As a recovering journalist myself (see: "Chicken Little," a link to which is posted on the right of this page), I found an exercise in "new" journalism a refreshing experiment: last week, Israel's oldest newspaper gave its reporting staff the day off and subbed in a lineup of novelists and poets to report the day's news.
Here's an excerpt from Politics Daily on the event, which the PD columnist spun as part of a kol on "how to save mainstream journalism." The full column is at: http://www.politicsdaily.com/2009/06/19/five-unlikely-saviors-of-mainstream-news/
Columnist Joshua Chaney: "(This) demonstrated what would happen if it sent most of its reporters home for a day and replaced them with 31 Israeli poets and novelists. Nearly every story except sports in the June 10 edition of Haaretz, commonly described as Israel's version of The New York Times, was written in first person -- a big no-no in newspaper writing. Haaretz's liberal, culturally inspired readers probably enjoyed the issue thoroughly, potentially boosting readership for the day.
"A summary of how it went:
Among those articles were gems like the stock market summary by Avri Herling. It went like this: "Everything's okay. Everything's like usual. Yesterday trading ended. Everything's okay. The economists went to their homes, the laundry is drying on the lines, dinners are waiting in place...Dow Jones traded steadily and closed with 8,761 points, Nasdaq added 0.9% to a level of 1,860 points...The guy from the shakshuka [an Israeli egg-and-tomato dish] shop raised his prices again... The TV review by Eshkol Nevo opened with these words: "I didn't watch TV yesterday." And the weather report was a poem by Roni Somek, titled '"Summer Sonnet:" "Summer is the pencil/that is least sharp/in the seasons' pencil case.'" News junkies might call this a postmodern farce, but considering that the stock market won't be soaring anytime soon, and that 'hot' is really the only weather forecast during Israeli summers, who's to say these articles aren't factual?"
"No word yet on if the Times plans on swapping out its staff for a day..."
Interesting, and a nice economic gesture to the creative writers involved; after all, a day's pay is always welcome among novelists and poets alike, eh?
BTW, the back-story of the experiment is posted online at: http://www.forward.com/articles/107571/