The dilemma of past and present

Long-time readers of the paper will have noticed many changes over the years – first and foremost the increase in size, which of course allowed not only for more content, but more varied content.

By
December 6, 2012 13:58
3 minute read.
PM Netanyahu reading 'The Jerusalem Post' [file]

PM Netanyahu reading 'The Jerusalem Post' 370. (photo credit: Marc Israel Sellem)

THE DILEMMA in editing an 80th anniversary supplement of a newspaper is whether to delve entirely into the past or to focus on the present and the future. This supplement aimed towards striking a happy medium between the two options.

Journalists, because their names appear for many years in a particular publication, achieve some modicum of fame, but unlike film stars and pop singers, their lives generally remain private. Readers, though familiar with the name of a favorite reporter or feature writer, know little if anything about the person behind the byline.

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To a small extent, this lacuna is rectified in this supplement in that Alexander Zvielli, The Jerusalem Post’s senior archivist, tells his own story, weaving it in with the history of the paper.

He probably holds the record for being the oldest employee in Israel, and the longest employed at the one enterprise.

Zvielli knew very little English when he began working for The Palestine Post, but for some years now his copy has barely needed editing.

Retired journalist Abraham Rabinovich and Sarah Honig both came to the paper in the 1960s – he a seasoned reporter, and she a fresh faced student just starting out on her career.

He retired after 30 years; she’s still going strong, and both their stories appear in the supplement.

Health and Science editor Judy Siegel-Itzkovich began working at the Post in 1973 and tells an interesting tale of how she got her job.

The Jerusalem Post once maintained offices in Jerusalem, Tel Aviv and Haifa, and so there are interviews with prominent personalities from all three cities – each working in completely different fields.

According to Wikipedia, President Shimon Peres is currently the world’s oldest de jure head of state. As such, it was important to interview him for this publication, especially in view of the fact that Peres represents walking history whereas Zvielli chronicles history on a regular basis and reminds readers of the highs and lows in Israel’s development.

Yaakov Kirschen, better known by the title of his famous cartoon series Dry Bones, will on January 1 celebrate the 40th anniversary of his becoming a cartoonist at The Jerusalem Post, so it was certainly appropriate to include his story as well.

Moving fast forward, we could not ignore issues like Iran, the general political scene or Israel’s hi-tech and economic achievements.

For sports enthusiasts who are looking forward to next year’s Maccabiah Games which open in Jerusalem, there are some nostalgic photographs, plus a reminder that this year, 2012, marks the 80th anniversary not only of The Jerusalem Post but also of the Maccabiah Games.

Long-time readers of the paper will have noticed many changes over the years – first and foremost the increase in size, which of course allowed not only for more content, but more varied content.

Then there was the change from British spelling to American spelling, which in the days of the typewriter caused a lot of anguish to reporters and feature writers who had been educated in the British style. With computers it’s a lot easier, because most PCs these days include a program that features not only American spelling but also American grammatical forms as distinct from British.

Modern technology has now made it possible to read The Jerusalem Post anywhere at any time on a PC, laptop, tablet or smart phone, and to catch up with news as it’s happening. Editor- in-Chief Steve Linde and Managing Editor of JPost.com Elana Kirsh have dealt with this aspect in their introductory columns.

This is also an opportunity to thank so many colleagues at The Jerusalem Post for pitching in over and above their regular duties to make this publication what is hopefully a good read.


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