Covering the War Between Israel and Hamas

From The Poynter Report with senior media writer Tom Jones:

Covering the war between Israel and Hamas has been especially difficult for news organizations.

While it hasn’t all been perfect, the usual reliable news sources — the major networks, PBS, CNN, The New York Times, The Washington Post, the BBC, NPR, The Associated Press and Reuters — continue to be reliable. Although, not perfect. There have been moments of uncertainty, which has led to confusion — such as the hospital bombing in Gaza on Tuesday. In a rush to judgment, initial reports suggested it was an Israeli attack. But then both sides blamed the other, and there are still stories being published trying to get to the bottom of who was responsible.

On the latest episode of Peter Kafka’s excellent “Recode Media” podcast for Vox, Washington Post international editor Douglas Jehl talked about the challenges of covering this war, including pausing to assure accuracy.

“Every day,” Jehl said, “I would say and certainly in a conflict like this, we’ve made those decisions multiple times a day. … We encourage (reporters and editors) to stop and pause and say again, ‘What do we know? What do we not know?’ … There have been multiple claims made in this crisis that we’ve decided not to report and I’m glad we have refrained.”

This story, Jehl told Kafka, has dominated the newsroom at the Post. Jehl said, “This really is an operation in which we’ve mobilized the entire newsroom. We have about 12 or 13 people on the ground in Israel. We have more in neighboring countries, Lebanon and Egypt. We have teams in Seoul and London who focus on breaking news coverage around the clock and we have many people in Washington including our extraordinary visual forensics team that helps to authenticate the flood of images and video pouring in as people present this conflict.”

And it’s not a day-by-day story, but a 24-hour, around-the-clock story.

Jehl said, “Unfortunately we’ve had a lot of experience in the last 26 months, and even before, with what seemed to be never-ending stories. We had the coronavirus epidemic, and then … the fall of Afghanistan to the Taliban. We’ve had Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. … Throughout those major stories, we’ve continued to cover the major stories on a 24/7 hour basis. We built breaking news teams in London and Seoul that launched in the summer of 2021 that launched just in time for this intensive period of news.”

Jehl said, “This is going to be a story that goes on, and one we believe it’s our obligation to cover with this intensity and rigor and velocity that we’ve brought to it for the last 10 days.”

Notable coverage of the Israeli-Hamas war

The New York Times’ Raja Abdulrahim, Hiba Yazbek and Yousur Al-Hlou with “A Sudden Blast, Then Carnage in a Hospital Courtyard.”

Also for The New York Times, Peter Baker with “Biden Pledged Solidarity in His Visit to Israel. He Also Urged Caution.”

For The Wall Street Journal, Chao Deng and Menna Farouk with “Gaza Hospital Explosion Stuns Overworked Doctors; ‘No Place Is Safe Now.’”

The Associated Press’ Aron Heller with “Former AP videojournalist Yaniv Zohar killed in Hamas attack at home with his family.”

Speak Your Mind