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Exit Interview Hardcover – May 22, 2012

3.4 out of 5 stars 7 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Review

David Westin writes with vivid experience and clarity about real life on the high wire of television journalism. Each chapter is a pulse-pounding journey into a crisis--where he presided over big personalities wrestling with big decisions with serious consequences. He has written a book about triumph. Mistakes made and lessons learned. And the real reason reporters get up each day to do it all again. (Diane Sawyer, anchor, ABC World News)

This is both a fascinating inside look at television news and a thoughtful analysis of the ethical dilemmas of journalism. David Westin writes with delightful charm about his fourteen years running ABC News and draws lessons that are enlightening not only for journalists but for everyone. (Walter Isaacson, author of Steve Jobs)

I watched David Westin manage ABC News at a time of tectonic change for the media--and the world we cover. Here he tells that vivid story with insight and candor, revealing the real-life trade-offs that are the daily business of television news. Exit Interview is a master class in modern journalism. (George Stephanopoulos, chief political correspondent, ABC News)

David Westin entered the news world as an outsider and gained the trust and respect of industry veterans. Although David is never one to claim credit, this book is ultimately about leadership and a deep commitment to the best of what journalism can be today. (Robert A. Iger, President and Chief Executive Officer, The Walt Disney Company)

About the Author

David Westin was president of ABC News from March 6, 1997, to December 3, 2010. He lives in Bronxville, New York.

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 256 pages
  • Publisher: Sarah Crichton Books; First Printing edition (May 22, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 9780374151218
  • ISBN-13: 978-0374151218
  • ASIN: 0374151210
  • Product Dimensions: 6.2 x 1 x 9.3 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 3.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (7 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,277,584 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Nathan A. Gordon on June 22, 2012
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
David Westin had been a partner in a major Washington-based law firm, ABC Network general counsel and then network head and then volunteered to "step down" a notch and replace the legendary Roone Arledge as President of ABC News, the latter of which ran for a tumultuous 14-year time frame that began in 1997. Most books that are written by former television executives and on-air talent are used to "get even" with many perceived and real enemies and provide an otherwise hard-to-get behind-the-scenes look at the people we hardly know. Caution: Do not read this book if that is your reason to read Westin's ABC News memoirs (there is virtually little written about his stint as ABC Network President). In fact, I think the primary audience would be those young individuals still in journalism school interested in entering the extremely competitive field of broadcast journalism.

My main problem with the book is that there is little here that would suggest that Westin was even an ABC insider for so many years since so much of what he writes could have been googled long before Exit Interview was published. More troublesome, there is a tremendous amount of redundancy. While Westin thanks so many people in the Acknowledgments section at the end for their help in the editing process, one can only tremble at what the unedited version of Exit Interview looked like.

Having said all of this--and after having read each and every word in this book--there are two chapters that are really worth reading. The first is Chapter 7, "The Swift Boat Saga: Is Balance Overrated?
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Format: Hardcover
The book is brief and does a good job of giving context for what we see as the final product. Yet at times it felt like I was stuck at a dinner party where Westin had used up too much of his guests' time droning on about his personal success in the face of adversity, his tough mettle when tested, the gut-wrenching decisions only a fearless yet humble leader can make, and on and on... However if you can get over the chest thumping and want to learn something new about how television works, there are plenty of good insights backed by news events we all remember.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
While Westin's stewardship at ABC covered an interesting time in broadcast journalism, his book is disappointingly more about him than the trends and events he oversaw. So much more "news" than he covers in this self-absorbed recount.
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Format: Hardcover
As a book writer, David Westin makes a great TV network executive. His memoir of his 12 years running ABC News is filled with repetition. One of his fave clauses: "As I said earlier....." Really, this is more of a meditation on the state of TV journalism, as Weston, a corporate lawyer, muses at length on some of the many dilemmas faced by professional journalists today. Most of this is old-hat to journalists, but Westin marvels because it was really not his background. Most of his chapters are pretty boring, except the one on the wounding of Bob Woodruff in Iraq, and his recollections of 9/11. He had to preside over the dismantling of the news operation because of budget cuts, so we hear how he handled that, though we don't much care. You won't learn a lot from this, but it makes for a harmless read if you are a fan of inside TV memoirs.
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