Poli LCE Visits the Israel Broadcasting Authority & Channel 2 News
Broadcast journalism continues to be an important news source in the Poli LCE world, even with the rise of the internet and related social media platforms as communication outlets. On Tuesday, Poli LCE visited two TV studios and had the opportunity to compare some of the ways that the news in Israel is produced. First, we toured the studios of Channel 1 news, which is produced by the Israel Broadcasting Authority (also known as the IBA) and is funded by the public. In the afternoon, we toured a privately-funded studio of Channel 2 news.
Our guide at the IBA was the illustrious David Witzthum, whom you may recognize as host, most recently, of the nightly news program MeHayom LeMahar (“From Today To Tomorrow”) and whom Israelis have been watching report the news for many years.
David explains the behind-the-scenes workings of the studio.
Now he’s showing us where the moderator of a news broadcast sits, while explaining how a moderator delivers the news. And yes, news is actually filmed and broadcast from this room.
It turns out, David explained, that Channel 1 is in the midst of what he called a “historic” upgrade. Channel 1 recently identified the upcoming Olympic Games in London as an occasion to switch over to a high-definition system, and we saw construction everywhere we turned in the studio. The IBA funds its public television programming by charging licensing fees for TVs and car radios, so Channel 1’s budget is modest. The contrast here, between what Channel 1 can and cannot do, made a strong impression. On the one hand, the IBA lags in its technological capabilities. On the other hand, since Channel 1 is not funded by advertisers and is not directly funded by the state, either – David was emphatic that Channel 1 is most comparable to the BBC and is a “publicly-funded” rather than a “state-funded” outlet – Channel 1 has a broad license to air what it wants. Actually, it was at Channel 2 that our guide praised this most highly: as he explained, the IBA notably aired a documentary that portrayed an influential Israeli family in a less-than-favorable light, even as private networks balked at that proposition.
Aramis, Cara and Beate try out the host’s seat in another Channel 1 studio room!
When we visited Channel 2, we met with a producer, who explained that “Channel 2” as an entity is jointly owned by two broadcasting companies, Reshet and Keshet. We saw the different parts of the studio, and also met with the internet team that produces Channel 2’s internet and social media content. With all of our classroom discussion of the role of the media, it was great to see two different TV studios in person and ask questions of key figures who work at each one.
We could be the Poli LCE news team!