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Posts Tagged ‘Barry Levine’

Vetting the Enquirer’s ‘New Natalie Wood Death Theory’

On the bottom, right-hand corner of this week’s National Enquirer cover sits the teaser for an explosive two-page item by Barry Levine, Patricia Shipp and Steve Herz. Inside and crowned at one layout-end by the illustration below, an unnamed source tells the publication that the re-opened investigation into the 1981 death of Natalie Wood has taken a new turn, based on information in the autopsy about urine levels found in the actress’ body.

NatEnquirerWagnerWood_Featured

After reading the full, print version of this “Exclusive Special Report,” FishbowlNY decided to check in once again with Marti Rulli, co-author of the book that started it all (Goodbye Natalie, Goodbye Splendour). She told us that two elements of the Enquirer article merit elaboration.

1) Natalie Wood May Have Been Unconscious Before Being in the Water

“That was determined from the new autopsy review, based on the amount of urine in her bladder and slight amount of froth in her lungs. Those findings suggest she was either unconscious or dead before being in the ocean.”

“That, of course, leads to the question – ‘How does an unconscious or dead body get itself into the water?’ The autopsy was, earlier, changed from accidental to undetermined because another review of Natalie’s body strongly indicates she was assaulted. Her bruises are consistent with being battered, or a struggle having transpired. Those are the main reasons Los Angeles Sheriff’s Department (LASD) detectives will not close her case. They believe, with the witnesses who have come forward, and the scientific medical evidence now considered, that they have every reason to believe the case is solvable.”

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The National Enquirer Pitching TV Show on How the Celebrity Sausage Gets Made

At the NATPE conference in Miami Beach, FishbowlLA spoke with Barry Levine, the executive editor of the National Enquirer, the gossip rag that always gets flak, even when it breaks major scoops, such as the John Edwards lovechild scandal, or Tiger Woods‘ mistresses.

The Enquirer is here to pitch a TV show concept, not a TMZ-like program, but a behind-the-scenes look at how the sausage gets made at the paper. Yes, that includes the nasty bits, like checkbook journalism, and sneaking into hotel rooms to grab some DNA samples.

“If it wasn’t for us there wouldn’t be TMZ, there wouldn’t be Entertainment Tonight, and I think after the last couple of years, the new credibility we have established after John Edwards, and the Tiger Woods scandal after that, we have had so much media interest and interest from readers and the question is always ‘how does the Enquirer get those stories?’”

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A Pulitzer For The National Enquirer?

Former presidential candidate John Edwards has been all over the news this week, due to his (not surprising) admission of paternity of his admitted mistress’s baby, possibly spurred by the best selling book Game Change debuting this week, which features in-depth descriptions of Edwards’ actions during the 2008 campaign, including his denial of the affair.

Now the publication that broke the story, supermarket tabloid The National Enquirer plans to submit its work for a Pulitzer Prize, the most prestigious award in journalism. As Game Change explains, when the paper broke the story in 2007, the mainstream media brushed it off as sensational storytelling and mainly ignored it. But executive editor Barry Levine told The Washington Post‘s media reporter Howard Kurtz that this week’s admissions have resulted in “vindication” for the tab.

“It’s clear we should be a contender for this,” Levine told Kurtz of the Pulitzer, referring to his paper’s revelations about the affair and Edwards’ paternity of Frances Quinn Hunter. “The National Enquirer, a supermarket tabloid, was able to publish this reporting.”

Although a Pulitzer for the Enquirer would set these awards on its head, we may not get to see such a thing this year; Kurtz points out that the tabloid’s best work on the Edwards story was done in 2007 and 2008, and this year’s prizes will honor work for 2009. Still, for a prize that has never even gone to an online news outlet, any shake up in the Pulitzer world would hint that the respected award recognizes the changing landscape of the media today. In reality, a nomination or award for The National Enquirer or TMZ might not be that far off, as long as they keep producing solid investigative journalism and breaking important news — assuming the Pulitzer committee can separate that work from the sensational things that are published by those sources.

John Edwards’ paternity admission vindicates National Enquirer, its editor saysThe Washington Post

Previously: Game Change Authors Talk Reporting, Reaction To Their Book