John Zarrella: A Journalist for Our Time

By kevin 

Felix Gillette of the New York Observer brings us this profile of CNN’s John Zarrella who, most recently, hit the big-time again with his discovery of Bubbles, Michael Jackson‘s famous chimp, in a remote Florida town. (Zarrella had to bail on a story he was already doing at the time about alligators in backyard pools to get to the scene.)

Patti Ragan, the woman who ran the simian retirement home, told Mr. Zarrella that she’d initially been reluctant to broker the sit-down with Bubbles. After all, the chimp had long ago given up life in the limelight. But in the days since Michael Jackson’s death, there had been so many wild rumors floating around about Bubbles (that he was dead, that he was still living in L.A., that he’d been turned into a statue) that she now wanted somebody to set the record straight.

Mr. Zarrella was happy to oblige. Over the next three hours, he immersed himself in Bubbles’ world, learning about his life story, his current living conditions, and his waistline in middle age.

Zarrella has long been appreciated here at TVNewser for his field reports from the unending well of strange happenings that is the state of Florida as well as his utter dominance in animal reporting. Zarrella told the Observer, “Anytime we do an alligator story, we get a great response. Shark stories are always big. We’ve certainly done plenty of those over the years. We once did a story about monkeys on the loose in suburban areas.”

Check out Zarrella’s AC360 report after the jump.

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