May 31 — David Westin on the Television News Business with Willow Bay

Thursday, May 31, 2012
7:45am  Continental Breakfast
8:15-9:15am  Forum

David Westin, President & CEO, NewsRight;
and former President, ABC News

in conversation with Willow Bay,
Senior Editor, The Huffington Post

Inside the Television News Business

The City Club on Bunker Hill
333 S. Grand Avenue, 54th Floor
Los Angeles, CA 90071

PURCHASE TICKETS: $20 includes breakfast, $40 also includes Westin’s book

David Westin in the news...
— Wall Street Journal, May 22, Channeling the News
 Marketplace, May 22On the state of the news today
 Leonard Lopate Show on WNYC, May 23, David Westin on his time at ABC News
David Westin is President and CEO of NewsRight, an online content-tracking and licensing company. The company tracks original content using encoded hidden data which sends back to the registry information on where the content is being used.  He is the former president of ABC News (from March 6, 1997 through December 3, 2010). He was responsible for all aspects of ABC News’ television broadcasts, including World News with Diane SawyerNightlineGood Morning America20/20PrimetimeThis Week with Christiane Amanpour, and World News Now, and ABC News Radio. During his tenure, ABC News received eleven George Foster Peabody Awards, 13 Alfred I DuPont Awards, five George Polk Awards, more than 40 News and Documentary Emmys, and more than 40 Edward R. Murrow Awards.

In March 1997, when David Westin became president of ABC News, TV journalism was in the throes of rebirth: cable networks were proliferating, the Internet was emerging as a viable medium for journalists, and the Big Three were losing the cultural dominance they’d known for decades. More intriguingly, post–cold war America was enjoying an era of peace and prosperity. “It looked like all the really important news was behind us,” Westin writes.

It wasn’t, of course, and for the next thirteen years he presided over ABC News for some of the most important, thrilling, fraught, and perplexing events in its history. Exit Interview is a behind-the-scenes look at his tenure and the major news that marked it. Neither an apologia nor a critique, the book instead addresses basic questions about journalists today—what they do and why they do it—from the point of view of someone who was there.

With touchstones from the recent past—President Clinton’s impeachment, the contentious 2000 election, and the war in Iraq, among others—Westin takes us inside the chaos of the newsroom, where what looks clear and certain from the outside is often mired in conflict and urgency. From his baptism by fire after Princess Diana’s death to the epochal events of 9/11, he explores the uncertainty inherent to his job, and its central question: Is it possible for journalists to be both good at their jobs and people of good moral character?

Willow Bay is a television journalist and author. She is a senior editor at The Huffington Post.  Bay also serves as a special correspondent for Bloomberg Television. Based in Los Angeles, Bay has reported from numerous special events for Bloomberg TV and interviewed top business leaders including Pepsi Chairman and CEO Indra Nooyi, Tesla Motors CEO Elon Musk, economist Nouriel Roubini, former Bear Stearns CEO Alan Schwartz and Kenneth Feinberg, administrator of BP’s $20 million compensation fund.

Prior to joining the Huffington Post, Bay was an executive producer and host of Lifetime Television’s “Spotlight 25,” a multi-platform research initiative and television special. During that time, Bay  also served as an anchor and freelance reporter for NBC News and MSNBC.

From 1998 to 2003, Bay held a variety of  business reporting roles at CNN. She anchored CNN’s financial news program “Moneyline News Hour” and the news programs, “Business Unusual” and “Pinnacle,” which profiled the personalities and companies behind business news headlines. In addition, Bay has anchored CNN’s “NewsStand” and co-anchored for CNN & Entertainment Weekly and CNN & Fortune.

Earlier in her career, Bay served as a co-anchor of ABC’s “Good Morning America” Sunday edition for four years. She was also a correspondent for ABC’s “World News Saturday” and “World News Sunday.”

She is the author of, “Talking to Your Kids in Tough Times: How to Answer Your Child’s Questions about the World We Live In.”  She graduated cum laude from the University of Pennsylvania with a B.A. in literature and received a master’s degree from New York University’s Stern School of Business.

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