In the digital age it makes sense for English-language news brands to focus on expanding their global audience: English as an international language is growing, print audiences in Europe and North American are declining, and digital technology makes is relatively cheap to publish in a foreign market (at least compared to the cost of printing costly international editions). All good reasons to try to grow your international readership.
As Nieman Lab pointed out in an article published earlier this week, The New York Times is a brand that is already “an established worldwide player.” However, the article suggests that the paper is still “trying to figure out its place in the international mediascape.” One small part of this process is the paper’s new India Ink blog.
Launched nine months ago, India Ink is a “blog-style account of Indian news — including politics, culture, sports, lifestyle, and the arts,” says Nieman. Run by reporter Heather Timmons, who is aided by four other full-time journalists from The New York Times India team, India Ink helps to improve the Times’ coverage of India, both by expanding on stories in the main paper and by pre-empting them, the article says. Nieman Lab gives the example of India Ink following up on a Times story about mango season in India with advice to the Indian community around the world about where they could buy the fruit. Nieman also offers the example of the Times’ coverage of the Agni 5 missile launch, which benefited from the fact that India Ink had already done reporting on Indian reactions to the missile test.
Despite ads for India Ink targeted specifically at readers within India, the article says that the blog has a wide readership among the global Indian diaspora, rather than just inside India itself: 50% of readers are based in the US, 40% in India, and 10% in other locations, according to Timmons’ estimates. Nevertheless, it still helps to establish the paper’s position as a global brand.
The New York Times is by no means the only English-language news brand to launch an Indian product. As previously reported, the Daily Mail launched an India sub-site earlier this year. Mail Online India blends the Daily Mail’s coverage with that of Mail Today, a Delhi-based paper that the Mail’s parent company DMGT part owns. Nieman also names the Financial Times, the BBC, and The Wall Street Journal as examples of western news organisations with a presence in India.
India is also not the only international market that The New York Times is looking to enter. The Times also launched Science Times China, a monthly Science magazine written in Chinese and sold in China, in February, representing another instance of its global expansion.