The Jewish Report Editorial

The politics of news

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What a fascinating time it has been in the politics of South Africa! While President Jacob Zuma dug in his heels and refused to go, ANC president Cyril Ramaphosa and the rest of the party’s leadership were running to and fro in various efforts to convince him to bow out amicably.
by PETA KROST MAUNDER | Feb 15, 2018

The more they seemed to do to make his exit dignified, the more defiant he seemed to become. And defiant stubbornness to keep his role, no matter what, has been a theme in his apparently misspent deviant presidency.

As a journalist, I am passionate about news. I have loved the different ways in which this scenario has played out on the various media platforms. Sometimes, I have had to reread a story to try to work out if it was indeed covering the same event, argument or press conference I had just read in another publication. Invariably, it was – albeit from a different perspective. 

And boy, there are many different perspectives out there. Each platform generally has its specific audience that it caters to, and each journalist comes at every story with their own historical perspective. But for the most part, each piece is written with a frank honesty, aiming to give the reader the most important information the journalist has gleaned. 

And when it came to our newspaper, we pondered how we could cover the political situation  in a way that is uniquely right for you. We couldn’t ignore it because it affects each of us, but at the same time it is being covered to death by other media. 

So, we did our best to give you something that you won’t find elsewhere. As a newspaper, that is our role: to focus the news for you and bring you stories on everything we think will be of interest and importance to you. 

We don’t select the news on whether it is right or left wing. We don’t select it on whether it is Haredi, Chabad, Modern Orthodox, Progressive or 100% secular. We don’t ignore it because it might not show someone in the best light possible or because it makes someone look amazing. 

No, we do our best to bring all the news and features we think are relevant, current, fascinating, unusual and unexpected to you. 

With this in mind, this week I had a call from someone who was very angry that we put former Israeli ambassador Alon Liel on our cover. His reasoning was that Liel had swung way too far to the left in Israeli politics to be relevant. In fact, he was said to be dangerous for us. It was far more complex than that, but for the purposes of this editorial, that is enough.

And another person picked me out for mentioning the Davis Cup protest on the cover of the newspaper, saying they felt it dampened the glory of the Israeli team’s achievement.

Here’s the thing: Everyone in this community has their own views. Their local political views may differ, as may their views on Israel. Or, some may agree on Israel, but differ when it comes to gender issues. We go back to the age-old saying of “two Jews, three opinions”, which we all know to be true. 

And we joke about being a nation of presidents because we all know how things are meant to be, but our way of doing it is never quite the same as the other presidents’. 

This is something that we both laugh about and pride ourselves on. In fact, our religion encourages debate and discussion. It is who we are. 

As your editor, I believe it is incumbent on me to give you all the different views, stories and news angles – while focusing it on our community – so you can make up your own mind. And even if you don’t necessarily agree, it will give you food for thought. 

It is this that gives any newspaper credibility. It is because of this, you know we will be fair and honest and cover what is relevant. 

Just so you know, we are human and we don’t always get it 100% right. But we do our best to give you what you want and need in terms of information. 

I guess every editor grapples with these issues. I am fortunate to have a readership that lets me know what they want and how they feel. Just so you know, I believe that to be a real privilege. Thank you! 

So, while we look forward to a new era of leadership to set the course for our future in South Africa, we at SA Jewish Report will continue to do the best we can for our wonderful, smart and oh-so-opinionated audience. 

Shabbat Shalom! 




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