The Press Gazette has published an extract from Headlines from the Holy Land. It is adapted from Chapter 7 ‘Social Media: A Real Battleground’.
Since the Arab uprisings of early 2011, social media have played an increasing role in the politics and conflict of the wider Middle East. That has been especially true in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
The Guardian’s Harriet Sherwood, who returned to Gaza to cover the Israeli military operation in the summer of 2014 concluded of her time on that assignment: “If you want to know what’s happening, it’s on social media first, before any other news outlet, so it’s essential to be monitoring Twitter all the time.”
This is how the journalism of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict has evolved: while eyewitness reporting remains of paramount importance, it is no longer sufficient just to be in one place.
With social media, and Twitter in particular, you have simultaneously to keep an eye on what is going on elsewhere too.
Social media had been a part of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict since it came into being. Following Operation “Cast Lead” – an Israeli military campaign in Gaza in late 2008 and early 2009 – there were reports that both the Israeli Army and Hamas’ military wing had warned those in their ranks against using social media for what doing so might give away to the enemy.
This was different.