Untangling the Web: Covering Schalit’s release, online

01.10.2011                      04.Cheschwan. 5772


Untangling the Web: Covering Schalit's release, online

The prisoner exchange deal with Hamas didn't exactly take us by surprise, but it did highlight some fundamental issues of ethical journalism.

The day that Gilad Schalit returned to Israel from Gaza after five years in captivity was arguably the biggest news day that the JPost Internet desk has ever seen, but it didn’t take us by surprise. The previous Tuesday – when I came out of a yoga class to find that the prisoner exchange deal between Israel and Hamas had been signed, and 37 missed calls on my cell phone – that was a surprise. Terror attacks take us by surprise, natural disasters, unexpected resignations, but this historic day, for the nation and for Israeli news media alike, went almost entirely to plan.
This put us in a rare situation; working in the news business in Israel we’re used to having to think on the fly. I had almost a week to put together lists of every article that could be written on the deal, liaise with reporters and the editors at the print edition, write preparatory e-mails with instructions, check that our servers would hold expected traffic spikes and call Breaking News editors in for extra shifts….