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Film looks at NY Times and Holocaust

A student documentary about the paper’s shallow coverage of the genocide — just six front-page stories throughout the war — will premiere at one of America’s most prestigious festivals

The self-proclaimed Paper of Record had at best a mixed one during World War II. (Kickstarter screenshot)
The self-proclaimed Paper of Record had at best a mixed one during World War II. (Kickstarter screenshot)

A documentary examining New York Times coverage of the Holocaust has been selected as one of 60 short films that will screen next month at New York’s Tribeca Film Festival.

“Reporting on the Times: The New York Times and the Holocaust” will be one of 30 short subjects celebrating its world premiere at the festival, one of the most prestigious in the US.

Produced and directed by Emily Harrold when she was a senior studying film and history at New York University, the movie was financed partly by online donations, and features testimony from academics, Holocaust survivors and a Jewish veteran of the US army.

In promotional materials, the young filmmaker notes that she’s not breaking entirely new ground, acknowledging that the project was “inspired” by “Buried By the Times,” Laurel Leff’s critical study of how the paper chose to cover — and not cover — the genocide.

Both the book and the film allege that the Sulzberger family, the Times’ Jewish owners, feared becoming closely associated with Jewish causes, and restricted the prominence of reports on the killing. A scholar interviewed in the film notes that the Times printed six front-page stories on the Holocaust during all of World War II, an average of one per year.

“Reporting on the Times” will screen at Tribeca as part of the festival’s “History Lessons” lineup.

While the festival will mark its first public showing, it’s already received praise elsewhere — it was a finalist last year at the Student Academy Awards, hosted by the same organization that puts together the Oscars.

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