Why The Holy Land Exerts Such A Pull Over Reporters

James Rodgers weaves a history of journalism from the region


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Chiswick author and journalist James Rodgers draws on his experience as the only BBC journalist to be permanently based in Gaza from 2002-2004 to weave a history of reporting in the region.

His latest book Headlines from the Holy Land is based on new archive research and original interviews with leading correspondents and diplomats who have spent years observing the conflict.

The book, which has been highly praised by international correspondents such as Lyse Doucet of the BBC and Patrick Cockburn of the Independent, explains why this fiercely contested region exerts such a pull over reporters

Despite decades of diplomatic efforts in the Middle East, a just and lasting end to the Israel-Palestine conflict remains as difficult as ever to achieve – and journalists are often the ones on the front lines telling the story.

Headlines from the Holy Land shows that journalists covering the Israeli-Palestinian conflict have a rare perspective which informs the views of countless others right up to policy makers, prime ministers, and presidents. It has often been said that journalism is the first draft of history. This book aims to show just how valuable journalism can be.

Starting from a historical perspective with the bombing of the King David Hotel in 1946, this book identifies the challenges the conflict presents for contemporary journalism and diplomacy, and suggests new ways of approaching them. The book also analyses local society, which represents a special challenge for reporters, and for diplomacy seeking to bring an end to the conflict. Rodgers takes us right up to the present, exploring the role of social media in the conflict and what the future of journalism in Israel and Palestine might look like in the face of vast technological and cultural change.

Previous books by James include Reporting Conflict (2012) and No Road Home: Fighting for Land and Faith in Gaza (2013).

A former BBC correspondent in Moscow, Brussels, and Gaza, James (now Dr James Rodgers) lectures in Journalism at City University London, UK.

The father-of-two spent five years working for Reuters Television before working for the BBC, where he spent fifteen years as a foreign correspondent in Moscow, Gaza, and Brussels between 1995- 2010.

Originally from Manchester, he studied Russian and French at Oxford, and has covered many of the major stories from the former Soviet Union including the election of Boris Yeltsin, the conflicts in Chechnya and Georgia, and the Putin presidency. He also covered the September 11 attacks in New York, and was based on the Gaza Strip (2002-2004) as a BBC correspondent.

James also covered the invasion of Iraq and was the first BBC journalist to report from the village where Saddam Hussein was captured in December 2003. He is now a lecturer in Journalism at City University, London. James lives in Chiswick with his wife, who is also a journalist, and his two daughters.

There will be a discussion on reporting the conflict in the Middle East in conjunction with the launch of the book at City University next week on Thursday, October 15th at 6 pm ( Room A130, College Building)

The panel includes James Rodgers and Sir Vincent Fean , British Consul-General, Jerusalem (2010-14), now retired and Harriet Sherwood, who has reported on the conflict for The Guardian.

October 10, 2015

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