A Global Home Away from Home for Journalists
How the Jerusalem Press Club is enhancing world news and broadening public knowledge about the realities of Israel.
Refurbished in a historic building near the famed Old City Walls of Jerusalem sits a first-of its-kind, modern venue for foreign journalists on assignment in Israel. Despite having the largest international press presence in the Middle East, the city long lacked a venue dedicated to nonpartisan media coverage until 2013 when the Jerusalem Press Club opened its doors.
“For too long, no centralized meeting place existed in Israel where foreign journalists could receive a wide range of quality information about the entirety of Israel’s story,” explains Jerusalem Press Club Director and former head of Israel’s Government Press Office, Uri Dromi. “At any given time, this city would have 350 registered foreign journalists – and more than 1,000 visiting the country every year. There was more than a void to fill.” Today, the Jerusalem Press Club has begun to fill that gap, offering a neutral setting where journalists can gather, listen to speakers, and witness and understand the nation’s landscape.
Established with funding from the Helmsley Charitable Trust, the press club now serves as a practical hub for foreign journalists to gain high-quality, accurate information and insight into Israeli life. Accommodating members of the media from all countries, it offers an ideal platform to access workshops, briefings and one-on-one interviews with Israel’s key leaders, researchers and prominent state officials.
With no particular agenda in place, a hub like this can play a major role in enriching the understanding of Israel and providing context for the issues so many reporters are tackling.
— Uri Dromi, Jerusalem Press Club
Trustee Sandor Frankel notes that, “In addition to strengthening Israel’s research institutions and its medical infrastructure, a key facet of the Trust’s work in Israel is bolstering the nation’s ability to communicate to a global audience the unvarnished facts of life and culture there. From the moment we learned of the concept for the Jerusalem Press Club, we knew it would be an invaluable resource and catalyst for the reporting of those realities.”
“With no particular agenda in place, a hub like this can play a major role in enriching the understanding of Israel and providing context for the issues so many reporters are tackling. We know there is more to Israel than conflict, and this press club has been a leader in confirming the vibrant democracy of this country,” says Dromi. Funding for the press club has additionally allowed for guided tours throughout the country to introduce journalists to Israel’s technological achievements, academic experts and leading industries.
Located in the heart of the Mishkenot Sha’ananim neighborhood, the press club is fully equipped with state-of-the-art communication services, live-feed technology, private meeting rooms and stunning views of the nearby Old City walls to provide journalists with the resources they need to report the news. Its premier event space is also home to a restaurant that regularly draws together diplomats, business professionals, scholars and international thought leaders from across the world.
FORGING PARTNERSHIPS: Science journalists share thoughts about their visit with world renowned Israeli scientists through a new program hosted jointly by the Jerusalem Press Club and the Israel Academy of Sciences and Humanities. This first “science mission” offered the global media full immersion into Israel’s biotechnology and medical research developments.
In its first year of operations, the press club has already established itself as a dynamic center for media activity and journalist support, hosting a range of briefings and press conferences with preeminent figures from Israel and around the world. It additionally serves as a critical base of operations for global coverage of various major events, including President Obama’s recent visit to the country and the 2013 Israeli Presidential Conference. The club also hosts a number of intensive seminars designed to introduce foreign reporters to specific aspects of Israeli society, such as a recent joint program with the Israel Academy of Sciences and Humanities that canvassed noteworthy developments and leading institutions within Israel’s science and research sectors. Building off of this strong momentum, the club continues to add programming and resources.
“The role of philanthropy is crucial in a project like this. Meaningful investments like those of the Helmsley Charitable Trust laid a vital groundwork for our take-off and launch into success,” Dromi said. Celebrating the early achievements thus far, Dromi adds that the Jerusalem Press Club has already been accepted into the International Association of Press Clubs and the European Federation of Press Clubs. “With every one of our members now able to walk into any press club in the world and immediately gain access to all the benefits of those global resources, we are on an exciting, collaborative path.”