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June 29, 2016 11:22 am

New York Times Gaza Phenom: Teen or Twenty-Something?

avatar by Ira Stoll

New York Times Gaza reporter Majd al Waheidi. Photo: Facebook.

New York Times Gaza reporter Majd al Waheidi. Photo: Facebook.

A New York Times reporter based in Gaza, Majd al Waheidi, penned an essay for the newspaper about visiting Israel.

It is rare that I see an Israeli in person; Israel withdrew from Gaza in 2005, and I was too young then to remember their presence,” she wrote.

Psychological studies indicate most adults can remember things going back to about three-and-a-half years old, so my first thought was to wonder whether the Times was making use of what the newspaper might call child labor.

I emailed Ms. al Waheidi inquiring precisely how old she is, but she hasn’t yet responded.

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It’s also possible that the Israeli presence in Gaza was so unobtrusive as to not make much of an impression on a child there. That possibility is left unexplored by the Times article, perhaps because it would contradict much of the newspaper’s narrative about the oppressive and heavy-handed nature of the Israeli “occupation.”

The fact that there’s an entire emerging generation of young Gazans who don’t even remember the Israeli presence there might be worth a news article in itself. It might counteract the notion the Times sometimes pushes that Israel is to blame for all of Gaza’s problems.

There’s nothing wrong with young reporters; I was one once myself (a long time ago!) and have employed plenty of them over the years. But it’s also true that round after round of buyouts and even some layoffs have taken a toll on the more experienced (and higher paid) ranks of the Times newsroom, leaving much of the work to younger (and lower-paid) employees who lack the experience and judgment accumulated by the discarded veterans. It’s the sort of thing that, if it happened at another important business or cultural institution, might be the topic of a lengthy and critical Times investigation.

Ms. al Waheidi is slated to appear Friday at a public event in Washington, D.C.

More of Ira Stoll’s media critique, a regular Algemeiner feature, can be found here.

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