Helen Thomas: The Proto-Palin

A guest post from my father, a former Washington correspondent by Sanford Watzman I didn’t know Sarah Palin then but I did know Helen Thomas and, believe me, Helen was a Sarah. I’m going back some 45 years when, as a correspondent for the Cleveland Plain Dealer, I would sometimes attend a White House news … Read more Helen Thomas: The Proto-Palin

Profound Esophagus –“Necessary Stories” column from The Jerusalem Report

Haim Watzman

My dearest Ms. Profound Esophagus,

My heart has been racing and my mind churning since our meeting last night on level minus 4 of the Jerusalem municipality parking garage. Since my All The President’s Men-inspired leap into journalism when I was just out of college three decades ago I have long imagined of meeting someone like you. It was one of those fantasies that I always assumed only came true for other guys, never for me. But the minute I saw you standing between Deputy Mayor Yehoshua Pollack’s pair of specially-engineered Fiat 500s (one for his left side, one for his right) I knew that Herzl was right: If you gullet, it is no dream.

It wasn’t just the slender, shapely legs in those sheer dark stockings, although I could not help but notice them. It was not just the knee-length, businesslike, but tantalizingly tight black skirt or the matching, perfectly-tailored jacket. No, what really caught my eye at the first glance was what I saw bulging under the jacket, as if they were desperately trying to break free—two large compact discs that I knew could change my life forever.

Certainly the manner in which you contacted me only added to the fascination. You must have observed me carefully to know that I always use the rightmost urinal in the Jerusalem Malha train station. So imagine how stunned I was when I saw the pencil scrawl there last week: “Good time, top secret documents,” and your cell phone number. I knew right away that it was meant just for me.

Read moreProfound Esophagus –“Necessary Stories” column from The Jerusalem Report

Blogging Ethics and Nefesh B’Nefesh–Does Business Class Corrupt?

Haim Watzman

Shouldn’t journalistic ethics apply to bloggers? Specifically, shouldn’t bloggers refuse to accept perks from companies, organizations, and power brokers they write about? This could apply to all social media influencers too. Some people believe that if an influencer or blogger has put all the work in to grow their following, they should be able to receive some sort of repayment. Whilst that’s true, Instagram influencers can always use apps like socialfollow to help them grow their following. Once they have a big following, they can then receive some brand deals. I’m a newbie in the blogging world so I don’t really know enough yet, but I believe that any blogger or influencer who seeks credibility and independence must accept this standard, even if you were to start a blog on WordPress and believe yourself to not rack up much traffic in the foreseeable future.

I know I said I’m a newbie, but isn’t the whole point of starting a blog in the first place to have traffic driven towards it? Surely you want it to reach as many people as possible? I’ve heard from many people who have recently started their own blogs that researching something similar to web hosting canada should be one of the very first things that you should do before uploading your first post. They’ve told me that it is meant to help with your page load time, if it’s quick then you have an increased chance of having more traffic. Which should help your blog and its success in the long run. But this might not always be the case.

The issue came up specifically when I attended the First International Jewish Bloggers Convention last Wednesday here in Jerusalem. The convention was organized by Nefesh B’Nefesh, which promotes aliya from Western countries. I’m all in favor of aliya, and Nefesh B’Nefesh does fine work, even if its close association with Binyamin Netanyahu-the convention’s keynote speaker-and other figures on the Israeli right is not to my taste.

To kick off the convention, Nefesh B’Nefesh flew a number of Israel-based Jewish bloggers to the U.S. so that they could accompany a planeload of new immigrants on their move to their new country. At least some of the bloggers were given business class seats. They were also given complete freedom to write whatever they wished about what they saw and heard-it could hardly have been otherwise given the nature of the blog medium.

So what’s the problem? If Nefesh B’Nefesh is a laudable outfit, and if it gave the beneficiaries of its largesse complete freedom, what could be wrong?

Read moreBlogging Ethics and Nefesh B’Nefesh–Does Business Class Corrupt?

Prayergate: Ma’ariv Denies Denial

An afterword on Ma’ariv publishing the note that Obama put in the Wall: McClatchy correspondent Dion Nissenbaum brings the newspaper’s most recent comment on the affair. It doesn’t improve the Ma’ariv’s journalistic rep:

Maariv received the note last Thursday and, after realizing it contained no personal or intimate content, decided to publish it.

Read morePrayergate: Ma’ariv Denies Denial