Jon Sil­ver­man casts an eye on the me­dia

The Jewish Chronicle - - PEOPLE -

METROPOLI­TAN PO­LICE Com­mis­sioner Sir Ian Blair has faced a me­dia on­slaught for his han­dling of the shoot­ing of Jean Charles de Menezes. But one jour­nal­ist in­ter­ested more than most in how he is cop­ing with the pres­sure is Jon Sil­ver­man.

The for­mer BBC home- and le­gal-af­fairs correspondent, Mr Sil­ver­man, 58, re­cently joined the Univer­sity of Bed­ford­shire as pro­fes­sor of me­dia and crim­i­nal jus­tice. The part-time post in­volves re­search­ing the im­pact of a chang­ing me­dia on se­nior crim­i­nal-jus­tice pol­icy-mak­ers. “As a re­sult of in­creas­ing me­dia pres­sure, there has been a sea change in the speed of re­sponses made by pol­icy-mak­ers, such as politi­cians; chief con­sta­bles; and heads of pris­ons,” he ex­plains. “There is a feel­ing among politi­cians that if you do not re­spond im­me­di­ately to a sit­u­a­tion, you will be ham­mered in the me­dia. Is this a healthy po­si­tion to be in?” Prof Sil­ver- man plans to spend the next two years find­ing out.

He tells Peo­ple: “I will be look­ing at how peo­ple in Sir Ian Blair’s po­si­tion will be cop­ing.”

He adds: “The post is a unique op­por­tu­nity for me to look at the me­dia from both sides.”

Dur­ing his ca­reer, he won a Gold Sony Broad­cast­ing Award for in­ves­ti­ga­tions that led to the first ar­rest for Nazi war crimes in the UK. He is now free­lanc­ing, and is cur­rently work­ing with jour­nal­ists in West Africa, in as­so­ci­a­tion with the BBC World Ser­vice Trust, to help them cover war-crimes tri­als.

Home is in Finch­ley, North Lon­don.

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