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No man’s land; how Haaretz finds common ground in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict

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No man’s land; how Haaretz finds common ground in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict

According to data released on Monday, compiled by Gilad Lotan, of the Tow-Knight advisory board and chief data scientist at Betaworks, Haaretz is used as an information resource by both pro-Palestinian and pro-Israeli tweeters.

The reason is simple to Lotan; Haaretz has much broader coverage, especially when compared to other Israeli media. “While obviously they still focus on Israel, and Israeli perspectives, they do allow for critique by supporting journalists like Gideon Levy and Amira Hass, who would never be hired by any other major Israeli media outlet," he told the World Editors Forum.

Haaretz is also typically the only media outlet that highlights stories from Gaza, not only what's going on in Israel,” he said.

This was the aim of Haaretz, says Lior Kodner the Chief Digital Officer for Haaretz. "It was a tough thing to do but we think that almost every headline from Haaretz is balanced, it provides the Israeli perspective and from the other side brings the Gazan perspective, especially from the humanitarian point of view," he told the World Editors Forum.

Unfortunately for Haaretz, this nonpartisan approach to the Israel Gaza conflict has drawn the ire of many Israelis. "In Israel, we got a pretty big backlash or even criticism on this because many people said that during wartime you have to be patriotic and you have to only cover the Israeli suffering and war effort,” Kodner said. 

The paper has also lost print subscriptions, particularly from older readers, but gained thousands of digital subscribers. Particularly in the past month, floods of up to 7 million users have caused traffic jams on the website. As such, the results of the data weren’t a surprise to Haaretz, but for Kodner they offered a "kind of insurance that we were doing, from our perspective, the right thing.”

Finding the audience - for any publication – Kodner believes, is the most difficult question. “I think focusing is very, very important, so it depends on your business thinking or your journalistic goals. The first question I would ask is 'What are you trying to achieve?' I think that traffic is important, but it’s definitely not the only important element,” he said.

"For us at Haaretz, giving you the full picture is our north star. It's crucial for us - it's one of our values and I think it's one of our strengths," Kodner said.

Author

Lucy Dean

Date

2014-08-06 15:59

Author information

The World Editors Forum is the organisation within the World Association of Newspapers devoted to newspaper editors worldwide. The Editors Weblog (www.editorsweblog.org), launched in January 2004, is a WEF initiative designed to facilitate the diffusion of information relevant to newspapers and their editors.


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