way, JTA became perhaps the only link between German Jewry and the outside world during the rise of Nazism, sounding an alarm that too often went unheeded.
JTA covered the Nov. 29, 1947 General Assembly of the United Nations that called for the establishment of a Jewish state – and from then on had an unbroken presence in Israel covering its wars, the ingathering of refugees, its phenomenal growth and its struggle for acceptance in the world community. In post-war Europe, JTA reported on the rebuilding of the continent, the rise of the Iron Curtain and the challenges faced by Jews who found themselves on the wrong side of the ideological battles of the day. JTA's eyewitness reporting in the Soviet Union led Kremlin officials to condemn the agency for writing "propaganda" about the empire's oppressed Jews. Among the best-known of its many correspondents over the years were Daniel Schorr, Theodore White, David Schoenbrun, Eli Abel and Meyer Levin.
As the end of the millennium approached, the Jewish story began to shift, and JTA along with it. An agency that once relied on telegraph wires and "radio-printers," and maintained a print shop for the Daily Bulletins it mailed to subscribers around the world, now entered the digital era. In addition to reaching audiences through its syndication clients, JTA established a direct line to readers through its own web site and, later, social media. In this way JTA was able to become a true 24-hour news service -- a constantly updated diary of the threats and opportunities facing Israel, the changing face of anti-Semitism in Europe and North America, and the ways Jews all over the world were navigating between unprecedented freedom and unheard-of challenges to their unity and identity.
In 2015, JTA merged with My Jewish Learning to create 70 Faces Media, a family of web sites and distribution vehicles meant to provide news, information, content and discussion on Jewish topics without political bias or denominational bent. Along with My Jewish Learning and Kveller, JTA became part of an organization generating 3.6 million page views per month,serving Jewish and Israeli syndication clients and web sites with more than 3 million monthly users.
JTA is brought to you by 70 Faces Media, whose brands include: