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Celebrity crush ‘She Said’ is the best book about journalism I have ever read. Here are its best lessons for journalists.


Celebrity crush ‘She Said’ is the best book about journalism I have ever read. Here are its best lessons for journalists.

“She Said,” a new book by Megan Twohey and Jodi Kantor, covers their New York Times investigation into Harvey Weinstein and the mountain of sexual abuse allegations against him.It’s the best book about journalism I’ve ever read.The book is a masterclass in showing how to find sources and then convincing them to speak on the…

Celebrity crush ‘She Said’ is the best book about journalism I have ever read. Here are its best lessons for journalists.

Celebrity crush

  • “She Stated,” a brand new e-book by Megan Twohey and Jodi Kantor, covers their Sleek York Times investigation into Harvey Weinstein and the mountain of sexual abuse allegations against him.
  • It’s the splendid e-book about journalism I’ve ever study.
  • The e-book is a masterclass in showing how to procure sources after which convincing them to talk on the file.
  • Kantor and Twohey’s simplest programs recognize showing their reporting song file, strolling sources through how their interviews might possibly commerce the long speed, and being tactical with the easy project they already had.
  • To transfer the legend forward, the pair concentrated on wrongdoing they’d maybe most simply describe, and reported on documents as a substitute of getting slowed down in the “he mentioned/she mentioned” conflicts in the story.
  • Overview Insider’s homepage for more reports.

Editor’s point out: Closing week, after I done “She Stated,” Jodi Kantor and Megan Twohey’s e-book about their Weinstein investigation for the Sleek York Times, I despatched a memo to the Insider newsroom. Here’s what it mentioned.


I done “She Stated,” Jodi Kantor and Megan Twohey’s e-book about their Weinstein investigation for the Sleek York Times.

It’s amongst the splendid non-fiction fiction books I get ever study.

It’s for certain the splendid e-book about journalism I get ever study. I heartily advocate discovering out it whenever you happen to are a reporter, editor, or any individual who needs to attain what a mountainous reporter or editor does. 

Essentially the essential lesson from the e-book is that it is miles laborious to procure sources who know the story, 10X more challenging to score them to disclose you their story off the file, and 1,000X more challenging to manual those sources to enable you to share their story on the file.

Listed right here are some tactics that can attend:

Send an introduction electronic mail that highlights the work you’ll get done in the previous. In fall 2016, Rose McGowan tweeted about a producer who assaulted her. Kantor reached out to manual her to talk. McGowan mentioned no, since the Times had handled her poorly in the previous. Kantor emailed the following:

Here’s my very own song file on these disorders: Amazon, Starbucks, and Harvard Industry College get all changed their insurance policies per gender-linked considerations I exposed. After I wrote about the category gap in breastfeeding—white collar girls can pump on the job, decrease paid girls can’t—readers answered by creating the principle-ever cellular lactation suites, now accessible in 200+ areas across the country. In case you’d reasonably no longer talk, I realize, and better of success with your e-book e-newsletter. Thank you, Jodi

This electronic mail labored, and McGowan purchased on the phone with Kantor. I possess it labored because it confirmed Kantor had done this more or much less work sooner than, develop into into the work for causes that can maybe allure to McGowan (impact, no longer reputation), and confirmed McGowan that if she participated it is going to be for the field’s earnings. I additionally admire this line: “In case you’d reasonably no longer talk, I realize, and better of success with your e-book e-newsletter.”

celebrity crush harvey weinstein

Harvey Weinstein entering court docket in 2018.

Mark Lennihan/AP

To score previous he mentioned/she mentioned, tale on the documents. Forward of 2016, one arena with reporting on sexual assault develop into that it in general boiled all of the design in which down to one person making an accusation against one more, with few corroborating witnesses. (Here’s additionally why it be so laborious to prosecute sexual assault or adjudicate it on college campuses.) Twohey and Kantor utter they benefitted from a reporting innovation by their Times colleagues Emily Steele and Michael Schmidt, who brought down Bill O’Reilly. The trick develop into reporting on the settlements Fox Info and O’Reilly paid, reasonably than merely the actual cases of assault or harassment. While assault happens in the wait on of closed doors, many folk are attentive to settlements paid by a company to a person. Here’s advantageous to journalists because 1) All of those other folks are doable sources. 2) The existence of a doc is a murky and white reportable fact 3) a source who can describe you a doc or verify a doc’s existence doesn’t will get to be named the methodology an accuser needs to be named. So whereas what you focus on you take care of to get is a story about a selected project, what you might possibly want to if fact be told lumber is the doc proceed created by the project within an establishment. 

Absorb a selected line of inquiry. Twohey and Kantor weren’t appropriate asking “is Weinstein a rotten one who does rotten things?” They were asking: has he ever mistreated girls and paid out settlements.

celebrity crush ignition Jodi Kantor

Jodi Kantor at Ignition.
Roy Rochlin/Getty Photos

Focus first on wrongdoings you might possibly most simply describe, reasonably than basically the essential defective-doings. At an early level in their investigation, Twohey and Kantor were inundated with reports of wrongdoing by Weinstein. Rebecca Corbett, their editor at the Times urged them to prioritize other folks who were most simply proven, reasonably than other folks who were basically the essential defective-doing. Corbett opinion, which proved appropriate, develop into that one rock-solid story about wrongdoing would level-headed down sources for the more well-known crimes. The lesson right here applies to all forms of experiences: Focal level on what you might possibly lock in first. Submit it. And more sources will talk.

Use this line to manual sources to talk. Discovering those who had been assaulted by Weinstein, and even getting them to share their reports develop into straight forward – when put next with getting those other folks to conform to fling on the file. Twohey shared with Kantor a if fact be told effective line she’d developed reporting on sexual assault against blue-collar workers in the previous: “I’m in a position to’t commerce what took dwelling to you in the previous, however together we might possibly also very neatly procure a design to expend your expertise to attend defend assorted other folks.” It labored several cases.

celebrity crush megan twohey jodi kantor

Jodi Kantor and Megan Twohey reduction the Time 100 Gala in 2018.
Evan Agostini/Invision/AP

Use this line to manual sources no longer to listen to to advisors telling them no longer to talk. Oftentimes, sources want to search the advice of with a reporter, however they’ve advisors – in general cautious attorneys, however most ceaselessly additionally family and chums – who describe them no longer too. Kantor encountered this with one source, and ordinary this line: 

“I do know I will have to get thrown you a curveball into your outing home. Nonetheless please comprehend it be entirely because this story is so well-known. There’s an actual alternative to make a distinction. My hope is that we can proceed to be in touch—that I’m in a position to reduction you abreast of what’s occurring on our terminate. I suspect you’ll get had some more conversations about this—with family and in all probability others. Seems to be to me the splendid conversation of all is the one you’ll get with yourself.”

Paint a portray for sources to disclose what’s going to happen in the event that they fling on the file. To persuade sources to fling on the file, Kantor would most ceaselessly quiz them to “have in mind what it would be take care of to fling on the file.” “She sketched out the increasing scale of the allegations, without the usage of names; urged Madden that her story would imply a mountainous deal to others; and promised to fling over every thing sooner than e-newsletter and own despite she might possibly to make the expertise as dignified as that you might possibly possess of.”

celebrity crush roger ailes

The Sleek York Times made up our minds to pursue the Weinstein investigation after reporting on Roger Ailes.
Frederick M. Brown/Getty Photos

Partnering up on reports works. Over and again we gape assorted publications having mammoth success publishing investigations with a few bylines. We’re additionally seeing more of this ourselves (survey to Julie Bort and Meghan Morris’s WeWork story for an example.) This e-book shows why. It helps with resolve, approach, creativity, motivation, and grit. It additionally multiplies time and sources. 

An investigation can birth with a if fact be told in trend tell about what’s defective with the field. The Sleek York Times made up our minds to pursue the Weinstein investigation after girls got right here forward and against Roger Ailes and Donald Trump. That news reminded editors: Females are in general mistreated in the dwelling of job. This in trend tell with what’s defective with the field let them to quiz: How own we doc that? Editors and journalists requested round. One activist urged Kantor: Elevate into fable Hollywood. So she did.

celebrity crush ashley judd harvey weinstein

Ashley Judd and Harvey Weinstein.
Cindy Ord and Scott Olson/Getty Photos

Influence in journalism comes from specificity. Names, dates, well-known sides. Ashley Judd develop into the principle actor to fling on the file against Harvey Weinstein, and develop into, in quite a lot of programs Twohey and Kantor’s essential source. Nonetheless her disclosure to the Times wasn’t the principle time she’d attempted to out Weinstein. In 2015, she’d given an interview about his assault on her and others to Kind – entirely she no longer neatly-known Weinstein’s title and several other assorted well-known sides. The story develop into disregarded by everybody with the exception of for an organization that ordinary Judd as a celeb endorser. Twohey and Kantor write: “Judd’s fable in Kind had been gutsy, on the opposite hand it develop into a lone fable without a perpetrator’s title or any supporting data. Influence in journalism got right here from specificity — names, dates, proof, and patterns.”

Be very careful, however talking to the representative of the topic you are investigating might possibly also very neatly be very effective. Dean Baquet, the govt. editor of the Times, didn’t want Kantor or Twohey to search the advice of with Weinstein or any of his representatives on background or off the file. Feast believed that can maybe appropriate allow them to lie without repercussions. And there might be data to this. Nonetheless when Weinstein’s crisis PR secure, Lanny Davis, pushed for an on-background assembly with the journalists, Twohey opinion it develop into a correct recommendation. She believed she might possibly offer up little or no data to Davis, and he might possibly by likelihood verify a great deal of fundamental sides — or even give her new ones. She develop into appropriate. Davis got right here into the Times, and the journalists urged him they were having a survey into Weinstein’s conduct toward girls. That is it. Nearly right this moment Davis confirmed that Weinstein had an argument and that he had paid settlements. It develop into a jackpot. So, whenever you happen to might possibly also have confidence yourself no longer to give away your sport, it is going to also very neatly be shapely to fulfill with any individual and gape in the event that they’re going to pronounce more than they’ll get to level-headed.

celebrity crush dean baquet

High Sleek York Times editor Dean Baquet.
Charles Sykes/Invision/AP

Ogle this electronic mail thread. Irwin Reiter, the CFO of The Weinstein Company, ended up a key source in the investigation. Here is the electronic mail thread that reeled him in.

Friday, Sep. 15, 2017, 4: 46 PM 

To: Irwin Reiter 

From: Jodi Kantor 

Dear Irwin, Thanks for the electronic mail tackle. We’re documenting allegations that get to attain with a sample of mistreatment of girls over the years. Our reporting is popping up proof of diverse settlements. I have been urged that that is something that you might were fascinated about over time. Helping us score this story appropriate might possibly provide one more to attain something about the topic, without anybody else colorful. I might possibly price the likelihood to get a confidential conversation with you, and speed our data by you to survey if it be appropriate. 

My sister lives stop to you, and I develop into planning on being in Sleek Jersey rapidly. Can I possess you a cup of espresso, appropriate so you might possibly suss this out more? 

Friday, Sep. 15, 2017, 8: 27 PM 

To: Jodi Kantor 

From: Irwin Reiter 

Your background is impressive. In 2017, things being what they are, I get a wholesome recognize for journalists. Absorb a mountainous weekend. 

Friday, Sep. 15, 2017, 9: 11 PM 

To: Irwin Reiter 

From: Jodi Kantor 

Thank you, that methodology loads to me. Fastidiously documenting the real fact looks more well-known than ever. I’m in a position to swing by your dwelling round 11 a.m. on Monday to introduce myself. (The phone e-book says 3 Hebron Force in East Windsor.) Let me know if there is a more in-depth day or time. 

Friday, Sep. 15, 2017, 9: 46 PM 

To: Jodi Kantor 

From: Irwin Reiter 

You are a mountainous reporter however you if truth be told stink at addresses. I’ve by no methodology in my life lived in Sleek Jersey. I’m inquisitive about all of this. I’m going to enable you to preserve stop on Monday what I’ve made up our minds. 

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Concluding the yarn, Kantor and Twohey write, “To reduction the dialogue over electronic mail going, Jodi made small talk, with Megan invisibly discovering out his responses and advising on Jodi’s replies. Soon Reiter despatched instructions: Meet me at 9: 30 p.m. at the bar in the wait on of the restaurant Tiny Park in Tribeca.”

celebrity crush david boies

Lawyer David Boies, who tried to crush journalists investigating Weinstein’s alleged misconduct.
REUTERS/Andrew Kelly

Be entirely buttoned up so you might possibly very neatly be valorous. After the Times briefed Weinstein on their first story, Weinstein’s attorney despatched a unpleasant letter threatening swimsuit. 

It study, in section: 

“Please be suggested that you’re under a honest duty to aid, take, defend, and no longer assassinate any and all documents, communications, materials and files, in digital, electronic and laborious copy map, that will likely be relevant to the dispute including without limitation all documents, materials and files that refer or notify to Harvey Weinstein, The Weinstein Company and/or any of its executives, staff and/or contractors (collectively, “TWC”).”

Because their reporting develop into rock solid, and since the USA has solid free speech prison guidelines, the Times’s attorney develop into no longer worried. “When the info defend us, and the law protects us, it be laborious to argue with our honest dwelling,”

He wrote wait on: 

“I point out your doc preservation demands. In gentle of that, please provide me with assurances that you’ll get taken rapid steps to stable all files and data that will likely be relevant to this topic, whether or no longer in the possession, custody, and reduction an eye on of Mr. Weinstein or one amongst his industrial entities. In particular, I quiz that you right this moment stable all phone, electronic mail and text data of Mr. Davis, Mr. Weinstein’s press representative, as well to the personal and industrial phone, electronic mail and text accounts of Mr. Weinstein; all data touching on any complaints of sinful dwelling of job conduct, whether or no longer in the possession, custody and reduction an eye on of Mr. Weinstein or one amongst his industrial entities; and all data referring to to settlements with staff, whether or no longer in the possession, custody and reduction an eye on of Mr. Weinstein or one amongst his industrial entities.”

Kantor and Twohey write, “Translated from legalese, this meant: Harvey Weinstein, whenever you happen to take care of to get to drag this story into birth court docket, fling appropriate forward.”

That can have to get felt correct.


She Stated
Harvey Weinstein
Megan Twohey
Jodi Kantor

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