Most readers of the daily print edition of the New York Times — or its daily online edition, too, metered paywall or not – do not know that the Times markets an exclusive 12-page English-language news supplement that is inserted once a week in 35 foreign language newspapers around the world, from Le Figaro in France to the China Daily in Beijing. Oui, oui, si.
Here in Taiwan, the Chinese-language national daily United Daily News offers readers the weekly insert every Tuesday, and most of the foreign readers use the supplement for two purposes: as an English learning tool, to brush up on their English as a second language; to see and read real news stories from New York Times by-lined reporters in a 12-page package on newsprint that resembles a real New York Times newspaper, complete with banner logo on the front page and with all news stories in the insert using the same typeface and font of the print edition of the New York Times back home.
The insert is not available online, although some stories from it do appear on the English-language website of the China Daily in Beijing, perhaps with permission, perhaps not. Emails to the China Daily office went unanswered.
American expats living overseas, like me, use the 12-page Times weekly insert, as a kind of nostalgic way of seeing the “real” New York Times once a week, even in an abbreviated form.
I buy the United Daily News every Tuesday just to get the New York Times Weekly, and “feel” the feel of the real New York Times again, a paper I grew up with in western Massachusetts and in Boston during my college years.
Here’s some background information on this little piece of international media real estate: The New York Times International Weekly is a 12 page supplement that represents the best writing, photography and graphics of The New York Times, including pages devoted to business, science, arts and international news. It offers readers a comprehensive view of the world from an American perspective. It is printed to look like the real New York Times and all the stories chosen to appear in each week’s edition are from real New York Times reporters all over the world, some overseas and some in Manhattan and California.
Every story is a genuine New York Times by-lined story, presented visually in the same typeface and font as the daily New York Times. And all photos and graphics are from the real New York Times, too. So the entire package looks and feels exactly like an abbreviated edition of the New York Times. But it’s in print only.
Newspapers in Japan also carry weekly supplements from the Washington Post and the Independent in London, as a treat for readers of the Yomiuri Shimbun or the Asahi newspaper. So the Times is not the only newspaper doing this kind of overseas “presentation” in abbreviated form, but it stands out as one of the best.
Designed to complement the daily reportage of the targeted foreign language newspaper, it is inserted as a stand-alone section within 38 newspapers in 32 countries across the U.S., Europe, Latin America and Asia, reaching more than 6 million readers each week.
The supplement uses the same format and typography as The New York Times, while providing host publications with a co-branding opportunity on the front page. And yes, the insert in Taiwan is co-branded with the New York Times with both logos appearing on the front page.
The insert appears in the following regions and newspapers of the world:
Le Figaro, France
Suddeutsche Zeitung, Germany
La Repubblica, Italy
El Pais, Spain
The Observer, England
Der Standard, Austria
Poslovni Dnevnik-Zabreg, Croatia
La Razon, Bolivia
Folha de Sao Paulo, Brazil
Journal O Povo, Brazil
La Segunda, Chile
El Espectador, Colombia
Listin Diario, Dominican Republic
Prensa Libre, Guatemala
El Norte, Mexico
El Nuevo Diario, Nicaragua
La Prensa, Panama
El Observador, Uruguay
El Diario de Yucatan, Mexico
El Diario de Yucatan, Los Cabos/Cancun, Mexico
Bon Dia, Aruba
Aruba Today, Aruba
Bahamas Tribune, The Bahamas
Asian Age, India
Asahi Shimbun, Japan
The state-run Communist Party-controlled China Daily, Communist China
Manila Bulletin, Philippines
United Daily News, Taiwan (a free and independent nation separate from communist China)
Korea Times, Los Angeles
Toronto Star, Canada
Hamilton Spectator, Canada
What’s in it for advertisers? I am not sure, since the insert I see every week in Taiwan carries no advertising. Not one display ad or classified ad here. But perhaps other editions in other nations carry ads. How does the Times make money on this insert? Perhaps each foreign paper that takes the insert pays an annual fee for the co-branding opportunity?
Perhaps the host newspapers feel that by co-branding their brand with the prestigious NYT brand, they can offer their readers a bit of extra sizzle and prestige. It’s true, The New York Times International Weekly offers an unmatched editorial environment – one of the most influential in the world– and the section attracts an affluent, educated and sophisticated audience, making the section a perfect showcase for products and services, but I have never seen an advertisement yet in any of the inserts here in Taiwan.
In each weekly edition, there are 12 to 15 real news stories culled from recent editions of the New York Times back in Manhattan, complete with bylines and Times headline style. In addition, each week there are two columns written especially for the Weekly, one titled “Lens” and another titled “Intelligence” — and both are set up like op-ed style commentary. Roger Cohen, a regular Times columnist, often writes a special column for the ”Intelligence” feature.
A friend who once worked at the Times in Manhattan tells me: “A bit of journalistic back story that most readers who are not in the news trade probably don’t know. When I worked at the Times, I always though the folks who put together the NYT Weekly had a cool job. Just cull the best and most interesting pieces from the week in a well rounded fashion.”
Another current Times staffer tells me: ”Even though I work at the Times in New York, I don’t know that much about the product so I read this article with interest. You have a nice take on it and on the globalization of English-language content.”