Media magnate and journalist Steve Brill talks to ProPublica about the state of media, his recent 26,000 expose on U.S. healthcare in Time and his days in TV news.
On hiring talented people:
“I think it’s a lot intuitive, but there are a lot of mistakes. After all, I deserve to do community services. I am the person who brought Nancy Grace to television.”
He also shared this funny anecdote about Cynthia McFadden and Terry Moran, both now on ABC’s “Nightline.”
When we started Court TV we had a couple of experienced people, and there was a producer there, a young producer, Cynthia McFadden. She came in one day and she said, “We don’t have enough on air people. You just don’t know how to count. You don’t know what you are doing. We don’t have enough on air people. It’s supposed to be an all day television network. People can’t be on all day. We need more anchors.”
I said, “Well, what about you?” She said, “What?” I said, “You look OK and you certainly talk a lot. Why don’t you try it?”
So Fred Graham, who was our experienced guy, takes me aside…oh, and then I did the same thing with Terry Moran, ironically, because they now both do Nightline. Fred takes me aside and says, ‘Steve, you really can’t put people on television who don’t have television experience.’ I said, ‘Fred, by that definition no one could ever be on television.’