Israeli child of survivor installed as national journalism society president

DAYTON, Ohio (Dayton Jewish Observer) — Hagit Limor says a key reason she became a journalist was her family history. Her father is a Holocaust survivor from Poland.

“My father is the victim of a crime that went unreported by the media for seven years,” she says. “No one covered the Holocaust. Governments knew about it but it wasn’t covered. I think that’s why a lot of Jewish people do get into the press and media jobs, because I think it’s ingrained in us: If you’re going to shout ‘Never again,’ then you have to be part of making sure, ‘Never again.’ ”

To Limor, that means exposing the wrongs of our society.

An investigative reporter with WCPO-TV in Cincinnati who has won nine Emmy Awards, Limor was installed as the 2010-11 national president of the Society of Professional Journalists at the organization’s national conference on Oct. 5 in Las Vegas.

Limor, who has served as president of the society’s Cincinnati chapter, says her responsibilities as national president add up to another full-time job.

“One of my missions this year is to travel as much as I can across the country to spread the word beyond the journalism community, to the general population, to reconnect with them with why the First Amendment is so important and why especially in these times, we need a Fourth Estate to serve as a watchdog,” she says.

Limor was born in Israel but at 8 moved with her family to Nashville, Tenn., where her parents still live.

Her mother was born in British Mandate Palestine.

“Her family immigrated from Russia in the early 1900s after the Bolshevik Revolution,” Limor says. “They were among the original settlers who irrigated the desert. After World War II, my father came over on a boat, very much like the Exodus story, and fought in the War for Independence. He was shot in the eye very much like Moshe Dayan.”

Limor received her bachelor’s and master’s degrees in journalism from the Medill School of Journalism at Northwestern University in Chicago.

She and her husband, Jeff, and their 5-year-old son, Jake, are active with Cincinnati’s Chabad.

The greatest challenges ahead for Society of Professional Journalists, Limor says, are twofold: to help society members develop the skills they need to work in today’s environment, and to reaffirm the basics of journalism such as fact checking, objectivity and ethical decision making.

“We also are reaching out to non-journalists, people who are just getting into, perhaps, citizen journalism,” she says. “Because while some people want to make distinctions between who is a real journalist, I say anyone who offers information to their community on whatever level, I welcome to learn to do journalism the right way.”

Limor also wants the society to create a “Black Hole Award” to recognize the worst access to public records as a counterpoint to its Sunshine Award.