A World-wide News Service at Work
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A World-wide News Service at Work

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A thin strip of white paper sputters out of one side of a black machine that resembles a typewriter. A cable editor leans over the machine, fingering the strip.

“Is it hot?” the city editor yells across the room.

“Geneva,” the cable editor laconically responds. “Poland repudiates minorities pacts.” As the strip of paper continues its stuttering, hesitant path out of the clicking machine, the cable editor pastes it up on cablegram sheets and returns to his desk to write the story. The story goes on page one of the Jewish Daily Bulletin to be read by thousands throughout the country. The same story goes out to the big Yiddish dailies, to the Associated Press, to the New York Times, to Jewish and general newspapers throughout the world.

While the Geneva story is being written, the cable machine starts clicking again.

Vienna, this time. Schusschnig regime enacts school ghetto law. Jewish children humiliated. The Nazi “Aryan paragraph” is being applied in Austria. The Catholic Fascist government has broken its pledge to the Jews. Measures worse than Germany’s against Jews are being planned, it is feared.


The cable machine is never still. At all hours of the day and night, an endless, narrow strip of white paper spells out brief, pungent bits of current history in “cable-ese,” unintelligible to the uninitiated but quickly translated into the language of journalism for consumption of millions of Jewish and non-Jewish readers throughout the World.

London, Paris, Vienna, Jerusalem, Buenos Aires, Sydney, Vienna, Warsaw, Moscow, Prague, Danzig, Istanbul, Salonica, Berlin, Madrid, Rome—wherever events are transpiring that have some significance to world Jewry, the Jewish Telegraphic Agency will be found on the firing line.

Flames of hatred, inspired by demagogues, sweep Germany. Jews are caught up in their path.

The Jewish Telegraphic Agency is on the spot to give the world the tragic details.

Five million Germans dare to vote “nein” in Hitler’s referendum. Palestine plans a legislative council that will practically cripple hopes for a national home if carried out.

Impartially, thoroughly, speedily, the Jewish Telegraphic Agency keeps the world informed of developments of specific interest to Jews.

The Nazis meet at Nuremberg and Hitler publicly attacks the Jews. The American Olympics committee accepts Germany’s invitation to participate in the 1936 Olympics at Berlin. The Jewish Telegraphic Agency is on the spot with full reports.


What, you may be led to inquire, is the Jewish Telegraphic Agency? Why was it organized? Who is behind it? How does it function? What purpose does it serve World. Jewry? Those who do not read either the Jewish Daily Bulletin or the large Yiddish dailies or the Anglo-Jewish weeklies, but who have come across the credit line “Jewish Telegraphic Agency” or merely the letters J.T.A. after the dateline on a story in the general press may be especially curious as to the derivation and history of this organization. Here, then, are answers to those questions.

The Jewish Telegraphic Agency established its journalistic apparatus some seventeen years ago. The men behind it were convinced that the drama of the Jewish people would provide a tale of human endeavour that must be told to Jew and Gentile alike. They felt that much of the prejudice that has accumulated throughout the ages, much of the dust that has fallen upon the name of Jew, much of the malice which has grown on the fertile ground of ignorance and bigotry, would be brushed aside and disappear as the rays of light and truth turned towards them.

To prove its hypothesis, the Jewish Telegraphic Agency has had to establish a world-wide apparatus which provides news “hot off the wires”; to adopt a policy which would protect it against the charge of propaganda or the bias of its own Jewish prejudice. In going to the depths of Jewish life to gather news, the Jewish Telegraphic Agency has adhered to a line of strict impartiality, no matter where its search has led. And this quality of impartiality, though sometimes difficult of attainment in face of the innumerable, and growing conflicts between one Jewish “party” and another, was essential in the struggle to break through the indifference of a world press which had been accustomed to view “Jewish news” as different.

That the Jewish Telegraphic Agency has met with a great measure of success in this struggle, is evidenced by its penetration into the Jewish press throughout the world, in all languages in which newspapers are published, and into the non-Jewish press of America, Europe, Asia and Africa.

The process of gathering Jewish news is as intricate as the varying political, social, cultural and economic conditions of the communities in which the search is made. Seven offices of the J.T.A., situated in London, New York, Paris, Berlin, Warsaw, Prague, Jerusalem, and 153 correspondents in the smaller centers are engaged in this task.

Through its arrangements with general news agencies, notably Reuter’s in England and the Associated Press in America, the J.T.A. reaches more than 4,000 newspapers in every part of the world.

The Jewish Telegraphic Agency does not try to conduct its work on polemical or apologetic lines. It confines its activities to the recording of facts. This raises the reporting of Jewish events from propaganda or publicity to the standard of news. By stating Jewish facts objectively and with a sense of proportion, the Jewish Telegraphic Agency exercises an important influence in the fight against anti-Jewish prejudice.

It has been aptly stated that: “We Jews have no armies for our defense. We are dependent on enlightened public opinion, and the Jewish Telegraphic Agency, whose prime aim is to mould public opinion by disseminating Jewish news in the right proportion, is of invaluable aid in fighting anti-Semitic propaganda. We Jews stand now at the cross-roads of our history. The fight for the maintenance of the equality of the Jew as a citizen is in many countries assuming acute forms.

“What we must prevent is, that that part of the public which is liberal minded and intelligent should be carried into the acceptance of anti-Semitic prejudices, and without the counteracting influence of an agency which through its own offices and correspondents watches and present to the public a truthful, well-balanced and objective picture of Jewish events, Jewish conditions and Jewish life, anti-Semitic propaganda is bound to draw in ever larger circles.”


In discharging its tasks as outlined above, the Jewish Telegraphic Agency has had the moral support of the press and the outstanding leaders of the Jewish Community, and has won their appreciation. The central point of the work of the Jewish Telegraphic Agency, to report not what it believed to have happened, but what actually has happened with regard to all phases of Jewish life, in the field of cultural achievement, of literary attainment, of scientific contribution, of communal activity or political work, has evoked the commendation of all who have had an opportunity of acquainting themselves with its work. The manner of presentation, the impartiality that dictated a policy of reporting facts without fear or favor, has {SPAN}#on{/SPAN} for the Jewish Telegraphic Agency the appreciation of Jew and Gentile, Zionist and non-Zionist, Orthodox and Reform. Statesman and communal leader, Rabbi and social worker, newspaperman, editor and publisher, scholar and layman are unstinting in their praise of the record of the Jewish Telegraphic Agency.

Founding Funders

The digitization of the JTA Archive would not have been possible without the generous support of the following donors:
  • The Gottesman Fund
  • Righteous Persons Foundation
  • Charles H. Revson Foundation
  • Elisa Spungen Bildner and Robert Bildner, in honor of Norma Spungen
  • George S. Blumenthal
  • Grace and Scott Offen Charitable Fund