Jeffrey Toobin
Legal Analyst, CNN
02:02

Jeffrey Toobin Makes Technology History

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With the Spitzer story, Toobin first brought Skype to broadcast news.

Jeffrey Toobin

Jeffrey Toobin, a staff writer at The New Yorker since 1993 and the senior legal analyst for CNN, is one of the most recognized and admired legal journalists in the country.

His most recent book, The Nine: Inside the Secret World of the Supreme Court, was published in the fall of 2007. The book spent more than four months on the New York Times best-seller list and was named one of the ten best books of the year by the New York Times Book Review, Time, Newsweek, Fortune, Entertainment Weekly, and the Economist. The Nine also received the J. Anthony Lukas Book Prize for Non-fiction and the Silver Gavel Award of the American Bar Association.

Toobin joined CNN in 2002 after six years with ABC News. In 2000, he received an Emmy Award for his coverage of the Elian Gonzalez case.  Before joining The New Yorker, Toobin served as an Assistant United States Attorney in Brooklyn, New York. He also served as an associate counsel in the Office of Independent Counsel Lawrence E. Walsh, an experience that provided the basis for his first book, Opening Arguments: A Young Lawyer’s First Case: United States v. Oliver North.

Jeffrey Toobin received his B.A. from Harvard College in 1982, and, in 1986, graduated magna cum laude from Harvard Law School, where he was an editor of the Harvard Law Review. He lives in Manhattan.

Transcript

Jeffrey Toobin: Well, I didn’t realize, I have a place in technological history. I was on vacation in Maui when the Eliot Spitzer story broke. And CNN had no ability to get an actual camera to Maui, so they got a Skype camera to Maui which broadcast live, and it was the first Skype to broadcast television ever. And I found that I was mentioned and shown on all these technology blogs I never even heard of because of the Skype [role].

I think in many respects, the advance of technology has allowed technology to get out of the way rather than be so present. It just, you can concentrate more on the journalistic functions if it’s just easier to set up a camera and do the technological part.

Now, certain parts of technology have certainly helped. John King is famous for using our [magic board]. I use it occasionally although it’s really John’s board. That is fantastic. And it’s just extremely good use of data and data representation, and that is I think sort of pure technology at its best. But a lot of the technology is simply allowing things to be done more simply. Although, it is amazing when you’re at CNN and you just see how many people are involved and just getting you on the air. It’s still pretty complicated.

 

September 5, 2008


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