Ehud Shem Tov, a journalist from Social TV, led a week-long training with Sadaka’s ‘Community in Action’ members. First, he introduced Social TV as an alternative media source which reports on events that the mainstream media does not cover. From this perspective of alternative media documentation, he discussed with the participants central themes in mainstream media discourse, as well as who decides and controls mainstream media content. All these aspects of mainstream media that were explored led to a great discussion between the participants on how this affects society. For example, this control of media, backed by private investors, leads to certain subjective portrayals of events, ultimately showing society only one biased side of the news in Israel’s dense political climate.
The participants were then given a task – to choose their own themes or topics in order to create their own news reports. Some of these included gentrification and construction issues in Jaffa (and the lack of funds Jaffa receives to repair its streets), Palestinian home evictions, and police violence against Palestinian protestors. They then spent time researching these issues and by the end of the week produced media clips. Some conducted interviews, while others pretended to be the interviewees (experts or activists in the field). While the clips were amateur and many were a little disappointed by the outcome, the week-long training was useful and helped participants gather both social (interviewing and being interviewed) and technical (directing and lighting) skills. Palestinian member Dina Azem, who now volunteers with Social TV, had this to say about the training, “It was very interesting and informative. Our discussions provided great insight into the political and social motivations of mainstream media.”