Some empathy, please, as New York Times Jerusalem chief bids adieu

Some empathy, please, as New York Times Jerusalem chief bids adieu

About a month ago I wrote a post on the buzz developing around the changing of the guard at the Jerusalem bureau of The New York Times. I noted then that Times coverage of the seemingly intractable Israeli-Palestinian conflict is about as closely watched -- and unsparingly critiqued -- as is any  produced by American journalism.

For the bureau chief, the job is a near guaranteed ulcer-producer. Still, the position is coveted by the Times' most ambitious, most skilled and toughest reporters. In the context of that super-competitive newsroom, that's saying something.

My early December post was pegged to the departure of Jodi Rudoren, who is leaving Jerusalem after four years. No replacement has been officially named as of this writing, but check out my earlier post if you're interest in the scuttlebutt about who that may be.

My return to the subject is prompted by a exit interview Rudoren gave to The Jerusalem Post, Israel's leading right-of-center and oldest English-language newspaper. Click here to read the entire exit interview published in the newspaper's weekend magazine.

It's well-worth your time as a primer on what it takes to cover a highly complex, super-important international conflict while under a microscope.

How does one prepares for such an assignment? How do you deal, just about daily, with angry, highly partisan readers who feel their side has been wronged? How do time and space constraints work against properly contextualizing daily events when one has decades of bloody conflict from which to draw?

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