Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Serious Journalists, and Hacks

The international media has united in a chorus to kvetch that the IDF isn't letting them into Gaza, so they can't do their job.

The Israeli journalists aren't being let in either, by the way.

And yet, and yet. I recommend that you go visit the website of Haaretz, and read whatever you find there under the byline of Avi Yissacharoff. These days he's writing at least two articles a day, and they're all informative and interesting, as always with him. They're good, however, not only because he's a talented professional, but mostly because he has excellent sources, and also he understands what they tell him, both because his Arabic is perfect and because he's been around for a while and can pick up subtleties and innuendo.

It turns out that if you're a top-notch reporter, and you do your homework steadily over many years, you can keep on doing your job even under unfortunate circumstances such as not being allowed into a war zone. You can use the telephone, for example, and talk to all sorts of people, because you know them and they know you; you can cross reference their stories with those of other people whose phone numbers you also know.

If, on the other hand, you're an internationally recognized reporter for a brand-name media outlet and you've just flown in this week, you're staying at the American Colony hotel in Jerusalem, you don't know the languages and certainly know no regular people who could answer your phone calls, and you're mighty exasperated at the unhelpfulness of the Israeli authorities - well, I'd say you only have yourself to blame. But that wouldn't be correct. Parts of the blame should go to your editors, and even more of it should go to the public which is willing to go along with your charade.

Postscript: Amira Hass, also at Haaretz, is doing the same as Yissacharoff and for the same reasons. Now I'm not recommending you get too carried away by the content of what she writes, mind you, but I recognize a professional when I see one. And when I don't, of course.

1 comment:

explummer said...

I think the easiest way to find his articles is to go to Google News and search for Issacharoff (no Y at the beginning). Then click "Sort by Date". Here's a link that does it all for you, I hope.

Thank you for blogging.