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A bittersweet goodbye

The great American writer Norman Mailer often referred to writing as “the spooky craft.” I am firmly convinced that had Mailer lived to see the blogging age we are currently living in, he would have felt that blogging has replaced traditional writing as the truly spooky craft.

For the past year and a half, I have written an average of one post every two days for +972. I have written about everything from South African political connections with Israel to Palestinian child prisoners in Israeli military jails. Using all media platforms at my disposal, I have refined a new form of journalism which mixes tweeting, photography and old-fashioned reporting, in order to present views from one of the world’s most news-saturated conflicts, which often go ignored in the mainstream media. +972 is a volunteer project, and unfortunately I’m unable to continue with this arrangement. That said, this project has been a labour of love from the start.

Journalism is at a transformative stage. Never before has it been so easy to quickly and widely publish information. Never before has it been so difficult to make a living as a journalist. +972 is a project in new journalism. When I joined the founding team of the site, I was hopeful that a new batch of voices would emerge as a source of respected information on the complex and emotional issues relating to Palestine/Israel. I’m happy to be able to say that after a year and a half, +972 has become a widely-cited legitimate English-language source of news and commentary from the region.

Today, I am announcing my departure from +972 on 1 January 2012. I leave +972 with a heavy but satisfied heart as I move toward more mainstream journalistic outlets with the hopes of bringing my new media experience to a larger audience. I am happy to announce that I will be airing my first piece of radio journalism in the following weeks on Monocle 24. Additionally, the first months of 2012 will see increased energy on a book project tackling identity issues on the ground in Israel/Palestine told through my personal journey. Naturally, I will continue reporting, writing and digesting the political and cultural events from my perch in Ramallah on a variety of platforms, including Twitter and in newspapers from South Africa to Abu Dhabi.  I plan to write a couple more posts in December on +972 before closing my channel on 1 January 2012.

I am confident that the new space of journalism which we helped create on +972 will continue to grow following my departure as my fellow writers perfect the “spooky craft” of blogging. I am indebted to my fellow writers and especially the founding team of +972 for the past year and a half of collaboration and even disagreement at times.  It has been an incredible and sometimes emotional experience, which has greatly contributed to my growth as a journalist and observer of Israeli and Palestinian politics.

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    1. Mariana

      Thank you, Joseph! We’ll follow you wherever you are and, of course, we won’t abandon 972. Congratulations on your new step!

      Reply to Comment
    2. Libby Lenkinski

      Joseph – I want to tell you that your work on +972 has been invaluable to all of us who wish to follow the Palestinian popular struggle, the Israeli reality and so much more. You truly introduced new media as a tool for change – with your on-the-ground coverage of protests and real-time analysis of situations. Your voice challenged all of us to question our assumptions and to cross borders in our thinking – as you crossed borders physically. I will miss your voice terribly on this site and look very forward to seeing what you have up your sleeve for 2012. With thanks and respect, Libby

      Reply to Comment
    3. Dregen Jelencovich

      All the best with everything you do in life, good sir. Success be with you.

      Reply to Comment
    4. AYLA

      Thank you for everything, Joseph. I’m grateful to know that you’ll still be living in / reporting from Ramallah, and that your new medium include a book and radio (my favorites. I’m old fashioned. Though maybe, just maybe, hearing from you will be a deciding factor as I consider, gulp, twitter). Thank you, thank you, for all you do, and for all the heart with which you do.

      Reply to Comment
    5. Kees

      Thanks Joseph!

      Reply to Comment
    6. Thanks Libby for the great comments. Just a note, my voice will only get stronger in the next year as I bring my style of journalism to a more mainstream audience. 2012 will be a great year!

      Reply to Comment
    7. Miri Barak

      Josheph I am an ardent reader of your writings on 972+, so many times I was encouraged by your unrelenting human-rights endeavor. I wish you success with all my heart and I’m sure will hear about you and from you – I hope.

      Reply to Comment
    8. alessandra

      ciao Joseph, bravo! buona fortuna!

      Reply to Comment
    9. Richard Witty

      I’m sorry to hear of your leaving. Your work has always been informative and stimulating, even as I’ve disagreed with much of what I discern from your comments.

      In your work on identity, dive deep. Some identity is constructed of self-references constructed from context and chosen response. Some that is entirely independent of context, chosen response and from conformity to socially shared formulations.

      (Prayer in particular that gets to I/Thou without cultural context also forms identity.)

      Reply to Comment
    10. Joseph, working with you has been a real privilege. Your work was always challenging and innovative, both on political level and with regards to the use of new-media. I think I speak not just for myself but for many others when I say that you opened before us a whole new understanding of political events – one that we didn’t always agree with, but nevertheless needed to bring into account. In a place where people on all sides hold on to their pre-conceived ideas like they were their most valuable possession, you made us think – and one can’t ask for more from a journalist. I am sure that you will do great anywhere you go, but on a personal level, I really hope that we will have the opportunity to join forces again.

      Reply to Comment
    11. James Adler

      Joseph, congratulations and best wishes on your new ventures in journalism.

      At the same time please allow me to say what many readers may be thinking but not saying: that +972 is itself an asset and product worth all of everyone’s dedication and support, and why isn’t it possible for you to move into more mainstream journalism, and *also* continue with +972? Even if not at the same level, why are +972 and new paths mutually exclusive? Why not both, even at a lower level with +972?

      Joseph I say this precisely because I do so much admire your work, and find it so essential and vital, and don’t want +972 *entirely* to lose you, as +972 is also an essential and vital means of getting the word out, and you such an asset to it.

      Whatever your decision, please accept my gratitude and best wishes in all you undertake.



      Reply to Comment
    12. Henry Weinstein

      Looks like a miracle: a Joseph Dana’s article which doesn’t provoke a seismic controversy!
      Goodbye and thank yous, Joseph

      Reply to Comment
    13. Henry Weinstein

      Thank you vous!

      Reply to Comment
    14. Berl

      A good journalist and a deep thinker. Todà&Bazlaha Mr. Joseph

      Reply to Comment
    15. AYLA

      Wow, I love this from @Noam: “In a place where people on all sides hold on to their pre-conceived ideas like they were their most valuable possession, you made us think – and one can’t ask for more from a journalist.”

      Reply to Comment
    16. NoaY

      Joseph, I learned a lot from you about this weirdo medium. Please don’t be a stranger. You’ll be missed.

      Reply to Comment
    17. Sinjim

      Thank you for your work, Joseph! I’ve followed your writings from back in the day when you were Ibn Ezra, and I can’t wait to see your new work. Good luck!

      Reply to Comment
    18. David

      Bravo Joseph. Excellent work over the years, despite some of the views with which I have disagreed. It’s totally legitimate to take the path where you can actually support yourself. It should allow you to feel more sane about the insanity of this country. bhatzlacha!

      Reply to Comment
    19. sh

      After that Zionismfest you started you’re upping and leaving?
      What James Adler and Noay said.
      Good luck in all your endeavors, Joseph.

      Reply to Comment
    20. directrob

      You wrote many blog post I liked more than this one, but good to hear your voice will be stronger now. Best wishes with this new step in your quest for a right peace.

      Reply to Comment
    21. JG

      Thanks for your good work here, Joseph.
      Will miss your articles.

      Reply to Comment
    22. Thank you for your excellent stories, Joseph, showing us a different perspective on Israel.
      Wish you a long, happy life.

      Reply to Comment
    23. Safiyyah

      One door shuts and another opens. Good luck, my friend. I have enjoyed reading you here!

      Reply to Comment
    24. Only two hate posts, by my count. You’re slipping.
      I do think you created something new, where no one is in control as such. And look where you did it!

      Reply to Comment
    25. Richard Witty

      The recent discussion stimulated by the Bernard Avishai writing, was worth the wait here.

      Reply to Comment
    26. zvi

      Thank you (and everyone else at 972) for embarking on this project. As you said: “Never before has it been so easy to quickly and widely publish information. Never before has it been so difficult to make a living as a journalist.”

      And as Noam noted: “In a place where people on all sides hold on to their pre-conceived ideas like they were their most valuable possession, you made us think – and one can’t ask for more from a journalist.” Thinking and and imagining the view from beyond our limited perception of events is what journalism should aspire to.

      I wish you all the best in your future endeavors.

      Reply to Comment
    27. Thank you all for such kind words!

      Reply to Comment
    28. شكرًا جزيلاً
      Thanks for all your great work JD. Hope to see you in Ramallah in 2012

      Reply to Comment
    29. Moriel Rothman


      Your voice and perspectives on this site- which sometimes differ from and sometimes align with my own perspectives- will certainly be missed.

      Reply to Comment
    30. Joseph, you have done an amazing job at 972; I’ll be following your writing and photographing closely. Best of luck.

      Reply to Comment
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