writers as journalists
June 12, 2009 3:55 PM   Subscribe

When authors and poets write the news "It was on an average Wednesday that a very serious Israeli newspaper conducted a very wild experiment. For one day, Haaretz (scroll down and select June 10th) editor-in-chief Dov Alfon sent most of his staff reporters home and sent 31 of Israel’s finest authors and poets to cover the day’s news. Read articles on integration at the giraffe enclosure, love in the cancer ward, mosaics in Tel Aviv, addicts at the Jerusalem rehab centre, and a visit to the grave of a holy man, among others. [via]
posted by dhruva (10 comments total) 12 users marked this as a favorite
I had to read the first sentence of the holy man article a few times. The holy man's middle name is And? Or is he talking about two holy men? David And Moshe?

These were nice, but not like reading a news story. Had to read the whole article to get to the point.
posted by Barry B. Palindromer at 4:26 PM on June 12, 2009

It's citizen journalism but written by people that journalists actually look up to.

“Thirty-one writers decided, what are the real events of the day?” he mused. “What is really important in their eyes? They wrote about it, and our priorities as journalists were suddenly shaken by this.”
posted by not_the_water at 4:32 PM on June 12, 2009

You know, these are infinitely more readable than my local major market newspaper. I'd take these any day.
posted by strixus at 4:36 PM on June 12, 2009

The holy man's middle name is And?
It's a pun: 've' in hebrew is 'and'. The guy's name is David VeMoshe
posted by dhruva at 4:37 PM on June 12, 2009 [1 favorite]

by William B. Yeats

DUBLIN - The blood-dimmed tide is loosed and everywhere the ceremony of innocence is drowned.
posted by Joe Beese at 5:29 PM on June 12, 2009 [8 favorites]

Pretty average day in Dublin then...
posted by kersplunk at 7:05 PM on June 12, 2009 [1 favorite]

Doesn't really stand up to good fiction or good nonfiction, I'm afraid. There is a reason journalistic conventions like the inverted pyramid and the anecdotal lede are so durable: they help ground the reader before he or she tunes out.

The rehab story managed to hit most of the cliches without offering any enlightenment as to what methods of treatment are being used and why and how they are supposed to work, how the "addicts" get there (these are kids-- most young drug users in trouble-- even in treatment-- aren't addicts) and what their backgrounds are.

The writing itself didn't impress me either-- but maybe this is a translation issue?
posted by Maias at 7:40 PM on June 12, 2009

all journalists are writers, not all writers are journalists?
posted by el io at 9:16 PM on June 12, 2009

Well, it was an interesting attempt, at least. I liked the concept, but the execution felt lacking. I suppose that might in part be the translation, but suspect it's mostly the non-journalistic writing style.
My professional writing is done in inverted pyramid, since the work is aimed at an audience of journalists. I had to stifle the urge to make stylistic copy edits while I was reading. :)
posted by zarq at 5:04 PM on June 13, 2009

I prefer guest editors. They had Jarvis Cocker and Zadie Smith guest edit the Today program (Radio 4) over Christmas and it gives a real sense of where they are coming from.
posted by jessicajulie at 3:46 AM on June 16, 2009

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