Yair Stern is the former director general of Israel Television. He has been a guiding force in the development of Israel’s television programming and in the management of that country’s broadcast operations.
Stern began his career began as a reporter for Maariv, the largest daily newspaper in Israel, while he studied political science at the University of Tel Aviv. In 1968, he came to the United States and received a master’s degree in journalism from Temple University in 1970.
Stern joined Israel National Television as a sportscaster and in 1974 moved to the news division. Five years later, he was appointed as the news division’s chief producer. In 1982, he became editor-in-chief of the Evening News. Under his leadership, the division received the highest journalistic award in Israel, the Sokolov Prize, for coverage of the war in Lebanon. He then became head of the News division.
In 1989, Stern was sent to Washington, D.C., as a correspondent and bureau chief. His coverage of the Gulf War in 1991 garnered the Israel Broadcasting Authority Excellence Award.
Stern was nominated in 1993 as director general of Israel Television, which was then the only TV channel in Israel. In that role, Stern went to China to sign a cooperation agreement between Israel TV and China’s national TV. He also was chairman of both the Israeli Chief Editors Group and of Israel’s TV Rating Supervision Board.
Additionally, he served as a member of the News Committee of the European Broadcasting Union, which strives for better international cooperation between news divisions on the continent. He also was a member of the Academy of the International Emmy Awards. Stern received a special award for producing the Eurovision Song Contest in Jerusalem in 1999.
After he retired from Israel TV in 2000, he became a private media consultant. He headed a national committee in 2001 to supervise the founding of a second commercial TV channel in Israel. In 2003, he was appointed to chair a task force to save Israeli educational TV. From 2004 to 2006, he was programming advisor to the Israeli FCC for cable and satellite channels.
Stern’s involvement in community affairs includes serving as the chairman of Freedom Fighters for Israeli Heritage and as a member of the Board of Directors of the Jerusalem Symphony Orchestra.
Stern and his wife, Hadassa, have four children and four grandchildren.