Slate Tackles the New York Times and ‘Jewspotting’

Travel Blog  •  Eva Holland  •  12.16.09 | 3:21 PM ET

Jack Shafer thinks the Times should lay off the “hey-folks-we’ve-found-some-Jews-living-in-a-strange-place” stories. Money quote:

Jewspotting stories appear to be about something when they’re really about nothing. Then why such enthusiasm for them at the Times? Because journalists love to write about holdouts—the guy who refuses to sell his home, the Papua New Guinea tribe that won’t become “civilized,” the last blacksmith in town, the last survivor of World War I, even the last Oldsmobile. Rarity stories are easy to write, and their sappiness makes them even easier to read.

I suspect that the relative stability of Jewish populations—outside a drop in inhospitable countries—is the real story. But things staying the same is the opposite of a story, right?

(Via Jeffrey Goldberg)

Eva Holland is co-editor of World Hum. She is a former associate editor at Up Here and Up Here Business magazines, and a contributor to Vela. She's based in Canada's Yukon territory.

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