The Truth, Nothing but the Truth: Laurel Leff, Arthur Neslen
Chair: Jon Silverman
In Buried by The Times: The Holocaust and America’s Most Important Newspaper, Laurel Leff examined the many decisions that were made along the chain-of-command of the New York Times that ultimately resulted in minimising, misunderstanding and diluting the reporting of the Holocaust. She described how journalists in New York, London, Berlin, Moscow, Paris, Bucharest and Jerusalem reacted to news as it reached their bureaus. Leff, along with Arthur Neslen who was until recently the London correspondent for Al-Jazeera and their only Jewish journalist, grappled with the question of how journalists understand and evaluate horrific unprecedented events.
Laurel Leff is a professor of journalism. She was a professional journalist for 18 years reporting for the Wall Street Journal and the Miami Herald.
Arthur Neslen worked for the BBC between 2001 and 2004 and used to be the London correspondent of Al Jazeera.net. He has written for The Guardian, The Independent, TheObserver, the New Statesman and Private Eye. He is the author of Occupied Minds, A Journey through the Israeli Psyche.
Jon Silverman was the BBC’s Home Affairs Correspondent for a record period of 13 years (1989-2002), following a distinguished BBC career which included a three-year stint as Paris correspondent and five years as a political correspondent at Westminster. During his time as Home Affairs Corr, he won a clutch of awards for his reporting. He was four times the Bar Council’s Legal Broadcaster of the Year. And in 1996, he won the top UK award for radio reporting – the Sony Gold Award – for his exclusive reports on Britain’s Nazi war crimes investigations.
He has written and presented many TV and radio programmes, amongst them exclusive reports for ‘Newsnight’,’Assignment’ and ‘Correspondent’ on TV. He presented the ‘Today’ programme in the mid-1980’s,’PM’ and ‘World this Weekend’ and in 2003 wrote and presented a three-part series of programmes for the BBC World Service on war crimes & justice. He presented a Radio Four documentary on the police in September 2004 and a World Service documentary on Afghanistan in July 2005.
His first book ‘Crack of Doom’ (1994), was a ground-breaking study of the Jamaican Yardies and crack cocaine. His second, ‘Innocence Betrayed:Paedophilia, the Media & Society’ (2002), written with criminologist, Professor David Wilson, examined the implications of the News of the World’s naming& shaming campaign and the reaction to the murder of Sarah Payne.
He has done a fellowship (1998) on war crimes and international justice at the University of Michigan. He is a fellow of the Institute of Criminal Justice Studies, Portsmouth University, and has an honorary doctorate from UCE. He lectures widely abroad for the UNDP, Council of Europe and the European Union and has trained journalists in Rwanda, Lithuania and Croatia.
Jon Silverman is currently a freelance broadcaster, criminal justice/legal analyst and author and is married, with two sons.