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September 10, 2012 The Modern Law Library

After Going from BigLaw to ABC News, Author of ‘Exit Interview’ Witnessed Seismic Changes

By Rachel M. Zahorsky

ABA Journal Reporter Rachel Zahorsky talks with David Westin, author of Exit Interview and a former Washington, D.C., BigLaw partner, who left his position as president of ABC News after 14 years of leading media coverage of what he calls “some of the most perplexing and important events in history.”

President Bill Clinton’s impeachment (including what ignited the decision to report on the existence of a certain blue dress); the 2000 presidential election; the Sept. 11 attacks; the conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan; and the worst economy since the Great Depression have marked an era of constant change in America. And, within the newsroom, Westin, who was seen as a corporate outsider to some veteran journalists, inherited a business besieged by budget cuts and competition from nearly unlimited sources thanks in part to the explosive growth of the Internet and digital technology.

As a former lawyer who once clerked for U.S. Supreme Court Justice Lewis F. Powell, Westin also shares with us his views on cameras in courtrooms, protections for anonymous sources, and lessons the legal profession—faced with its own changing landscape—should learn.


Newsweek: “David Westin on Network News in Crisis in ‘Exit Interview’”

NPR: “A Network Head Reflects In ‘Interview’”

Listen to the Podcast

In This Podcast:

Rachel M. Zahorsky
David Westin currently serves as an advisor to NewsRight, where he previously was president & CEO. From 1997 through the end of 2010, Westin was President of ABC News and under his direction, ABC News launched its website,; started the first live, streaming 24-hour news service, ABC News Now; and transformed the ways that it collected, produced, and reported the news through extensive use of digital technology. Before taking the helm at ABC News, Westin was President of the ABC Television Network and General Counsel of the parent company, Capital Cities/ABC. He was a partner and associate at Wilmer, Cutler & Pickering in Washington and, immediately after law school, clerked for J. Edward Lumbard on the Second Circuit and for Lewis F. Powell on the Supreme Court.