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Training Israel’s Future Communicators

Raising standards in journalism among the aims of the newly-dedicated Dan Department of Communication at Tel Aviv University

Photo:From left: Executive Director for Ontario and Western Canada Stephen Adler; Aubrey and Marla Dan; TAU President Joseph Klafter; and CFTAU National Chair Jeff Wagman Credit: Israel Hadari 

In today’s digital age, who sets the standards for quality and objective journalism? With the proliferation of fake news, the media is increasingly being controlled by special interest groups rather than highly-trained media professionals.

The newly inaugurated Dan Department of Communication at TAU’s Gershon H. Gordon Faculty of Social Sciences seeks to redress this problem by training media professionals and conducting research in communication – both at the highest standards.

The Department was dedicated by Marla and Aubrey Dan of Canada, committed Zionists and benefactors of Tel Aviv University. Speaking at the inauguration ceremony, TAU President Joseph Klafter said: “Aubrey and Dan understand the importance of communication for society and for Israel. By dedicating the Department of Communication at TAU, they are investing in Israel’s future communicators; they are investing in Israel, its future and its younger generations.”

Aubrey Dan is a Tony Award-winning producer, impresario and philanthropist. In addition, he has led a successful business career, including as founder and president of Dancap Private Equity. Marla is a highly engaged member of the Jewish community and former President of Hadassah-Wizo Canada. The couple’s philanthropy spans the health and wellness sector, higher education and the performing arts, including support for the Dan School of Drama and Music at Queens University, an institution which has an academic cooperation agreement with TAU.

Dr. Daniel Dor, Chair of the Department, said: “The world of communication is undergoing an immense revolution, requiring a fundamental change in both the structure of study programs and research methods. Aubrey and Marla’s gift is enabling us to take a big step forward, establish the first laboratory of its kind for internet research, build TV and radio studios, continue to upgrade our study programs, offer scholarships for graduate students and post-docs, organize large international conferences, invite leading researchers and media personalities from around the world, and award an annual award in communication research,” he said.

“The graduates of the Dan Department will be better professionals who will benefit our society, make it more democratic and transparent, and a better place to live in,” said Dor.

In his response, Mr. Dan acknowledged the contribution of his wife, Marla, President Klafter, Chairman of CFTAU Jeff Wagman, and Executive Director for Ontario and Western Canada Stephen Adler.

“The antidote to fake news is the truth,” said Mr. Dan. “Proper journalism requires investment to bring the best professors to the University and to make TAU the greatest center of communication in the country. We also need people to showcase how wonderful this country is,” he said.

Please note that the first Dan research prizes were awarded (it’s in the seder tekes) and that the winners gave short presentations.

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