Wednesday, November 08, 2006

Fascinating World of Journalism

Which is more important: The Gay Parade in Jerusalem or IDF incursions into Gaza? It depends who you ask. In discussions with people on the street, the parade is on eveybody's lips. The controversy surrounding the event has become an actual part of residents' lives as traffic is stopped, garbage burned, and marketplaces or the city square become the site of clashes between protestors and police. Jerusalem reeks of melted plastic and manure from police horses. Haredi leaders suggest impending perils if the parade takes place. Homosexuality is on the daily agenda of people who normally wouldn't dream of discussing sex over a family dinner. Clearly, this is an issue that concerns the public in a real way. Does that make it newsworthy? What should be "in the news"?

Today, leading Israeli newsmedia faced sticky issues. The Jerusalem Post and Haaretz led off with the Gaza story, the latest round of contention in the 14 month struggle toward a terrorism-free Gaza following Israel's unilateral pullout in 2005. Meanwhile, Haaretz, Maariv and chose to give the parade more attention. Even this breakdown doesn't tell the whole story, however. Some outlets covered police response, others discussed potential routes, while receiving slightly less attention were the riots that made me hold my nose and fear police brutality as I peacefully returned from home from classes.

Some analysts will interpret the differences as reflecting political agendas. Maybe they do. Maybe they reflect an attempt to cater to different populations or different geographic locations. Perhaps some are more local-focused, while others seek national or international relevance. These are concepts that must be dealt with daily by editors under the pressure of deadlines, but are rarely contemplated by media consumers.

News media comprises a fascinating new world that is very much a part of our lives, yet its intricacies casually elude our awareness. Reading list: It Ain't Necessarily So, Freakonomics, anything by Chomsky (just disregard what he spews concerning Israel). Much more, check back here for the updated list.

Open any newspaper or magazine and a critical reading will leave you disgusted by the near-lies and misinformation you find inside (and don't get me started with TV). Google takes an intriguingly novel direction at GoogleNews, but their achievemnent is half their downfall. Think about it. You just can't know. If you know a way to k-n-o-w, please let me know.

Special Report. We interrupt this boring blog to report on what in a preliminary reading appears to be an exciting development: City Journal, insightful (inciteful?) essays on contemporary issues. Also, check out Spectrum and Seed (just google 'em; they are both the top links. These have not yet been subjected to our thorough review process.)

Another interesting development: A parody-parade is planned for tomorrow; following the proposed parade route, farm animals will march with the theme "We Are Proud Animals" in a jibe at the concept of gay pride.

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