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June 02, 1989 - Image 9

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
The Detroit Jewish News, 1989-06-02

Disclaimer: Computer generated plain text may have errors. Read more about this.

I CONTENTS

Free Press Defends
Its Editorial Policies

JOE STROUD

I

Ip



have been pained by some
of the things that have
been written recently, par-
ticularly in The Jewish News,
about some of our coverage,
editorial comments and our
use of op-ed, or "other voices,"
material. I consider myself a
professional who cares about
high standards of fairness and
accuracy. I consider myself a
friend of Israel, who values
this country's alliance with
Israel and who believes the
creation and protection of
Israel have been and are im-
portant to the United States
and to humanity.
I feel a deep sense of anger
at the anti-Semitism that I
recognize is never far below
the surface in this society. And
I am frustrated and distress-
ed any time I think we have
been careless or unfair in our
choice of language, our presen-
tation or our treatment of the
life-or-death events that
engage world attention in the
Middle East.
I am also frustrated when
we fail to explain or people fail
to understand what we are do-
ing and why even when our
performance is flawless.
I am an American; I was
born a southerner; I grew up
a Methodist; I was trained in
history; I've traveled to many
parts of the world but not
everywhere I would like. I was
born in the Depression, reared
on a farm, fated to struggle in
North and South with the im-
pediments to human under-
standing. I decided to go into
editorial writing in part
because I so abhorred the
system of racial segregation
and discrimination that
prevailed in the South.
I can keep pushing back my
horizons, and I will try to do
so, by travel, by reading, by
listening to all manner of peo-
ple who write and talk to me
with all sorts of concerns. I
cannot escape absolutely who
I am, and no one else who is
in the communication
business can either. We can
challenge our own preconcep-
tions, and we must. We can't
entirely escape.
What we can do is try to be
honest about the baggage we
carry — honest with ourselves,

Joe Stroud is editor of the
Free Press. This speech was
given May 11 to the Institute
for Retired Professionals at the
Jewish Community Center in
West Bloomfield.

honest with our audience. We
can critique our own perfor-
mance; we can try to see what
sort of filter we are proving to
be for information. The best
way to do that is to assure that
our staffs, our contacts, our
friendships are as broad as
possible, that we hear and try
to understand all the varieties
of ways in which people grope
for the truth.
If it is hard to answer the
question, "What is truth?" it
is also hard to answer the
question "What is news?"
News should be true, but truth
is not necessarily and always
news. What makes truth news-
is comprised of many
elements: novelty, timing, the
values and preoccupations of
our audience, the clash of
events and ideas and people
competing for our atention on
a given day. One day's banner
headline can sometimes go
beyond tomorrow's inside
story.
The judgments about what
is interesting, important, pro-
vocative to our readers are
subtle, complex and difficult.
We strive for balance; we don't
always find it. We strive for
consistency, but we deal with
the flow of events, and we
must make instantaneous
judgments about incredibly
complex events and issues. We
must always revisit yester-
day's judgments to see
whether we were right.
Moreover, we have to
acknowledge or we ought to
acknowledge that we can
often become players in the
process ourselves. We write
about an event — a protest,
say — and we give it force and
meaning. We've struggled for
years over how to cover pro-
tests, for instance. At what
stage does a protest become
news? When is an act of
violence news? When is a
threat? What is the incidental
consequence of deciding a pro-
test is news?
Such questions as access to
an event are important. A
gang rape in New York Cen-
tral Park inevitably has a
more dramatic effect than a
rape on the lower east side of
Detroit. The dreadful bombing
of Beirut these days is a very
imperfectly reported story
because we can't assure the
access of reporters. A tree that
falls in a media center or an
open society is heard over far
greater distances than one
that falls in Billings, Mon-
tana, or a repressive state.
The mass slaughter of Cam-

Continued on Page 16

CLOSE-UP

24

Justice For All

RENEE GLOVINSKY
Working with hatred and fear
is part of ADL's territory.

44

SPORTS

A New - Play Field

RICHARD PEARL
The Center has big plans
for its new athletic complex.

44

BUSINESS

Testing Entrepreneurs

48

RENEE GLOVINSKY
College entrance exams have
become a multi-million business.

center

Our family section explores
the holiday of Shavuot.

FASHION

77

Spring Fantasy

CARLA JEAN SCHWARTZ
New looks at the Center
for the warm, rainy season.

77

MITZVAH PEOPLE

Volunteer Nannies

83

'SUSAN WEINGARDEN
Special people help staff
Sinai's intensive care nursery.

DEPARTMENTS

28
37
38
54
61
71

Inside Washington
Community
Synagogues
Cooking
Entertainment
Fine Arts

78
86
87
91
93
96

For Women
Teens
Engagements
Births
Single Life
Classified Ads

CANDLELIGHTING

June 2, 1989
8:45 p.m.
Sabbath ends June 3,
9:52 p.m.

THE DETROIT JEWISH NEWS

7

ONTENT

I OPINION

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