«Jewish Observer»
JEWISH UKRAINE
12/31
June 2002
5762 Tammuz

DOES A NEWSPAPER NEED AN EDITOR?
MARKISA LIKHTMAN
Main page To print

Once, giving a lesson to my son who was 5 then, I told him one should think about what he says, otherwise he would have to bear a serious responsibility for them; not in vain do they say, "A word is not a bird...". My stubborn son proudly said, "And my word is a bird".

I often recall this reading modern newspaper and Jewish editions, in particular.

Newspapers have lost an editor - a person whose work protects reputation of not only the edition, but of its authors as well.

Namely the editor should have stopped such a current, if one may say so, of thought which resulted in a phrase by Mark Bruk published on page 7 of "Jewish observer", #10/29: "It is also very important there exist a clear (?!) monitoring of inner filling, balance of material and spiritual parts". Namely the editor should have explained to the author of another article - Igor Kuperbeg - occupying a big space of the same issue (pages 1 and 5) that a lawyer cannot, under any circumstances, criticize in public (an article in press is a public speech) his clients. Even if they are not just badly brought up and silly, but real criminals, killers (like a doctor cannot make public a diagnosis of his patient, like a teacher cannot qualify his pupil as a complete idiot). This is included into the notion of professional ethics. Otherwise, the notion itself - defender, lawyer - loses its sense. It doesn't matter whether a defender is paid or a public one. To observe ethics for the latter is even more important.

Responsibility doubles when an author and editor is one and the same person. Probably, professionals know how to act in similar cases, in particular, when it concerns budding journalists. In our case (I mean the article by M. Gold "Is there any need to cry?..") the author (and the editor in one person), completing a heated discussion, embarked on the simplest, in his opinion, way - he borrowed the spirit of the article the discussion had begun with. A geographical remoteness of a discussion initiator - a now residing in USA Mr. Burakovsky, in combination with an irresistible desire to demonstrate one's grandeur and a willfully usurped right to judge and condemn - all this did not stop his follower. He took the same way and gave birth to an article. I have read it several times and failed to understand what the author wanted to say.

Using the article's terminology I will try another attempt.

What should be done for us (the community) not to be afraid to look at ourselves from outside to see our generalized profile? (Frankly speaking, already here I begin getting stuck in words, since I fail to comprehend what a generalized profile of 200 -300 thousand Jews means and why we should create it; I somehow hoped all generalizations had passed away after departure from totalitarianism). If further appears this profile is drawn from no more young and socially vulnerable people. In author's opinion, it should be re-drawn, as we already have a sufficient number of people "earning 200 -300 - 500 units of American money (?) a month".

May the author have already calculated how many there are of them (units, tens, hundreds) and know for sure how much they earn: 200 or 500, dollars or cents?! No, these figures are not given, but further comes an unrestrained criticism of everything and everybody. Established rules and leaders who have established them fall prey to criticism. New rules to be established that people not pray (or pray to one's heart content) before meals, not slobber (I beg you pardon for naturalism, but this is a quotation), that there be Jewish weddings and not be double or even triple morale depending on "cover" structures, i.e. the rules under which we would not be afraid to look at our social portrait, still remain unknown to us, ordinary readers.

Namely here an editor is needed to prompt the authors such sharp criticism should result in, at least, any offered way out of the situation. Otherwise, a reader should independently invent a resume. Probably, let these objective factors remain as they are (let the elderly who spoil a portrait starve, let them go blind from a cataract to remove which you should officially pay 200 dollars, let someone's heart stop beating - a stimulator's cost reaches 500 dollars). Or, though, as the author suggests at the end of the article, "money of small donors does not cover all community's needs", let's urgently refuse from the help of foreign donors to deprive them (those who help) of an opportunity to revel in their own nobleness?

Alas, I can't define a more logical way out of the situation from this article.

Still, if there is no editor, one should remember that "... like bees in an empty hive, dead words smell bad".

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