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June 11, 2009

When Arts Writing Becomes The News - Now That's What I'm Talkin' About...

For a day, Israel's Ha'aretz newspaper brought in some replacement journalists to write the news. Some replacement arts journalists:

haaretz.jpg

The idea behind the paper's June 10 special edition was to honor Israel's annual Hebrew Book Week, which opened the same day, by inviting Israeli authors to get away from their forthcoming novels and letting them bear witness to the events of the day.

This wasn't a Sabbath supplement, a chance to balance the news with extra color. This was a near complete replacement of the newspaper itself. Save for the sports section and a few other articles, all the reporters' notebooks were handed over to poets and novelists, both bestselling and up-and-coming. Their articles filled the pages, from the leading headline to the weather report.

And how did it go?

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...." The TV review by Eshkol Nevo opened with these words: "I didn't watch TV yesterday." And the weather report was a poem by Roni Somek, titled "Summer Sonnet." ("Summer is the pencil/that is least sharp/in the seasons' pencil case.") 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?

Alongside these cute reports were gripping journalistic accounts.
June 11, 2009 2:51 PM | | Comments (0)

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