Skip to comments.Our ( Israel ) Newspapers Fail Us
Posted on 09/12/2003 9:26:51 PM PDT by IsraelBeach
Our Newspapers Fail Us Editorial - Israel News Agency
There is no public relations or public affairs without a carrier. The most established carrier is called a newspaper. And in Israel the only newspapers which enjoy abundant readership and wealth are the Hebrew dailies Yediot, Maariv and Haaertz.
As for the English newspapers here in Israel one is a mere translation of the Hebrew edition and the other is fifty percent wire service copy. Yes there are some brilliant writers on these papers but their voices become deluded when you have a lack of proper leadership integrated with some totally inexperienced editorial staff serving on the front communications line as on-line Internet editors.
Here give this is a go. Call or e-mail one of the English Israeli papers and ask for the bios of those responsible for uploading what you are reading. It is a 22-year-old who lacks both journalistic enterprise and mature depth. They are the ones writing the headlines. They are the ones deciding what you read.
The senior editors who are responsible for these news Web sites are among the most professional, experienced and creative in the business but they are forced to work with almost non-existent budgets. And at least one of these English news Web sites gets no cooperation from the print team. If mistakes appear on-line, print is ready to tear these young souls apart rather than providing support and constructive criticism. When the ball drops heavily on their young toes the senior Internet editors are restricted by budget as to what they can do to improve aging hardware, software and creating healthy levels of communication between Net and print news staff.. The editors go into survival mode to keep their own jobs and the young editors are too afraid to speak out for support out of fear of becoming redundant. But do we, the public, understand where the unintentionally made, sometimes misleading high school level encrypted headline come from? No.
Is the message getting through the noise?
Let's call one paper the Tel Aviv Times. This paper is traumatized from a publisher and an editor-in-chief who are at each other throats. No I am not saying that they disagree on issues they plainly loathe one another, there is no communication and they have divided the paper into two fragmented camps.
True or not, many say that the publisher is a very difficult person to work with and that since the papers' establishment decades go, morale and resources have never been lower. As for the editor-in-chief he is young, very young. I would not mind that so much if he was an Israeli citizen. If he had served in the IDF. And if he was able to read and speak Hebrew! How can you represent Israel when you don't understand the Hebrew speaking evening news or what is being said in aisle 4 of the supermarket?
Amazing no. This is Israel. The guy writes excellent editorials, but has no sense of hard, breaking news. Now, what happens when you lack as much as he does? You become insecure. How does insecurity manifest itself you become arrogant. You literally, with pride, call yourself a "dictator" to those you work with. This man is a well-paid tourist steering Israel's right wing tabloid off the road.
The other newspaper, let's call it the Jerusalem Standard.
It's views are openly liberal in a time when Israel is literally bleeding.
The red blood on the sidewalk is still warm from a suicide terror bombing attack on a restaurant.
The vital arteries continue to hemorrhage as one in five Israelis do not have enough food to feed themselves, when 25 percent of the population is unemployed.
Yet the paper calls terrorists those who blow up buses and restaurants, "militants."
Ok, I understand the "militant" word. As a professional journalist you want, you need to be balanced you need to maintain contact with both sides of a conflict. But the other side here is calling for the total destruction of the state of Israel. They are not interested in compromise. It's not in their vocabulary. I say leave the word "militants" and the soft understandings for those who butcher our children and babies on buses and restaurants to the New York Times, Herald Tribune, AP and Reuters. Let them be neutral they don't live here! They do not call this home.
Dysfunctional. If we have a message to get out, and I say "if" from the PM's office, Foreign Ministry or the IDF spokesperson's office don't count on the English Israeli press to deliver. They do from time to time. But one cannot live, cannot survive from time to time.
Solution the Jerusalem Standard, which has excellent leadership and a highly professional and enlightened staff must turn right. The paper must use the talent it nourishes and embraces to protect the country. As a liberal paper being printed in a war zone, it only serves to demoralize. The paper has only one responsibility today - to lead.
It must. Not just through lengthy, verbose editorials, but through the very editorial content we call hard news on page one.
As for the Tel Aviv Times the staff is paralyzed. They don't for a second entertain the idea of telling the editor-in-chief that he may be wrong on this or that issue. This elitist editor-in-chief will respond: "don't second guess me." I respond that's how Israel survives, that's how we shine we second guess each other in the army and in business. This is our pursuit to collective excellence and utter survival. The staff is afraid of getting fired. For in today's market there is no market. So you say: "yes understood, I understand," as you swallow your opinion and accept mediocrity.
Solution: the staff of the Tel Aviv Times, which is an amazingly professional and talented one whose only real Achilles' heel is the daily infighting over "beats" - an issue which management does not manage, must collectively make immediate changes themselves.
They urgently need to speak with the owners of the paper with one voice and deliver a reality check for both the survival of the paper and the country for which it is printed. The owners will listen - for if they can improve the quality of the paper it can only translate into greater revenue.
Both print and Net editorial staff need professional, mature leadership, they deserve better wages they must listen to the government and assist the PM's office, the FM and the IDF to get the job done.
Will this be accomplished. No. We are all too busy counting each and every cherished shekel. Staring at each person who boards a bus or walks past the security guard lined stores as we pray that a terror bomber is not within striking distance.
So as a few of our Israel newspaper editor-in-chiefs play cerebral masturbation as they collect 40 thousand shekels a month and enjoy obscure, academic verse from those who eat breakfast at Harvard and Cambridge we suffer and await better days. Problem is, we are losing the wars the security and economic wars.
If we don't start getting our messages out effectively with the greatest potency for which we are physically, emotionally able to both the domestic, foreign public and the Islamic extremist enemy who sits on our doorstep, we will be inviting our worst nightmare to be realized since the second world war.