Last week, a group of 31 Israeli authors and poets took over writing the Hebrew daily paper Haaretz, producing sonnets summing up the weather and a reassuring take on the stock market. “Everything’s okay. Everything’s like usual. Yesterday trading ended. Everything’s okay. The economists went to their homes, the laundry is drying on the lines, dinners are waiting in place,” wrote author Avri Herling about the markets. “Dow Jones traded steadily and closed with 8,761 points, Nasdaq added 0.9% to a level of 1,860 points … The guy from the shakshuka [an Israeli egg and tomato dish] shop raised his prices again …” Roni Somek cheered up the weather page with his poem Summer Sonnet (“Summer is the pencil / that is least sharp / in the seasons’ pencil case”), while Eshkol Nevo was given the TV review, perhaps mistakenly, since his piece began “I didn’t watch TV yesterday”. Readers seemed pleased. Editor Dov Alfon said there were dozens of calls of praise, and that it was “a humility lesson for journalists—31 writers decided what are the real events of the day?” he said. “What is really important in their eyes? They wrote about it, and our priorities as journalists were suddenly shaken by this.” It’s worth noting though, that the amateur reporters were kept away from the sacrosanct sports pages.
When poets cover the weather
Israel’s Haaretz newspaper handed the reins to authors and poets, changing the tone of news reporting for one day