Category Archives: Iran

WAOW Doesn’t Deliver, Milwaukee Independent Does

Neither the Wausau TV station news director nor the interviewing reporter sent me the link, as they said they would, to the Simpson-parole piece they aired yesterday, so I went to their website and found:

Anyone who missed it didn’t miss much. What got me most, though, was that instead of using the photo I sent them, which they requested, they used a picture of me that I didn’t recognize.  It took a bit of poking around online, but I finally found it. It was taken by Milwaukee journalist Lee Matz and posted on his news and information site The same picture was included in a profile Matz published today. Here are links to the video and the text versions of the profile.

A huge thank you to Lee Matz and Milwaukee Independent.

Forrest Gumpish Me

I felt so Gumpish yesterday.

The Milwaukee Green Sheet “Blasts from the Past” had an item from 1979 about Iranian Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini receiving “a tumultuous welcome in Tehran as he ended nearly 15 years of exile.” My children and I had just been evacuated from Tehran the month before with what we could carry in a few suitcases as the Islamic Revolution became chaotic in Iran, and my husband was still there with no indication that he was going to get out.

An interview on NPR with TV critic Eric Deggens about “The People vs. O.J. Simpson” miniseries scheduled to debut on FX last night included mention of the Rodney King-beating trial verdicts and resulting L.A. riots threw me back to all of those events.

When Rodney King was stopped by law enforcement for a malfunctioning taillight and beaten, I was city editor at the Pasadena Star News with a coverage area that included King’s hometown of Altadena. I had moved to my position as Los Angeles courts public information officer just three months before four L.A.P.D. officers stood trial for beating King. That trial was a real baptism by fire! But not nearly as hot as the subsequent riots during which I was one of the few people to keep showing up for work every day at the downtown County Courthouse.

And, of course, the accusation and subsequent trial of O.J. Simpson for murdering his ex-wife practically consumed my life for more than a year and a half in 1994 and 1995, which is now the foundation of the TV drama “The People vs. O.J. Simpson.

I have to say the Simpson case practically consumed my life, because sandwiched between court sessions, dealing with related media issues and meeting with the trial judge, Lance Ito, were the Hollywood Madam Heidi Fleiss case and preparations for the Menendez brothers retrial.

Feeling Gumpish comes over me at other times of the year, too, such as during the Tournament of Roses Parade in Pasadena, in which I drove a float one year and… and…

Oh, well, that’s enough for now. Sorry to get carried away.



Will Iran Reforms and Reformer Last?

Media access and government transparency is vital to a country’s people, I believe.

So this reported turn of events in Iran is not only a positive one, but is of great personal interest to me, given that I was living in Tehran when the curtain rose on  the Islamic Revolution in that country and, in fact, was evacuated with my three children because of it.

Iran’s president-elect calls for new media freedoms

My Iranian experience provided the epiphany that launched my journalism career, which led to my work with the Los Angeles Superior Court and ultimately resulted in the publication of Anatomy of a Trial, which is now available in e-format.

As I read this story about Iran’s newly elected president, Hassan Rohani, which includes this quote, “A strong government does not mean a government that interferes and intervenes in all affairs. It is not a government that limits the lives of people. This is not a strong government.” and knowing the iron jaws in which Islamic clergy gripped Iranians ever since that revolution, I will watch with great interest to see if Mr. Rohani remains in office and if his reforms endure.


“Argo” Essay on Public Radio

Wow! A blurb about my Iranian-experience essay tops the WUWM website news page today.
Essay: An ‘Argo’ Flashback
With ‘Argo’ poised to win Oscars, an essayist recounts her own Argo-like story.”
The essay airs today and again tomorrow at 3 p.m. on WUWM (89.7 FM and streamed on the radio station’s website — click on “Listen”)

My time in, and evacuation from, Iran was a catalyst to my career in journalism and eventually writing my book “Anatomy of a Trial”. (See previous “Great Leap” blog post.)

The Great Leap from Iran to O.J. Simpson

I wrote an essay about a former life — an Air Force wife with my family in Tehran, Iran, in 1978-79.

The essay was about memories the movie “Argo” evoked of our being in that country in the early stages of the Islamic Revolution and being evacuated with little more than the clothes we wore.

The essay is scheduled to air on Milwaukee’s public radio station, WUWM 89-7 FM, Saturday, Feb. 23, at 3 p.m. and again the next day– Sunday, Feb. 24– at the same time, on the station’s “Lake Effect” program. It will also be streamed online at (click on the red “Listen” button).

That experience triggered an epiphany that led me into the world of journalism in which I worked as a newspaper reporter and editor for more than 12 years before segueing to Los Angeles Superior Court when I spent another decade as court information officer and media liaison.

Those years were replete with high-profile trials, the first, the Rodney King-beating trial, opening two months after I joined the court. That was followed by the Menendez brothers I & II (the first ending in hung juries), Heidi Fleiss, O.J.Simpson and many more not quite as notorious.

Who would have ever thought that being evacuated from revolution-ruptured Iran would have led to me writing a book about the impact media coverage of a has-been star athlete’s trial on murder charges! Maybe I’ll come up with an essay about that.

Iranians just like us

Opened the Milwaukee Jounal Sentinel “Crossroadssection today to see a piece I had submitted to the opinion editor on Wednesday. Given the events of Friday and Saturday in Iran, I was thinking that perhaps my column had lost some of its timeliness, so was glad the JS editors decided to run it. Even though the demonstrations had met violence in the past couple of days, to me the underlying premise that the majority of Iranians are decent people who, like most people everywhere, want only the best for their families and their country remains true. Here’s the link to the “Crossroads” piece:


 Different time, different Iran

By Jerrianne Hayslett

Posted: Jun. 20, 2009

You might expect it to be déjà vu. But about the only similarities between the demonstrations and protests that marked the Islamic Revolution of 1979 and those of today is the location. Tehran, Iran.

(Link to “Tehran Diary” is

Tehran Diary

Hard to keep my mind on “Anatomy of a Trial” with all the turmoil in Iran. Given that I lived there 30 years ago during the run up to and beginning of the 1979 Islamic Revolution, I’m glued to the news of the current events. One thing I did do was dig out my story “Tehran Diary” which was the cover story of the April 1979 issue of The Times Magazine. Here’s the URL for anyone who’s interested in reading it: