ITV journalist up for award for coverage of antisemitism in London

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ITV journalist up for award for coverage of antisemitism in London

Sam Holder will have to see off four BBC productions and an Al Jazeera entry to win the prestigious Sandford St Martin Award

Sam Holder
Sam Holder

A Jewish ITV reporter whose coverage of anti-Jewish racism in London was credited with helping to show the scourge of antisemitism has been shortlisted for a prestigious journalism award.

Sam Holder, 32, will find out next week whether he has beaten four BBC productions and an Al-Jazeera entry to win the Sandford St Martin Award 2022 for his work covering attacks against Jews for ITV News London.

Holder has developed links to the strictly Orthodox community based around Stamford Hill and said the rise in antisemitism “has been my really big focus over the past year”. This has included incidents of shocking violence, such as when a Charedi grandfather was punched to the floor on a street in broad daylight.

“I’ve been keen to cover this rise in anti-Jewish hatred,” he said. “When you are part of the community, you become more aware of these things happening. Perhaps you hear of incidents that haven’t made it into the news. Once you’ve covered a couple, people start to come forward, to tell you about other horrific incidents.”

On the rise of antisemitism, he said: “This is a growing issue that happens to be in my community. I’m keen to make sure it’s not normalised. Some of these attacks are incredibly violent, random, and affect people of all ages. It doesn’t fit with multicultural, modern Britain. I feel a duty to make sure it remains covered.”

One of the judges for the Sandford Awards this year is Jewish sociologist Keith Kahn-Harris, whose latest book – titled ‘What does a Jew look like?’ – was launched at JW3 in April.

Partly because of their visible appearance as Jews, Holder said London’s strictly Orthodox Jews “take the brunt” of the violent antisemitism seen on UK streets, adding that he had “worked hard to build trust” in places like Stamford Hill.

“Every community deserves to have their voice heard. For a long time, people believed that they were insular, that they didn’t want to talk and were mistrusting of the news media,” he said.

On the shortlisting, he said: “I’m delighted to be nominated, that ITV gave the platform the cover these stories, and that they’re having an impact. It’s making people aware of the reality for Jewish people. Something like antisemitism is hard to keep in the news because it’s repetitive in a way.”

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