April 18, 2021

Howard Weitzman, Defense Lawyer for the Famous, Dies at 81

Mr. Weitzman referred to his celebrity clients as “people of profile.” He said he believed that they suffered in the criminal justice system because judges liked to make an example of them. He made this point in 2007 while representing Paris Hilton, who was caught driving without her license, which had been suspended after a drunk-driving conviction.

She was sentenced to 45 days in jail.

An outraged Mr. Weitzman told reporters that the sentence should have been much lower. “It’s clear she was selectively prosecuted because of who she is,” he said. “Shame on the system and shame on the city attorney for bringing this case.”

The city attorney disputed Mr. Weitzman’s interpretation, saying the judge had simply shown that no one was above the law.

Howard Lloyd Weitzman was born on Sept. 21, 1939, in Los Angeles, where his parents, Wilfred and Billie Weitzman, ran a grocery store. Working there on occasion, he developed an ability to converse with a wide variety of people.

He studied at Los Angeles City College before transferring to the University of Southern California, from which he graduated in 1962 with a degree in physical education. He loved baseball and hoped to make a career of it, but when that didn’t materialize, a friend suggested he try law school.

He took the LSAT but didn’t score high enough to be admitted to U.S.C.’s law school, according to Southern California Super Lawyers. At that point, the magazine said, his baseball coach, Rod Dedeaux, called the dean of the law school, who found a spot for Mr. Weitzman. Mr. Weitzman received his degree in 1965 and began to practice criminal law.

He left his law practice in 1995 to work as vice president of corporate operations for Universal Studios. He worked there until being ousted in a management reshuffle.

Article source: https://www.nytimes.com/2021/04/11/us/howard-weitzman-dead.html

Social Media Etiquette Review

Additionally, remember that any message you share, even with close family members, will be amplified to your entire online community. (The tension may also be amplified around vaccines, health measures and the stress of a not-normal year.) If you are replying to your sister online about something, that doesn’t mean you can speak to her as harshly as you might privately. Ms. Gottsman advises taking a heated family debate offline.

“Don’t start a family feud on social media,” Ms. Gottsman said. “It can affect the next family holiday.”

If you are soliciting donations for a particular cause or charity, or asking for money to pay someone’s rent or medical bills with a GoFundMe campaign, recognize that the financial situations of many people have changed this past year and there may be many other appeals compared to times past. Skip shaming phrases, like “How can you not help this person?” Instead, Ms. Gottsman said, use ones like “If your heart moves you, I’m sharing this.”

Think less vigilance is needed, because your text group is small or your settings have been changed to private? Think again. When Heidi Cruz, the wife of Senator Ted Cruz of Texas, shared her family’s plans to flee a devastating winter storm in Texas for a vacation in Mexico, she texted only a small group of neighbors and friends. Screenshots of the messages ended up with journalists. Elaine Swann, an etiquette expert and founder of the School of Protocol in Carlsbad, Calif., points out that it wasn’t just one person who shared the chat with The New York Times; there were others who confirmed it.

“Even if you think it’s just your inner circle, there’s always somebody there who isn’t 100 percent on your team,” she said. “That’s the person who takes the screenshot before you delete whatever it is.”

Posting about food and fitness may be even more tempting than usual, given that a lot of people have changed what they eat and how much they exercise during the pandemic. But confine your commentary to how these lifestyle changes make you feel, not how they make you look. Among other things, not all people have had the luxury of more time to exercise during the pandemic — or if they did, they might not have had the energy to do so.

Dr. Lindsay Kite is a founder of Beauty Redefined, a nonprofit that promotes body image resilience, and an author of “More Than a Body.” She noted that your “before” photo — talking about how fat you look — may be someone else’s “after.”

Article source: https://www.nytimes.com/2021/04/10/at-home/social-media-etiquette-review.html

The Wall Street Journal’s Internal Audit

But reaching those people will be tough given “the lack of focus on diversity within our coverage,” according to the study.

The report found that over a three-month period, of the 108 lead stories it published “only one had race as the main topic.” It added: “None had gender as the main topic, and none had L.G.B.T.Q.-specific issues as the main topic of the story. As far as the protagonist of a story — many of our stories do not have human protagonists. But when they did, we found that 13 percent were people of color.”

A lack of digital expertise is an underlying problem, the report said. “We need editors to more actively take into account Google Trends and Google Suggestions in story assigning and encourage people to do so within their beats and columns,” it offered as an example.

The bulk of this section also outlined specific recommendations, such as improving “wellness coverage,” while discouraging “earnings” stories, a category that often “underperforms on page views.”

What The Journal should do, and what it shouldn’t.

The report laid out in stark terms how much more traffic and engagement each department will have to deliver to hit The Journal’s target of 100 million monthly readers. The report added that the paper needed to reach 55 million readers a month over the next year. Spread over its six main coverage areas — corporate, Washington, arts, finance, national, international — each department, it said, will “need to bring in about 1.9 million more nonsubscribers above where we were last Fall.”

What editors at The Journal need to know.

Article source: https://www.nytimes.com/2021/04/10/business/media/wall-street-journal-content-review.html

Inside the Fight for the Future of The Wall Street Journal

The Content Review has not been formally shared with the newsroom and its recommendations have not been put into effect, but it is influencing how people work: An impasse over the report has led to a divided newsroom, according to interviews with 25 current and former staff members. The company, they say, has avoided making the proposed changes because a brewing power struggle between Mr. Murray and the new publisher, Almar Latour, has contributed to a stalemate that threatens the future of The Journal.

Mr. Murray and Mr. Latour, 50, represent two extremes of the model Murdoch employee. Mr. Murray is the tactful editor; Mr. Latour is the brash entrepreneur. The two rose within the organization at roughly the same time. When the moment came to replace Gerry Baker as the top editor in 2018, both were seen as contenders.

The two men have never gotten along, according to people with knowledge of the matter. Or as an executive who knows both well put it, “They hate each other.” The digital strategy report has only heightened the strain in their relationship — and, with it, the direction of the crown jewel in the Murdoch news empire.

Their longstanding professional rivalry comes down to both personality and approach. Mr. Murray is more deliberative, while Mr. Latour is quick to act. But the core of their friction is still a mystery, according to people familiar with them.

Dow Jones, in a statement, disputed that characterization, saying there was no friction between the editor and publisher. It also cited “record profits and record subscriptions,” which it attributed to “the wisdom of its current strategy.” Both Mr. Murray and Mr. Latour declined to be interviewed for this article.

About a month after the report was submitted, Ms. Story’s strategy team was concerned that its work might never see the light of day, three people with knowledge of the matter said, and a draft was leaked to one of The Journal’s own media reporters, Jeffrey Trachtenberg. He filed a detailed article on it late last summer.

But the first glimpse that outside readers, and most of the staff, got of the document wasn’t in The Journal. In October, a pared-down version of The Content Review was leaked to BuzzFeed News, which included a link to the document as a sideways scan. (Staffers, eager to read the report, had to turn their heads 90 degrees.)

Article source: https://www.nytimes.com/2021/04/10/business/media/wall-street-journal-murdoch.html

For Him, the Delight Is in the Digging

She became a mentor, and Keefe began writing for The New York Review of Books, Slate and Legal Affairs. But he still wasn’t sure if he could be a full-time writer. He returned to Yale, finished his degree and in 2005 started studying for the New York bar exam. In the process, he became fascinated by the trial of Sister Ping, a woman accused of smuggling in Chinatown. Once again, he pitched The New Yorker. This time, Daniel Zalewski, the features director, said yes.

“There is, I think, a prosecutorial zeal to his work,” Zalewski said. He has been Keefe’s primary editor ever since.

“When he walks in my office door and begins to tell me something he’s excited about, it’s incredibly infectious,” Zalewski added. “He kind of chuckles to himself constantly, not because he’s self-impressed but because the story is delighting him so much.”

Still, Keefe juggled writing and other jobs, including at the progressive think tank the Century Foundation and the Pentagon, before he was hired full-time at The New Yorker in 2012. Those experiences helped his reporting, he said. “I love legal documents, probably more than the next reporter.”

Law school also “demystified the law for me a little bit. So when I get a threatening legal letter, I’m not as easily terrified,” he said. Even before he began working on “Empire of Pain,” he received such letters from a lawyer for the Sacklers.

The pressure made him more determined to finish the book, he said. But he knows its ending may be unrewarding for readers. There’s no neat conclusion. Litigation over the opioid crisis is still ongoing, and Purdue Pharma filed for bankruptcy protection in 2019. But for Keefe, his book is a step.

“The small thing that I can do is tell the story that is hopefully rigorous and compelling and creates a record for people who want to know what really happened,” he said. “And a kind of record that the family, as much as they might try, cannot really expunge. That’s not the accountability anybody wants, but it’s not nothing.”

Article source: https://www.nytimes.com/2021/04/08/books/patrick-radden-keefe-empire-of-pain.html

Covid Victims Remembered Through Their Objects

The photographs and personal stories, published digitally as an interactive feature, was designed by Umi Syam and titled “What Loss Looks Like.” Among the stories we uncovered: A ceremonial wedding lasso acts as a symbol of the unbreakable bond between a mother and father, both lost to Covid-19 and mourned by their children. A ceramic zebra figurine reminds one woman of her best friend, who died after they said a final goodbye. A gold bracelet that belonged to a father never leaves his daughter’s wrist because she is desperate for any connection to his memory.

For those who are left behind, these items are tangible daily reminders of those who have departed. These possessions hold a space and tell a story. Spend time with them and you begin to feel the weight of their importance, the impact and memory of what they represent.

Museums have long showcased artifacts as a connection to the past. So has The New York Times, which published a photo essay in 2015 of objects collected from the World Trade Center and surrounding area on 9/11. As we launched this project, we heard from several artists who, in their own work, explored the connection between objects and loss.

Shortly after Hurricane Sandy, Elisabeth Smolarz, an artist in Queens, began working on “The Encyclopedia of Things,” which examines loss and trauma through personal objects. Kija Lucas, a San Francisco-based artist, has been photographing artifacts for the past seven years, displaying her work in her project “The Museum of Sentimental Taxonomy.”

Article source: https://www.nytimes.com/2021/04/06/insider/covid-grief-loss.html

‘A Sense of Belonging’ for Hispanic Children, With Puppets

But only 4.5 percent of all speaking characters across 1,200 top-grossing films from 2007 to 2018 were Latino, according to a 2019 study by the University of Southern California Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism.

Broadcasters have occasionally tried to reach young Hispanic audiences, often with cartoon programming like Nickelodeon’s “Dora the Explorer,” about the adventures of a young animated Latina and her friends. In 2016, the Disney Channel introduced “Elena of Avalor,” an animated series praised for featuring Disney’s first Latina princess. Univision has “Planeta U” a Saturday programming block of animated and educational programs aimed at children ages 2 to 8.

And for decades, “Sesame Street” has featured Rosita, a blue bilingual puppet from Mexico.

“Club Mundo Kids,” in contrast, puts real people in front of the camera, including a host, children and guest experts, and makes a point of talking to children ages 6 and up about Latino life in a real-world context.

“It’s a real opportunity to meet Spanish-speaking kids where they are and to help them build language and reading skills, like ‘Sesame Street’ and ‘Reading Rainbow’ has been doing for decades in English,’’ said Jason Ruiz, an associate professor of American studies at the University of Notre Dame.

He added that the show, possibly alone among programs for children, “will be symbolically important for giving Spanish-dominant kids a sense of belonging by having a show aimed directly at them.”

Article source: https://www.nytimes.com/2021/04/06/arts/television/mundo-kids-hispanic-tv.html

Tribune Publishing Considers New Offer From Surprise Bidders

After considering the bid from Mr. Bainum last month, Tribune said it still favored the agreement with Alden, which had solid financing. At the same time, the board informed Mr. Bainum that he was free to find backers to make his offer more attractive. He did just that by joining with Mr. Wyss.

Journalists in Tribune newsrooms have been sharply critical of Alden, which already owns roughly 32 percent of the company, as a potential owner. Alden is the proprietor of some 60 daily newspapers across the country through MediaNews Group and is known for making deep cuts at publications it controls as it tries to wring profits out of struggling companies. Alden says its strategy keeps newspapers from going out of business.

In an interview last month, Mr. Wyss, 85, said he was partly inspired to join Mr. Bainum by a Times opinion essay in which two then-Chicago Tribune reporters, David Jackson and Gary Marx, warned that Alden would create “a ghost version of The Chicago Tribune.” Tribune journalists at other papers have led campaigns to persuade local benefactors to buy Tribune Publishing or at least one of its papers.

Mr. Wyss, the former chief executive of the medical device company Synthes, has a home in Wyoming. A decade ago, he led the sale of Synthes to Johnson Johnson for roughly $20 billion. Since then, he has donated hundreds of millions of dollars to help preserve wildlife habitats in Wyoming, Montana, Maine and elsewhere. He has also been a major donor to liberal groups seeking to shape American politics, including the Center for American Progress, where he serves on the board.

Mr. Wyss said in the interview with The Times last month that he had joined the effort to buy Tribune because of his belief in the need for a robust press. “I don’t want to see another newspaper that has a chance to increase the amount of truth being told to the American people going down the drain,” he said.

Article source: https://www.nytimes.com/2021/04/05/business/media/tribune-publishing-newspapers-alden.html

New York Times Names James Dao Metro Editor

In 2016 Mr. Dao joined the opinion department, which is run separately from the newsroom, as the Op-Ed editor. In June, the section’s top editor, James Bennet, resigned amid internal and external criticism of a Times essay by Senator Tom Cotton, Republican of Arkansas, that called for troops to be deployed in response to civil unrest. Mr. Dao stepped down from his position, and The Times reassigned him, making him an editor on the national desk.

Mr. Dao takes over metro coverage from Clifford J. Levy, who led the department from 2018 until January, when The Times announced that he would spend some time advising the audio department as a deputy managing editor, one of the highest newsroom positions at the paper.

Mr. Dao steps into the new job as a number of candidates are promoting themselves in advance of the Nov. 2 vote that will determine the successor to Mayor Bill de Blasio of New York City. He also takes the job at a time of flux within The Times. High-level editors have lately gotten promotions as Mr. Baquet, 64, approaches the paper’s traditional retirement age of 66 for top leaders.

Carolyn Ryan, who oversees recruitment and strategy at The Times, was promoted to deputy managing editor in October. Marc Lacey, the former national desk editor, joined the newsroom leadership team as the editor in charge of live coverage in December. Rebecca Blumenstein was promoted in February to a newly created role as a deputy editor working directly with the publisher, A. G. Sulzberger.

The Times has also promoted rising stars recently. Jia Lynn Yang, a deputy editor on the national desk, was appointed national editor in February. Ms. Yang, the author of the 2020 book “One Mighty and Irresistible Tide: The Epic Struggle Over American Immigration, 1924-1965,” coordinated the national department’s collaborations with the politics team for the paper’s coverage of the 2018 midterm elections and the 2020 presidential campaign.

Article source: https://www.nytimes.com/2021/04/05/business/media/new-york-times-james-dao.html

The Lawyer Behind the Throne at Fox

Mr. Dinh, who declined through the company spokeswoman to be interviewed, is a surprising figure to play a central role overseeing the most powerful megaphone of the Trump movement. He’s part of the tight, elite group of conservative lawyers who largely disliked Donald J. Trump’s bombast and disdain for the law — he is said to regularly deride the former president in private — though they appreciated his judicial appointments and some other policies. And Mr. Dinh isn’t just a member of that group, but a true star of it. A refugee from Vietnam who arrived at the age of 10, he once told VietLife magazine that he worked jobs including “cleaning toilets, busing tables, pumping gas, picking berries, fixing cars” to help his family make ends meet. He attended Harvard and Harvard Law School. As a student, he wrote a powerful Times Op-Ed about Vietnamese refugees — including his sister and nephew — stranded in Hong Kong. The piece helped win them refugee status, and eventually allowed them to immigrate to the United States.

Mr. Dinh arrived with the conservative politics of many refugees from Communism, and followed a pipeline from a Supreme Court clerkship with Sandra Day O’Connor to a role in the congressional investigations of Bill Clinton in the 1990s.

He was assistant attorney general for legal policy on 9/11, and he was “the fifth likeliest person” to wind up quarterbacking what would become the Patriot Act, said his old friend and colleague Paul Clement, who currently represents Fox in defamation lawsuits brought by two election technology companies. Mr. Dinh “led the effort to pull it all together, package it, present it to the Hill and get it passed,” said a former Bush White House homeland security adviser, Ken Wainstein. The package of legislation transformed the American security state, vastly expanding domestic surveillance and law enforcement powers. It allowed the F.B.I. to conduct secret and intrusive investigations of people and groups swept in by an expanded definition of terrorism.

Mr. Dinh was often mentioned at the time as a brilliant young lawyer who could easily wind up the first Asian-American on the Supreme Court. He was also notably image-conscious, and “worked the media like crazy,” recalled Jill Abramson, a former Times Washington bureau chief and later executive editor. He’s also a master Washington networker whose relationships cross party lines. His best college friend is a Democratic former U.S. attorney, Preet Bharara. Through the pandemic, Mr. Dinh left chipper comments on other lawyers’ job announcements on LinkedIn.

Article source: https://www.nytimes.com/2021/04/04/business/media/fox-news-viet-dinh.html