“When you’re a member of the very society you’re reporting on, every word is laden with responsibility. Personal and professional are always mixed”
In my eight years as an Orthodox journalist writing mainly about Orthodox life for non-Orthodox publications, I have lived this every day. When you’re a member of the very society you’re reporting on, every word is laden with responsibility. Personal and professional are always mixed.
It means that when you go to a wedding, you’ll likely find yourself standing on line at the smorgasbord next to the president of the organization you just criticized. When you walk to your seat on the synagogue balcony, you’ll have to nod to the politician whose statements you’ve shred apart on Twitter. And it’s a good thing, actually — knowing one’s sources and subjects as human beings, knowing one might see them in the supermarket or at shul, helps ensure that one always thinks about the impact of one’s writing on one’s subjects. That kind of empathy is essential to good journalism.
Avital Chizhik-Goldschmidt, “A prophet in his own city: Jacob Kornbluh, the Hasidic reporter standing up for social-distancing”, Forward (25 May 2020) [https://forward.com/life/447274/a-prophet-in-his-own-city-jacob-kornbluh/]