Covering Israel's historic protests. Global Journalism Seminar with Noa Landau, deputy editor, Haaretz
11:30AM Jun 7, 2023
Hey everyone and welcome to the global journalism seminars. We would usually be playing your video right now but we're having some technical difficulties. So I'm very happy to welcome metalli and Noah, take it away.
Thank you for that Caitlin and for the heads up as well or our audience would be looking at no and eyes looking at each other quite blankly for the next few minutes. Welcome Mila, and welcome to audiences well as Kaitlan pointed out, usually there's a little bit of context, but let's dive straight into it with an explanation from me and of course, far more detail from NOAA. This time in our global journalism seminar series, were shining a light on what I think was perhaps the most evocative visually protests that we've seen in many, many years come out from Israel. It was a moment where many journalists from other parts of the world were looking on almost in shock and awe at what was transpiring across the streets of Israel. I will give you a very brief snapshot of what happened and no, of course will add much more detail to that. Earlier this year. Israelis in many 1000s actually joined protests across the country against Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and his plans to tighten controls on the Supreme Court. The criticism as it was placed was that this plant overhaul would put completely unnecessary and unwarranted government control over the Supreme Court. It would remove many vital checks that were in place against the political side of governance. And of course, that this could give unchecked power really to the government. The protests grew from something that looked small scale to really massive, massive demonstrations across the country. And what was most interesting was the fact that several other pockets including the technology, universe, have many entrepreneurs and different parts of the military participated in that protest. Joining me today is no Orlando. She is a face that I don't think needs introduction across the Israeli space. Of course, she is part of Haaretz, a newspaper that has been quite outspoken in its criticism and its coverage of that protest. I must underline and say this conversation is not an attempt to simplify an extremely complex geography. Neither it is to weigh the pros and cons of the protest. It is to understand from a journalist perspective what it's like to cover a public protest of that scale. And what it's like to do that when it is almost a state versus people situation. So Noah, thank you very, very much for joining in today. I follow all your tweets and I quickly press translate because you you write so richly that I want to know what is written but I can't read the language unfortunately, I want to start with a very basic why question. There's been quite a bit of drama politically in Israel since 2019. Or perhaps even further back now. What was the Why was this such a catalytic moment in public consciousness? You think?
Thank you so much, metalli for inviting me. I'll be sure to tweet more in English for you. So yeah, just a quick background, maybe first. So in December, Israel's 37 government was established, led by Benjamin Netanyahu came back for his sixth term as a prime minister. And this government is by far the most far right and the most religious government in the country's history. This is not just my opinion. The Israeli right wing actually calls it the first full right wing government that they ever had. And one of the first declarations they made, led by the new justice minister, was that they intend to so called reformed the judicial system. So technically what they want is to change the balance between the three branches of government in a way that gives the executive branch meaning the government, themselves more control over the judiciary. So for example, by allowing the government representatives to choose the judges and the parliaments to override Supreme Court rulings. So to understand what this means, basically for our system today the courts and especially the Supreme Court is basically the only mechanism we have in Israel to protect human and civil rights against majority rule, meaning the government and parliament but beyond these technicalities, would they want us to see a more government friendly court or more conservative court less liberal, so that some more nationalistic values triumph democratic ones, for example, prefer the needs of Jewish majority over the rights of non Jews such as Palestinian minorities, or asylum seekers? So I'm sure this is quite familiar for many of you from other countries like maybe Hungary, Poland, Turkey, India, maybe countries where conservative leaders are challenging liberal democratic values. But in Israel, we have to remember that this of course, also sits on a very explosive barrel is it is of an ethnic and religious conflict. But what was quite surprising and also optimistic Italia is that Israel's liberal camp really stood up to these plans in a much faster, wider and stronger voice than we thought originally covering these events. We were surprised hundreds of 1000s of Israelis have been taking the streets nonstop for 22 weeks now in a row. This protest movement is definitely the largest we saw in the country's history. I have to say it's not the progressive camp. It's more of a centrally leaning liberal democratic camp. But it is braver and louder than ever before. And for now, although I'm saying this quite cautiously. The government is pretty stuck. The domestic and international pressures that you mentioned as well, are so massive that they decided to launch negotiations with the opposition's for now. Many in the protest movement feel like this could just be maybe a political stunt. But for now, these negotiations are still taking place, as well as the demonstrations
I suppose the next question from the why Noah would be the water in the how, you know, explain to audiences what was at stake for the Israeli population that was watching these purported changes coming into place because this was part of the the the agenda as well that the the right wing administration placed before they were coming into power, was it not a rollback perhaps of pro LGBTQ legislation, women's rights, minority rights, loosening the rules of engagement for Israeli police and soldiers? What was at stake? In public consciousness when this was being discussed?
Yeah, so basically, you know, these kinds of, because as I said, Israel is not is not the only country going through not the same processes, of course, but similar trends. Of course, they always aim first. At three major institutions, which is the judiciary, as we said, academia and of course journalism. So anything considered basically a part of a liberal democratic worldview is basically now under attack.
There's also a how to ignore you know, having watched these public protests in in a country like India, for example. It's almost a curve that you can see slowly building as a journalist, what is it that you saw take place? Did it start off as small scale conversations online? Or was it in person that people started chatting about this thing? This is not making us comfortable?
So I think what was quite surprising is that it was just this practice movement just exploded at once. It wasn't a slow process at all people understood the danger right away, I think, right when even before the government was established, when we saw the election results, we knew what it means. And I think most of the protesters, they just immediately understood the danger. But the interesting thing is that they also immediately took the streets. It wasn't something that was you know, building up gradually online or something of that sort. It was just people just went out to the streets just like spontaneously is a first reaction to the kind of government they saw.
What was your reaction as someone sitting in the newsroom? Leading your journalists when you saw this happen?
So you know, I think one of the most interesting effects on journalism is that in time like these, that are seen as so pivotal, journalists as individuals, but also media outlets as organizations we see that you know, you're taking a side, not everyone, but many, many and for us, Adalat, which is in any case, Israel's only liberal leaning national media. It was very clear from the first moment that we actually have a very clear position against this judicial overhaul. And we felt that you know, this is a battle on the very essence of our most basic values, and you know, the values that also include journalism, the free press, freedom of expression, etc. So we definitely voice our opinion in editorials and op eds. But also our news coverage also gives a lot of emphasis to this issue. And we even launched a campaign to support the protests, which as basically says in Hebrew, loose translation democracy doesn't end with elections. And we had a similar campaign in English, which which said, democracy can die in daylight, you two, which is a spin off on the Washington Post, Oregon, of course. So I think that in general, we just it's one of these moments when journalists and journalism really can't stand and claiming to be objective.
How do you ring fence yourself as an organization and for your journalists in moments like these newer because that's the thing, especially for local news outfits when they're covering something that is seen as a state versus people. The first thing that you say is to clamp down on journalists, cut off access to the internet, cut off access to video streaming. It's far easier sometimes at an international organization to be looking into something that's happening locally, where they sort of steps that you took in place to safeguard the institution to safeguard the journalists who are covering these protests.
So we see the national journalists union is taking also a much more brave or you know, clear stand in front of some some of the issues. This government basically like other governments is seeking control over you know, what they think is the so called leftist media. It's one of their main goals and it threatened for example, to shut down the public broadcaster to withdraw government advertising budgets for media outlets, and we saw the National Union was quite effective in organizing journalists protests, and trying to somehow also prevent these measures from happening, which for now is successful.
It's also in correct me if I'm wrong, similar to the farmer protests that took place in India leaderless in a sense, there's no one person position party that is really led this, as you said, it's quite organic and happened and came off to people. Is that a more tricky terrain to navigate where you're not really speaking to one particular party or you don't have once one space or spot where you can keep checking and verifying?
So you're right modalidad this is quite people. Lead. And we the opposition parties in the parliament that are representing the protest movement, but they themselves are led by what's happening on the ground and not the opposite. So for example, when they went into negotiations with the coalition it was, you know, the process itself, people on the ground, the spirit on the ground that kind of lead their position on some of the issues more than they were leading the movement. We definitely see that but I think it's also interesting that this is not the protest movement is of course, it's not one organization led by one person. There isn't even I mean, usually in these things there are several figures will become like the symbol. There's maybe one or two that are you know, perceived as leading figures, but there is no like several people who who are now who became the symbol of this wider protest. It's a lot of different though groups, local groups. It could be even you know, they have names like grandmothers for them accuracy, or all sorts of different, you know, small groups that are just you know, following the same general message.
I love that I'm all for grandmother's for democracy. I'm all for grandmothers at any point in time. You know, there's another very clear nuance to this Noa, which is that as report suggests, the changes were not actually spearheaded by the Prime Minister, but by people who were representing some powerful religious groups. How does a journalist and a news organization navigate something that is not just a big issue but also has a lot of religious overtones to it and can be quite harmful and dangerous for one community or it could be dangerous for the journalist in question if they're from another community.
It's a great question. So first of all, regarding you know, the Prime Minister versus other parties, it's a it's a question. I'm sure. In other countries, journalists face the same issue when they're trying to do political analysis. Whether you know, the Prime Minister is an active actor because he actually chose this government, you know, how much responsibility should they hear what you know, is coalition members are doing in demanding over, you know, portraying this as some kind of pressure of extremist within the government and not putting all the responsibility on him? It's a question. I think regarding these religious communities. The protest movement right now is definitely more of a secular one. It is a secular in generally speaking, because you do see liberal religious communities taking also a part in the protest for sure. But the emphasis is that they're more liberal religious. And in the end, this is also this is also a protest regarding the separation of religion and state so of course it has that that kind of angle to it. But also, you see that many of the journalists will emphasize over and over, that this is not about the religious citizens that they're leaders so when we see, for example, that there was a lot of discussion around the budget that this government just approved. There was a lot of money that went to religious communities over other communities. And journalists did try to emphasize that this is not criticism against citizens themselves, who of course, have needs that need to be met, but the leaders that do not take other considerations also.
This is always an unfair question to ask someone as we were discussing before we started it's always a mad and intensity in the newsroom but with their stories, or moments that really stood out when you were covering this protest, because you know, there were some days where the images that came out from Israel, honestly made journalists in other parts of the world gasp at the size and enormity of what was unfolding on the streets.
Yeah, so of course there are many, many stories that I think are important, you know, that we published in the past month, but I'm going to paste here in the chat, and maybe someone can put it somewhere else. One story that I think is very relevant to journalists or those who are interested in media. And this is an investigation by our leading investigative reporter he divides and he just exposed this week how the new army Radiohead was appointed with the help of one of Netanyahu, his main supporters, so now he wants to give that supporter who lobbied for him a broadcast slot. This is really important, you know, because it shows once again, how they try to control also the media and for those who don't know one of the corruption charges against Netanyahu was three indictments against him does involve trying to seek control of one of Israel's main use websites. So you see that this is a theme that is quite, quite important. And this story, I think, shows it and it's fresh from this week.
I was going to ask this question later, but I think it ties in well with the story that you just shared Noah you know, as you as you pointed out earlier, your newspaper has a particular perception in public consciousness. Sometimes it faces a lot of heat because of that. Do you think the events of the last few months have changed public perception or seen strength and trust and confidence grow for your organization because of how fearless your reputation has been because of how much of a light you've shown on this particular issue.
Interesting, though, I think that because this is a wider liberal struggle, not necessarily progressive or leftist, that many of the people who support this protest movement are relying on harlots, for news and information and opinions and analysis regarding the protest. So I think you might be right. But still, we we still insist on reporting on some of the issues that still upset some of these people. So you know how it is. One of the things we're very proud of, but make it very, you know, it's quite difficult for us is that we really want to put the mirror in front of our readers in many cases and reporting, for example, the occupation, it's something then not all the people that are part of this wider protest movement. Identify with Yeah,
and again, this is what reports seem to indicate no, which is that the Palestinian citizens of Israel didn't really participate in this particular protest. Perhaps even a perception of you know, is this is this protest for all people or people from one side of the river versus the other? Did you experience that and how did you how did you deal with a topic like that as a journalist
so that's also a great question and also very advanced, because it's such a internal discussion within Israelis and Palestinians, but very important point. I think that again, because this is not a progressive protest, but it's a wider camp. It means that it's often criticized, and I'm one of those people who criticize it for caring more about what we call democracy for Jews than democracy for Palestinians. So for many within Israel's Palestinian population, which is 20% and also Jews who support them. It's hard to join a movement that claims to fight for democracy, but isn't really fighting against the occupation. There is a group who joins the demonstrations under the slogan The anti occupation block, they are smaller for sure, and not always welcomed by the larger group, mainly because they carry Palestinian flags while the main movement took the Israeli flag as its symbol because it is also afraid to be denounced as unpatriotic by the coalition or some would say differently, you know that they want to portray, they want to reclaim patriotism, by holding the Israeli flag. But generally speaking, it's it's the dilemma, which we address quite a lot in the paper, especially our Palestinian writers do and I personally think that we unfortunately reached a point which, in which both fights are important, even if it's hard to argue that Israel is actually a functioning liberal democracy. When occupying millions and it is hard. We still need to maintain whatever is left of the liberal institutions that we do have, because without them, it would just I think it would be much harder to fight the occupation as well. So people on the ground will just suffer more. And at the same time, it's also important to remind that larger movement that it cannot focus only on their own threatened privileges and ignore others.
What did you find were the most, the most powerful platforms and mediums that people were sort of accessing news and, more importantly, engaging with the news and commenting when this protest was in its, you know, full fall? No, because it obviously looked like a much younger generation was out there. Was it social media? I'm assuming it's not Twitter, because that's only us journalists that obsess about it. What was it that you know, that was really pulling out engagement?
You know, Italia just remember that when I was a fellow at the Institute A while ago, we had a great seminar with a Turkish journalist on how social media affected the protests there. And here we are in 2023, and it's still a major question. Yeah. And, you know, like everything else with social media, of course, did both, you know, good and harm, you know, the protest organizers, of course, through groups like WhatsApp. But on the other hand, you know, there's a lot of fake news and misinformation. You know, spread by other by other groups. So basically, you'll see in Israel, almost every kind of media that exists you know, if it's WhatsApp and telegram or signal even and all those messaging apps have been very, very, I think, important in the organization of the demonstration. As I mentioned before, you know, we have all these local groups like grandmothers for democracy, and they will all organize on WhatsApp. There's also now WhatsApp communities, which is quite interesting. We're trying to figure out as a news organization, how we can use it when and I'm not sure what the answer is. But we do see that for the protest movement. It's very effective because you can kind of like take all these smaller groups and build them into one larger community regarding Twitter, although it's not at its best now. I do think that Israelis are quite quite engaged on Twitter more than I think, in other places. I mean, other places might be where journalists are but I think in Israel, people understood that this is also where people who want to influence the journalists are. So you see quite a lot of action there. And of course, for younger people, you know, it's Tiktok and Instagram, mostly.
I'm intrigued by how how Haaretz uses social media and I think you have quite a bit of fun with it is quite tongue in cheek you know, I saw a tweet where someone basically likened newspaper to garbage and then you had a lot of fun with that and then actually took it forward saying, you know, garbage doesn't light itself so we're looking to hire Would anyone like to apply? Is has that been? A conscious choice where you've said, you know, bring on the hate. We're happy to deal with it, or was it something that sort of grew over time saying, Hey, we can either choose to have fun with this and have a laugh at it, or we can choose to do something else?
I think both but we do really enjoy to experiment, every kind of new platform that you know, there is out there. We're very experimental in what we do. And I guess there's some organization I think, you know, they need to have a very structured plan. before they launch, you know, an account of something. We like to be more experimental and just, you know, just dive right in and try things and see what works and what doesn't. We're usually you know, to the first to jump in, you know, anything that basically is new and happening you know, some of the things we'll do you know, if something doesn't work, I don't know what I'm thinking about clubhouse, for example, or these things will always try and then you know, if it's not, if it's not really working, then we'll we'll just give it up. But it's something that we just tried to experiment with it. So that includes also our, our tone and our voice on these platforms. We we try and see you know what works
as a local journalist, Noah and it's a very broad based question. Because there so many entities that go into it, but what did you feel about the way the protests and developments were being covered by international media? I think
we saw quite an interest at the beginning and you know, it's a it's almost a cliche, it is a cliche to say, you know, that when something is international news for others, you know, there's an interest when it starts and then you know, they just, it's left behind, you know, much more important examples or Syria or they don't or Ukraine. These were both, you know, stories that were covered so heavily by by the media worldwide, and then, you know, was a bit forgotten. So I guess we saw that also but I do see that the there's a there's an interest still, when important you know things happen, not you know, all the nuance and all the domestic issues, but there's still quite an interest.
I'm going to pause with my questions because I can see them building across all our platforms. But as is a forum I will open the house first to our own journalist fellows. Let me go back into the room and perhaps the first question could come from Natalia who is a journalist who belongs to Russia and has been reporting quite critically on developments there Natalia Thank you.
Thank you know for this explanation and the opportunity to see your perspective as well in an Israel I'm here for research about the role of Russian Orthodox Church in pro war propaganda campaign. And I found that the church played a significant role not only in this particular situation, but in general, it is shaping Can you Russian ideology, full of isolation, conservative nationalism, and my question is about religious institutions in in Israel, what do you think? To what extent the religious institutions in Israel provoked this situation and what what was the role of a religious institution in this particular process?
That's really interesting. Thank you. I'm really looking forward to read your research. It sounds very interesting. So as I said, this is one of the most it is the most religious government we ever had. So of course, religions plays a big part. I think what might be interesting to point out is that in Israel, the ultra orthodox parties are basically controlled by the rabbies, the religious leaders of that community. I mean, they directly select their parliamentary representatives and they control these parties directly. So definitely, there's a lot of involvement but also maybe interesting that they didn't used to be so much aligned with the right wing necessarily. So in Israel's history, they mostly wanted to join a government that would be good for their sector. Meaning that would provide the budgets they need that will give them autonomy, that kind of relationship, but what we saw in recent years is that they're starting to be more ideological about it and they're, they're starting to shift the mostly the younger generation is starting to shift to the right wing ideologically, not just as a way to just, you know, fulfill their autonomy and budgets.
Perhaps we can move to UC next and then to Randy Chang. I'll just wait for a second while the camera pivots and then UC.
Yeah, hi. Thank you so much for talking with us today. I was wondering, the attention span of news organization is often not very long. And now the protests have been going on for months. So I was wondering, are you noticing any signs of Israeli media or the audience getting tired of the situation or the international media and if you've been there is this type of risk for apathy? How do you think it can be tackled?
Yes, there's definitely a risk. I think now we're actually at a greater risk just because everything is very static at the moment politically, because there are negotiations between the coalition and opposition but the protests are still you know, happening, but there isn't a specific plan that they're protesting against because there's nothing on the table that we're waiting for the negotiations basically. There yes, there we do see that people you know, are not quite sure if you know, what's happening and they're less engaged because again, there's nothing specific on the table. But we do still maintain. So I mean, we will cover all the protests, the bigger protests that happen every Saturday, no matter how many people will be there, no matter you know, what's exactly on the table. We'll just keep doing that as a principle, but I think, you know, once the government will try to actually legislate something, then you know, you see again, the peak of interest. So people are interested. It's just that the situation is pretty static.
At each time, I think is up next.
So, you mentioned that journalism can style and claim to be objective in certain situations. In this case, how do you distinguish between journalism and activism?
The question that we like the most as journalists. My own perspective is that there is no such a thing. As being objective. I don't think you can try to use an objective language but it doesn't mean that you're objective because anyone who's reporting on anything has an opinion whether you know if it's emphasized in the reporting, or it's not that you still have a wider point of view or world point of view, wider political point of view. Of course, we try, you know, we report the facts. But the facts also you know, they have there's a perspective behind them. So, if we think that, you know, liberal democracy is a better way to live, then you know, of course, we have an opinion and it's not it's not something we hide, so the question then is is it better to be to present fake objectiveness to your readers, or you should just put your opinion out there for example, in editorials and let your readers know, what is your perspective?
There's another question that almost ties in to that. No. So let me ask you, this is coming from our wider audience. Mahmoud Hashemi asks, How many leftist media and movements are there? I assume he means in Israel, and how does the system deal with them?
Well, of course, then you have to ask how do you define left? Which is an interesting question, I guess in Israel. But if you look at that, another classic definition of left so for example, the only left Jewish left wing party was kicked out of parliament in the last elections. There is no representation for Jewish leftist right now in the Parliament at all in terms of media. I guess most Israelis if you ask them, you know, just walking in the street you know, which media outlet in Israel is considered to represent the left they will all say how
in your, in your experience, and I know you've been reporting for many years now, Noah, did you see something like this take place of this scale? Or was it a once in a lifetime reportage opportunity?
Never, I mean, this is factual and objective. We never had so many people in the streets no matter you know, doesn't matter. The booth for what you know there in terms of not only the amount of people because we did have several very large demonstrations in the past on other issues, but the amount plus the time plus the energy, all of that together. I mean, we never saw such a movement before.
Valerie has a question as well. Sorry. Go ahead.
Hi. Hi from Norway. You mentioned briefly but I was wondering if you could elaborate more more on this that is a very broad protest movement but a little less public participation from from the Palestinian population. Could you tell us a little bit more what you think might be the background for for that group group in society participating to a lower extent here.
You mean, should I expand on the Palestinian perspective?
Yeah, towards the protest? Yes. Why? Why do you think is the reason they are not participating so much in this local protest movement?
Well, to put it simply, I think, again, the fact that this is a protest that focuses on Israeli democracy and democracy is first of all for Israelis and not for Palestinians. That's you know, that's the main turnoff and it's true because they try this movement tries to aim to a wider audiences as they can. I mean, the protest movement also doesn't want to be perceived as political in the party sense. They don't want to be perceived as right or left. They want to claim that democracy and liberal values are good for the right wing and the left wing, and that everyone should participate because of that. By doing so they of course, alienate Palestinians.
In the past, where we've had conversations with journalists who have pointed out that in order to maintain the safety of journalists on the ground or reporting on a particular issue, it's important to build some kind of alliance even if it's an unspoken unwritten Alliance, you know, there has to be some kind of a safety net in place, particularly when reporting events at large scale. You mentioned very briefly that there was, you know, some talk within the journalists in Israel, but were there sort of SOP set in place in terms of how we can support journalists covering the public protests where it's quite obviously, you know, a state versus protests situation?
Yeah, so we had several serious incidents were our journalist photographers were heard by police and you know, they're all They're always complaints that we file. And again, the union is helpful in that and will support you know, after the incidents, but still incidents happen, and our journalists and photographers, you know, they they face police violence, usually in in most of these protests, and it is a problem.
Would you have advised observations to share for some of the smaller media or fleets that tend to cover these protests where you don't always have the scale and resources that you need for your journalists?
Yeah, so forming alliances and unions is definitely one way to do so. And I see you know, where we have for example, the photographers are pretty UNITE group and they do help each other also on the ground, not only, you know, being raising solidarity afterwards, also even on the ground when they see one of them, you know, that's being treated unfairly by police. They will immediately intervene right there. So I think of course, you know, if it's possible to form unions and even very specific unions, for example, for you know, journalist on a local level for photographers who cover the same area, etc. That's very helpful.
This is often a tricky question to answer. But do you think that we're it not for the era of social media, the protests may not have scaled in the way they did? In this particular instance, do you think it worked as a tool and an ally and you know, going back to your own experiences when you were a fellow and you probably had the same chat? What were you know, what was your lived experience here?
So you're gaining social media again, it's it's a blessing, it's a curse. And I think I think actually messaging apps on our own are more effective and organizing and, and sharing information more than Facebook, Facebook, I think, is probably not not so relevant anymore. With all the changes they themselves, you know, wanted to do with their algorithms. So political content is much, much less relevant there. But I think mass messaging apps are quite important. Now.
I can see a lot of the questions coming in. They don't seem quite pertinent to the discussion at hand. But let me try and frame this in a way that it makes sense for both so there's one question saying how to the political view on the occupation in Palestine change in the Israeli young generations? Did you see a connection between what was happening in this point no, and whether or not the younger generation became more engaged with political topics because of this public protest?
Yeah, it's it's a painful, painful question, because in many liberal democracies, younger people are more progressive. They support causes like climate and LGBT, etc. And in Israel, actually, what we saw in recent elections is that it's the opposite. The younger the voter was, the more they leaned to vote for the most extreme far right party that we have in this government. So it looks like you know the trend in Israel and the Jewish population is different.
Always hundreds, choosing to engage with a younger generation. I imagine just like India, it's a younger generation, but it has very strong political views. Have you, you know, thought deeply about how to engage with this generation.
Yeah, so of course like every media outlet we try to aim also a younger readers, I think we see younger it also depends how you define younger right? But we do have a tick tock account. We do try to do more explainers which we think is, is a great way, way to approach you know, information journalism, and we do that you know, in firms of video. But it's not you know, it's not that different from what others are trying to do to reach a younger audience really.
And I heard you say earlier that there was quite a bit by way of misinformation and disinformation. Did you have to almost divide your newsroom into sort of sections and head saying, okay, the four of you need to really counter all the misinformation coming in or was it you know, more or less already a structure that exists in the newsroom, but was just working harder.
So, there's always a dilemma between being fast and being correct. We always try to find you know, the perfect balance which doesn't exist between being the first but also making sure that we actually verify everything before we just press the notification button. So that's, that's a struggle. And there is no simple answer, but fortunately, with a lot of the very like blunt fake news that's running around, it's usually it's quite clear, you know, that it's that at least that there's a question mark there. Usually it's quite clear. But also when I say you know, when he talks about fake news, it's not only you know, stuff that you know, are spread on WhatsApp or another social media. It's also you know, official, an official television network that describes itself as prominent and the owl and would broadcast you know, kind of like these really, Fox News, you know, they would also broadcast things that you know, are just not true.
I know we're running out of time. So one final question, though, before we let you go, and I know you're running busy as well. For independent journalists watching this and you know, wanting to cover protests like this. I know it's different for you because there is an ecosystem of a newsroom that exists, but what would you say are the sort of top two or three or four takeaways in terms of how to how to report this in a responsible fashion?
Actually, for independent journalists, protests like that are major opportunity to shine and we do that quite there are several independent journalists in Israel. They're focusing only on the protest movement, sharing information only through social media accounts. And the more you build your reputation as someone who's worth following because you're there on the ground bringing in all the information from the actual protests. And you know, if you build a reputation that the information you provide is usually accurate, then actually, it's a it's a very good opportunity for independent journalists.
What's next for her ex? What can we look out for in terms of your reportage or the sort of new areas that you're exploring, particularly with, as UC said, shining a light and continuing to shine a light on the protests?
Well, we've been for 104 years now almost 105 years and we've been covering, you know, mostly the same issues. We are paper of record, but we do have new issues that we focus on from time to time, for example, like a lot of other newsrooms, we have a desk that specializes in climate change. And we are always talking about whether the new communities new areas of coverage that we should focus on. So you know, we still do what we do and we add some of the new fields as they come.
Fantastic stuff. And it's as I said, it's always interesting and engaging to see how you work with your audiences. No, I thank you very much for joining in. Thank you for taking on all these questions. Very gamely. And we wish you all the luck with this and with everything else that Haaretz continues to do. Thank you very much and to our audiences. Well, we'll see you again next week. Thank you.