Journalism As Art Imitating Life

CAN WRITERS REPORT? THAT QUESTION nets a “yes” according to Daniel Elstrin in the June 19 Forward, reporting on the day Haaretz (think Israeli NYT) swapped its staff for 31 leading authors and poets:

“Among those articles were gems like the stock market summary, by author Avri Herling. It went like this: ‘Everything’s okay. Everything’s like usual. Yesterday trading ended. Everything’s okay. The economists went to their homes, the laundry is drying on the lines, dinners are waiting in place… Dow Jones traded steadily and closed with 8,761 points, Nasdaq added 0.9% to a level of 1,860 points…. The guy from the shakshuka [an Israeli egg-and-tomato dish] shop raised his prices again….’ […]

“News junkies might call this a postmodern farce, but considering that the stock market won’t be soaring anytime soon, and that ‘hot’ is really the only weather forecast there is during Israeli summers, who’s to say these articles aren’t factual?”

This is also the sort of newspaper dreamed of by most, if not all, of my reporterly colleagues, at least at some time or other (usually on deadline day of a slow week). But that’s true in another, non-ironic way: Elstrin also cites a couple of features whose subtle depth make a nice model for would-be human chroniclers.

Daniel Elstrin’s article
Ha’aretz Archives; select “10 jun” from the “Previous Edition” menu at lower left.

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