Wednesday, September 19, 2007
Booking the O.J. case
O.J. Simpson appears in a Las Vegas, Nevada, courtroom for a bail hearing Wednesday.
When word spread Sunday evening of OJ Simpson's arrest, I knew that the demand for people to talk about him would be high. This creates a challenge for us, the "360" guest producers, as we are always trying to get that unique interview, the first interview, the exclusive. Immediately, our team began putting out calls to anyone who was quoted in newspapers and wires as well as the Goldman and Brown families.

I'm often asked, "How do you find your guests?" Well, here's a little insight into the life of a guest producer, also known as a booker. I keep every number of every guest I have booked in a file in my computer that is separated by subject and is alphabetical. So it's easy to call someone I've booked in the past, such as Denise Brown, as soon as a story like this breaks.

There is also a database within CNN that keeps a record of who was on TV in the past. It goes back 12 years. This has helped, but many of the previous players in the case have moved on and their contact info from 1995 is outdated. So that leads to a process of trying to find out where they live and work now, and thus I have become a master at Internet search.

We also receive numerous calls and emails from publicists touting their "OJ expert." While some of them have proved helpful, most of the "experts" know very little about the case outside of what has been reported.

We have been able to find some of the people involved in the previous cases, including someone Anderson interviewed Monday night: Daniel Petrocelli, Fred Goldman's attorney in the civil case against Simpson. Also, one of the best assets CNN has is our own Jeffrey Toobin, who wrote the NY Times bestseller "The Run of His Life: The People v. O.J. Simpson." You'll see Jeff on the show tonight giving us his insights into today's arraignment.

(A note -- you may have heard Simpson's attorneys complaining today in Las Vegas that a number of attorneys have been falsely claiming they represent Mr. Simpson. They were especially upset that some news organizations -- including our competitors -- had put these attorneys on the air and allowed them to talk as "knowledgeable insiders" about the case, when in fact, they were not. A large part of our job is to "vet" our guests. We need to be sure people are really who they say they are. We have not aired any of these poseurs.)

Another thing we do is send a booker to the story, so our Deb Huberman is out in Las Vegas trying to make contact with the parties involved. In my experience, it's the face-to-face meetings that get the best results, so I'm sure by tonight's show, you'll see the fruit of Deb's work. And now I'm off to find Anderson's next great interview.

-- By Kay Jones, Editorial Producer
Posted By CNN: 12:56 PM ET
Hi Kay, your job sounds interesting. Thank you for sharing that part of your job.

You probably heard of the negative comments from viewers about the OJ story being covered by Anderson’s show for a full 2 hours (Monday and Tuesday's shows). I appreciate your ability to get interviews with the right people, but can we please limit the OJ story for a short time, say, 15 minutes? There are other news happening in the world and other interviews to be had. If every other news organization is trying to get interviews with OJ or anyone associated with his story, doesn't that mean that everyone else who has an interesting or important story to tell is now available for an interview? How about getting interviews from those people?

Thanks for listening,

Edmonds, Washington
Posted By Lilibeth, Edmonds, Washington : 1:20 PM ET
Your true challenge would have been differentiating AC-360 by staying away from this story!
Posted By Anonymous : 1:30 PM ET
Thanks for the insight! But I wish you didn't do such a good job! Some of these people I'd rather not hear anything from! LOL

I KNEW we'd get way more OJ tonight! Atleast we are going to get Toobin again! I LOVE his snarkiness!! He is the only bright spot in this weeks dismal shows!SORRY COOP!! Atleast I can count on him for some laughs!! LOL

Cynthia, Covington, Ga.
Posted By Cindy : 1:32 PM ET
I think that OJ Simpson should go to jail where he was set up or not for what he did years ago.

If they let OJ Simpson out of this, , What were they thinking? after all this time, I still feel sorry for the Goldman's family and Brown's family they have to live with OJ Simpson in back of their minds everyday of their lives. I know that people gets tired of hearing about OJ Simpson, but the bad news has to be reported as well as other news.

I wish they would take the key and throw it away he's has enough charges against him to keep him there for a very long time. If they just don't let him sliped though the cracks. Would suit me if he never gets out - he should have been in prison years ago for killing 2 people.

Jennifer, Anderson, South Carolina
Posted By bluediamond (Jennifer) : 1:33 PM ET
Sorry typo.

Please for God's sake make it stop. Enough already. Move on.

Please stop promoting Toobin's book, it's also blood money. He has said some pretty bizarre things the last few months on 360 and I wouldn't buy any book he wrote. How does he sleep at night?

Why are you doing this? Anderson you're supposed to be above this. I'm just so disappointed in you. Is this really what you want to be doing? Where you want your career to be? This is your bliss?

I used to think you were cool but you've gone to the dark side of celebrity. How can you even call yourself a journalist after this?
Posted By Anonymous : 1:36 PM ET
Hi Kay,
Does this mean that OJ is going to be CNN's big ticket item for yet another night? Oh well, that's life..I guess we can all sleep well tonight knowing the "facts" of the Great Vegas Heist of the Century.
Wake me when it's over....
Posted By Lorie Ann, Buellton, Calif. : 1:41 PM ET

Thanks for that background info about how you guys actually go about finding the people you talk to on the show...I'm a little bit weird in that I wonder how things like that work, so that was actually interesting to me. I am less interested in what happens to OJ. Please, please, tell me we won't have to have another hour of AC 360 talking about OJ tonight!! (then again, I AM getting a lot of reading done during that extra hour I'm not watching the OJ saga, so it's not a complete loss!)
Posted By Amanda : 1:54 PM ET
Hello Kay,

Sounds to me like you have a fascinating job! As someone who greatly enjoys research of any kind, I can imagine the challenges that you face on a daily basis.

Frankly I have been frustrated by the fact that Anderson and 360 have had to cover this type of story, however knowing what you all go through to get the facts and his interview subjects helps me appreciate the subject matter a little more. Thanks for sharing.

Hope Anderson is feeling better. Please thank him for me - I am now also doped up on TheraFlu and am a better person for it. LOL. Appreciated his recommendation.
Posted By Pati McMillan, Camp Hill, PA : 2:02 PM ET
Humm, humm... I hate to repeat myself, but.... can you report on other (more important and interesting) news? It seems to me all the comments on your previous OJ post agreed with me, so, why do you keep at this? Should AC360 be renamed TG360 (tabloid gossip 360)? Seriously, when you guys want, you can do great (New Orleans, Iraq live reports, Planet in peril, ...). So what gives? I am starting to think you despise your viewers and take them for idiots... well, do you?
Posted By French in Houston : 2:04 PM ET
I'm sure you have an interesting and challenging job. However, AC360 has gone way overboard with the 2 full hours of OJ coverage, and I won't watch any more. Please convince your bosses to move on, so you can use your talents on a NEWS story!
Posted By Larissa, Torrance CA : 2:19 PM ET
Stop the madness already! From 8 p.m. until 11 p.m. CNN ran continuous O.J. programming, with at most ten minutes of reliable news on other issues.

You "legal expert" Jeffrey Toobin is so biased that O.J. was indeed guilty of murdering his ex-wife and Ron Goldman, he fails to contribute reasonable explanations such as, the money O.J. may have received for autographing items while being in jail may have helped paid for Robert Shapiro and the legal fees of the "Dream Team". These were debts O.J. incurred prior to the civil suit from the Browns and Goldmans.

And, the "Mike" Anderson interviewed, who claimed to visit O.J. in prison nearly every day in order to get items autographed, was not doing this out of the kindness of his heart. He knew he would be making a substantial profit, which would have increased ten-fold had O.J. been convicted of murder. Funny how nobody kept him honest!

Please, we'll all need to self-medicate ourselves if this story receives more time than it's worth.
Posted By Jan from Wood Dale, IL : 2:19 PM ET
Why bother looking Kay, if you are looking for Anderson's next great interview, you will not find it with the OJ case. This is the worse story 360 has done this year and that is saying alot since there have been some bad ones this year. It is amazing how Anderson can have some amazing interviews and then have some not great ones.

Good luck in your search I guess!
Posted By Megan O. Toronto, ON, Canada : 2:20 PM ET
I have to say that I didn't watch Anderson 360 last night because of all the OJ coverage. I flipped back to CNN several times between 9:00-10:30 and then I just gave up. Give it a rest! This country is suffering because of the celebrity news. Do you think the news media's obsession with OJ is making Americans any smarter? The answer is absolutely not! We're obsessed with stupid celebrity gossip. Please report on international news so Americans won't think we're the only ones that exist on the planet. I didn't catch one segment on the Blackwater incident in Iraq. That would have kept me tuned in for a little while last night. I was very disappointed. Leave the celebrity news to Entertainment Tonight and report on the real news. Isn't that what CNN was founded on? News! And what celebrities do is NOT news!! Please I’m so tired of OJ and I can tell by the blog I’m not the only one. I would challenge Anderson Cooper to tell his viewers why the OJ coverage is so important to America. How does keeping us informed on the speculation and B.S. help us?
Posted By Anonymous : 2:44 PM ET
Please let us know when you are finished with OJ so I can go back to watching 360 again. This wall to wall coverage is very disappointing.
Posted By Barbara, Culver City, CA : 2:48 PM ET
I really wonder how many people are truly interested in being bombarded with the details of OJ's arrest! There was absolutely nothing else being reported on last evening when I finally sat down to watch the news. I flipped up and down to find other topics of interest but apparently the media felt we were dying to learn and hear all about OJ's latest trouble. It's what the media finds important; not the public desire for this non stop coverage of nonsense...let's stick to important matters!
Posted By Anonymous : 2:50 PM ET
Hi Kay:

Thanks for the insight on your job. It sounds exciting!

However, I hope that 360 does more than just follow OJ's trail.
Posted By Anonymous : 3:05 PM ET
i second the comment from Barbara of Culver City...after seeing your show page promising other stories I tuned in last night to find nothing but OJ again. Fool me once...
Posted By Anonymous : 3:08 PM ET
Is the war over? I can't believe you wasted another show on the Simpson circus, and then your producer wasted a blog post on it! Does she really think that a description of how she does her job is more important than what is happening in the war, Alan Greenspan's new book, the appointment of Attorney General Mukasey, or the Blackwater shooting over the weekend?

By the way, are you aware that the Senate is discussing the Time Out-Of-Combat Amendment on C-Span2 this afternoon or have you been too busy waiting to get a shot of OJ leaving the courthouse?

When 360 is good it is very good, but when it is bad….

Jo Ann
Posted By Jo Ann Matese, North Royalton, Ohio : 3:28 PM ET
It's a sad day when we're to choose between 360 and Fox - and Fox wins out because they don't have as much OJ coverage. Please leave the celebrity stories to those who make a living at it - and let Anderson, Larry King, and the others do what they do best.

I know my household will turn the channel back to CNN if this happens, until then it's the big 3 networks or MSNBC/Fox. Sorry.

A Former Loyal CNN Viewer
Posted By Stephanie, Portland, OR : 3:29 PM ET
I could watch this show 24/7 if Anderson showed more of his wonderful humor like he did when mentioning the attire choices of Thomas Riccio. We're still LOL at that one.
Posted By Christine : 3:41 PM ET
Hi Kay. I appreciate the interesting and informative blog post, but please, please stop with the OJ coverage. This is worse than the Paris Hilton nonsense. Exactly how low is 360 going to stoop? I just turned on CNN for a second and they've got a camera on OJ driving from the jail. Have you people lost your minds?
Posted By Stacy, St. Louis, MO : 3:42 PM ET
OJ and all of his buddies must be falling on the floor laughing at all of you. This coverage has gone from annoying to ridiculous. The charges will be thrown out or, if it goes to trial, he will be acquitted AGAIN because this is a media circus AGAIN. All of the players in this never-ending saga are nuts and they do not need any more time on TV.

Remember how viewers loved it when Mika on MSNBC tore up the story about Paris Hilton and said it was crap? Why don't you follow her lead? You would get overwhelming mail applauding your choice!
Posted By Carol, California : 3:44 PM ET
News Plzzzz............
Posted By Ceeba : 3:46 PM ET
I haven't watched AC360 the past 2 nights and doesn't look like I will be watching tonight. Why is the media making such a big deal about OJ. The breaking headline right now on CNN's home page is OJ is out on bail, big deal!!! If you read all the negative comments on this blog as well as other blogs one can only come to the conclusion that the vast majority of people are sick of the OJ coverage and do not find it newsworthy, so Please 360, get off this story and move on to something else, your viewers just aren't interested.
Posted By B. Franklin Fayetteville, TN : 3:52 PM ET
I just had heard that OJ Simpson is out of jail. What was the judge thinking? he was released from jail on bail $125.000. He still have alot of charges against him. He may still end up going to prison for a very long time.

So that doesn't mean he's not out for good.

Jennifer, Anderson, South Carolina.
Posted By bluediamond (Jennifer) : 3:59 PM ET
I just had heard that OJ Simpson is out of jail. What was the judge thinking? he was released from jail on bail $125.000. He still have alot of charges against him. He may still end up going to prison for a very long time.

So that doesn't mean he's not out for good.

Jennifer, Anderson, South Carolina.
Posted By bluediamond (Jennifer) : 4:01 PM ET
Joyce, New Jersey

I sincerely hope that CNN - meaning Larry and Anderson will not do the OJ again. I'm sorry, but between them doing Brittany, K-Fed, and all the other celebs who are so ding-dong needy, now we're back to OJ. If you want to do me and the public who enjoy (used to until you decided to go the entertainment news route) CNN, give OJ a gift certificate for unlimited therapy sessions - apparently he has some serious issues! NO MORE Goldman family, no more OJ. In short - NO MORE. Let's hear some really important news - Iraq and our kids fighting and losing their lives.
Posted By Anonymous : 4:06 PM ET
Another night of mind numbing OJ lovely. When you start reporting real news again, please let us know. 360 viewers are pretty intelligent and don't deserve the insult of the garbage you've been running on the show this week. And Mr. Cooper, where are your professional ethics that you let your name be associated with this garbage?
Posted By Tammy C., Berwick, LA : 4:16 PM ET
Maybe the only way to get through 360s OJ saturation coverage is to get all doped up on Theraflu like Anderson.
Posted By Fay, Vacaville, CA : 4:23 PM ET
Hi Kay. You book some interesting experts most of the the time.I bet there's also a lot of attorney/expert poseurs for the Menendez brothers and Charles Manson clamoring for attention. Hopefully, Simpson will at least serve some time.
Posted By Carol B., Frederick, MD : 4:29 PM ET
Hello to everyone at 360,

Please know that I am a big fan of CNN, but I'm truly perplexed about the amount of CNN broadcasting time that is being allocated to OJ Simpson's lastest bad decision!

Why does CNN think people want their limited time taken up with him or any other so called celebrity. Sure, I can see giving them a few minutes, but you're supposed to be National and Global NEWS, you're CNN, remember???

I've started watching the BBC news just to keep up on World News since CNN is taking up valuable time reporting on celebrities.

Please don't fall into the same hole as most other news agencies. People expect more from CNN, which means we want you to keep us informed on "the important issues". We can read the tabloids or watch celebrity news if we want to keep up on celebrities or used-to-be celebrities and their associated woes.
Posted By Phyllis, Illinois : 4:40 PM ET
Never have so many labored so long and hard over something so ultimately meaningless. You might as well just play computer solitaire all day.
Posted By Arachnae, Sterling VA : 6:23 PM ET
Wow, thanks for sharing your day with us. It sounds like a forever changing, fast moving cog in the wheel of 360! I'm not a fan of OJ's but most of the stories have been interesting and I always like hearing what Jeffery Toobin has to say. Thanks again.
Posted By Kathy Chicago,Il : 7:02 PM ET
Yeah, I complain about the crappy parts of my job in a blog too.

Oh, was that not the point?


You do a difficult job very well. However, on the OJ case you could book God and we wouldn't be interested. Please move on to other news - there is a tropical storm off the Gulf Coast, the McCann case that 360 has promised since Monday, the Jeffs trial, the appointment of a replacement for Gonzales, and acres more news.

OJ just isn't relevant to us. Can we report on some news with good interviews that is??

Annie Kate
Birmingham, AL
Posted By Annie Kate : 8:57 PM ET
Nothing happens Las Vagas that is not video taped. Where is the video of O.J. in that room? In the government's hands?
Posted By Anonymous : 10:23 PM ET
Every minute you spend talking about OJ Simpson, you loose a little bit of credibility, Anderson. You have established a strong reputation and following based on investigative reporting with a social and moral conscience. You can raise above the rest now and be selective.
Please spare us. We do not care about OJ Simpson.
Herve Muller
Posted By Herve Muller : 11:24 PM ET
How is the spot light just on O.J only? What does Kim Goldman has to do with O.J life up to now? Is he been arrest for something that the law already taken care of few years ago?
Posted By Anonymous : 12:10 AM ET
To whom it may concern:

I don’t understand the various news organizations in the U.S. A. So much time is spent reporting on the weather, on OJ, Britney Spears, Paris Hilton, or alligators in someone’s back yard.

Almost as much time is spent reporting on more important things like Iraq, Afghanistan, or Iran, which are important to me, but other things are just as important to me and most of the people I know. These other important things aren’t discussed, or at best given very little mention if any by the major news organizations. Our news has become more like the tabloids and the flavor of the day. I want to know more, I don’t want to hear about OJ, or Paris or even a monkey holding a dove.

The things that really interest, bother, and concern me:

1. What is being done to fix our failing infrastructures, bridges, power grids, dams, and levies?

2. Is the lead paint in toys from China also in our other everyday items like dishes, tools, pens, computer key pads, etc. etc.?

3. Why are the companies that moved U.S. jobs to China for cheaper labor, unenforced work and environmental standards blaming China for there problems?

a. Why are Mexican truck drivers allowed free access to American Highways?
b. Why aren’t they checked?
c .Will this not drive down already stagnate wages?
d. Will this make the roads unsafe?
e. Will there be background checks and by whom?
f. Will this create a backdoor for coyotes and drug smugglers?
g. Is this a way for companies to in-sorce cheep labor?

5. Why do elected officials in Washington want to provide Welfare to illegal immigrants while U.S taxpayers are going bankrupt trying to pay medical bills?

6. Illegal workers sending money outside this country estimated in the millions each month contributing to the deficit. Dose anyone in the News Media ever stand in line at the post office to see this happen each and everyday?

7. Illegal immigrants demanding the same rites as legal citizens.

8. Why do Politicians feel the need to create more visas when the thousands given out each year are never checked when they expire? No one knows or checks to see what happens to the people given the temp visas or if they ever leave.

9. It’s been reported that the Government is the largest employer of illegal immigrants, what is being done to fix this.

10. Why am I having trouble finding a job that pays as much as I made in 1984? Then I only had a high school education and now I have two college degrees.

11. The Comprehensive immigration bill was shot down by the American people. What is the DREAM and STRIVE bill?

a. We have a report each day on the number of causalities in the war, why not do the same with the American Deficit?
b. The number of jobs that have left this country?
c. The number of days that have passed since a politician said they would fix healthcare?
d. The number of days passed since a politician said they would fix Social Security?

13. What the heck is wrong with the Government bargaining with drug companies on prices?

14. What the heck is wrong with Canadian drugs and my right to purchase them?

15. Lobbyists are representing special interest drug companies, illegal aliens and manufactures, but who is representing the American people?

16. Border Patrol agents Ignacio Ramos and Jose Compean, why are they in jail, and not the twice caught drug dealer? What is going on here to fix this?

17. Products that enter the U.S. by law are required to be labeled with country of origin, why is this not being done?

18. Why doesn’t the news media stand up and compare the U.S.A immigration policies with other countries like Mexico, France, Australia or any other country to show how easy it really is to become a legal citizen?

19. Statements from Politicians “Let the private sector manage healthcare”, I say they had there shot now let’s fix it. Seventy five dollars for an aspirin while in a hospital is crazy?

These areas of concern are not listed in order of importance or a complete list. These are some of the things that matter to this country. These are some of the things that matter to me. Watching O.J., Paris Hilton, and alligator stuff over and over is tabloid junk. Please can we now get back to what matters, because today it seems the news died. If you need help or ideas of just what to report or investigate on please feel free to ask anytime.
Posted By Gene : 12:43 AM ET
I'm puzzled that you and Toobin seem puzzled that Simpson is being prosecuted. It's a gun crime Anderson. And the gun-wielders acted to support Simpson's taking of property-- he didn't shut it down and leave when the guns came out, did he? As for the victims not being model citizens, crime victims often aren't. And even if the unlikely story that the property was stolen from Simpson a decade ago were true, bringing an armed gang to seize it in a public place is obviously dangerous and unlawful. Even the gun lobby is okay with prosecuting gun crimes-- why aren't you?
Posted By David from McLean VA : 1:20 AM ET
I have been trying to figure out why and I think I realize you are trying to keep our mind off the ball so we won't REALLY know what is going on in the world. It is too bad you are wasting your talent on trivia - you DO have talent, don't you?
Posted By Anonymous : 2:11 PM ET
I have been trying to figure out why and I think I realize you are trying to keep our mind off the ball so we won't REALLY know what is going on in the world. It is too bad you are wasting your talent on trivia - you DO have talent, don't you?
Posted By Anonymous : 2:11 PM ET
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