Sunday, December 05, 2010

Killing Reveals Truths of Life at Limelight’s Edge

Ed here: The difference between tabloid reporting (and I include everything I've seen on TV about Ronni Chasen up to now) and real reporting is the difference between urine and apple cider. They look similar when you hold them up to the light but if you know what you're looking at, you won't be fooled. Like many people I've been following the Ronni Chasen murder case but not until I read this article did I realize just how downright inept all the other stories about her really were. She was, according to the press reports since day one,, super-rich, super-popwerful and the belle of any ball she attended. I guess not.

December 4, 2010
Killing Reveals Truths of Life at Limelight’s Edge
LOS ANGELES — Ronni Chasen could be loud. And she pushed.

At an event like the Governors Awards of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, one of the last show business soirées she attended before her murder on Nov. 16, Ms. Chasen sent reporters skittering for shelter as she scanned the room for targets of opportunity — people to introduce to clients like the film composer Hans Zimmer and the soundtrack expert Diane Warren.

At 64, Ms. Chasen was fighting to keep her place in a Hollywood public relations game that had mostly gone to firms bigger than her boutique Chasen and Company, or to players who were younger.

Assumptions of a pampered Hollywood life have shifted since she was killed last month, shot repeatedly while driving home from a movie premiere. The unsolved killing is pulling back the veil on a person who, like many in the show business capital, focused on holding onto a steadily eroding modicum of glamour.

Dismissing impressions of privilege, her longtime friend Martha Smilgis said: “Ronni was not a Jewish princess. She was a Jewish businesswoman.”

The distinction was Ms. Smilgis’s way of sorting through a bewildering thicket of facts that have begun to surface as both friends and investigators come to terms with the shooting of a woman who was hardly the most important in Hollywood but had become one of its best-known stock characters.

Ms. Chasen operated a modest public relations firm with the sort of clients who might be expected to pay fees of only a few thousand dollars a month — not much when measured against the need to pay salaries for her staff of four and the demands of a Hollywood life.

for the rest go here:


Tony Renner said...

I was shocked by the sensationalist reporting that NPR did on the Chasen shooting.

Matt Paust said...

One of the biggest age-old problems in reporting news is finding the story layers. Reporters in the "first responder" role grab whatever facts and color they can publish in a short time frame, with the primary intent being to beat any other news agency. At this stage the story is called "spot."

These guys are at the mercy of sources of information whose credibility often depends on either their official capacity or their proximity to the event. The cops may not know a helluva lot themselves at this stage and are usually reluctant either to admit this or to provide anything to a reporter they don't know personally, and they always hold certain information back if foul play is suspected. It's in the book.

The best reporters develop trusting relationships with certain officials who have access to information and are willing to share it, usually without being identified. Nonetheless, this breaking story is usually full of holes and shaky factoids of which there's been little if any chance to check out authoritatively. It's only when news people have the luxury of time that they can dig in and flesh out the story with verifiable facts, reliable background and a more realistic perspective. Often by then knowledgeable sources will have been found, courted and brought into the story - often willing to do so to help clear up some of the misinformation that was initially reported. Also, news organizations that were beat on the breaking story have more incentive to do a more thorough follow-up.

I haven't paid attention to the Chasen story since it broke, but I've a hunch this progression of the story's development pretty much followed the usual course.

Mike Dennis said...

I had paid absolutely NO attention to this story until I read your fine piece, Ed, along with the accompanying New York Times article. Thanks for providing the proper perspective.

Todd Mason said...

The laziness of most reporting remains pretty sickening. But, most reporters are smug and overworked, a deadly combo. The non-coverage of Julian Assange's suspected sex crimes in most contexts is an obvious recent example.