Today marks two years since the death of Ze'ev Schiff, the Haaretz military affairs analyst who mentored many of the paper's younger generation. We still feel his absence, and this is an opportunity to detail some of the lessons we learned from him.
The most important lesson we learned from "Wolfie" was not to sacrifice tomorrow's headline for the sake of today's. More than many other journalists, Schiff knew how to maintain a long-term relationship with his sources, who knew he could be trusted. He kept in touch with them as they rose through the ranks of the army, the political system and various government agencies, but never flattered them or served as their public relations agent. He thought long-term, both in his work and in his writing on defense and policy issues.
As a commentator, Schiff often preferred to speak softly, sticking to reasoned analysis rather than trying to make waves or provoke an angry response. When he did raise his voice against decisions or actions that upset him, his words left an impression.
Above all, Schiff was a reporter until his very last day: He sought out information and was as excited about publishing a scoop as any novice. There was nothing he enjoyed more than getting a lead headline on an exclusive story. His editors expected pleasant surprises from him, and he enthusiastically supplied them.
His energy and motivation were unmatched. Even today, two years after his death, they still arouse admiration and envy.
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