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David Westin
David Westin is the principal of Witherbee Holdings, LLC, and the author of Exit Interview, the story of what went on behind the scenes at ABC News during the 14 years he was president, covering stories from the death of Princess Diana to the impeachment of a president to the tie election of 2000 to 9/11 and the wars in Afghanistan and New York.

Westin currently advises companies on digital and media issues. He was President & CEO of NewsRight, which he helped found in 2011 with the support of the AP and 28 news company investors, including the Associated Press, the New York Times, the Washington Post, Hearst, and Germany’s Axel Springer.

From 1997 through the end of 2010, Westin was President of ABC News. During that time, he oversaw coverage of President Clinton’s impeachment, the 2000 election, the 9/11 attacks, wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, and the economic crisis of 2008. At the same time, the television news industry was undergoing fundamental change, with the advent of Fox News and MSNBC and the explosive growth of the Internet. 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. During Westin’s tenure, ABC News earned 11 George Foster Peabody Awards, 13 Alfred I. DuPont Awards, four George Polk Awards, more than 40 News & Documentary Emmys, and more than 40 Edward R. Murrow Awards.
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. He serves on the boards of the Newseum, Save the Children, and the City University of New York Journalism School. A native of Michigan, Westin is married to Sherrie and has five children, Victoria, Elizabeth, Matthew, Lily, and David Palmer.

Entries by David Westin

Thoughts on Brian and Bob and David

(5) Comments | Posted February 16, 2015 | 3:15 PM

Last week, the news profession lost three of its leading lights -- Bob Simon and David Carr to sudden and unexpected death and Brian Williams to a six-month suspension. In our shock and sadness we are drawn to ask ourselves some serious questions about the state of the news media...

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Saving the Children

(1) Comments | Posted May 23, 2013 | 1:54 PM

I spent yesterday touring the fifth largest city in Jordan. It's named Zaatari, its population is over 120,000, most of the people who live there are children, and it was founded less than ten months ago. It's a Syrian refugee camp.

What's going on in the desert just south of...

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Who's Got a Secret?

(92) Comments | Posted May 14, 2013 | 10:50 PM

The Associated Press is outraged that the Justice Department has been secretly rummaging through its telephone records, and who can blame it? But what really matters is what it means for all the rest of us. And if we don't watch out, it will mean that the government keeps more...

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Learning the News One Mistake at a Time

(6) Comments | Posted April 27, 2013 | 5:44 PM

There's an old adage that half of all money spent on advertising is wasted, we just don't know which half. You might say the same about some of the breaking news reporting coming out of Boston last week: We knew half of it was wrong, we just didn't know which...

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An American in Margaret Thatcher's Court

(10) Comments | Posted April 8, 2013 | 1:33 PM

Living under Margaret Thatcher's rule in the early 1980s could be unsettling, exciting, and sometimes just plain baffling for an American. Britain in many ways was a total mess -- its economy in the doldrums, unemployment high, constant labor strife, terrorist attacks in central London, and people sensing that their...

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Same-Sex Marriage: First the Supreme Court Has to Decide What to Decide

(140) Comments | Posted March 28, 2013 | 10:44 PM

The Supreme Court has two extremely important cases before it on same-sex marriage, and I don't have a clue what it's going to do. Despite what a horde of commentators might have you believe, they don't know either. However it all comes out, we can be pretty sure that the...

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No Regrets: Covering Government as a Contact Sport

(2) Comments | Posted March 8, 2013 | 6:53 PM

A wise Washington lawyer once told me that "you don't win cases by making friends out of judges."

The same thing goes for journalists covering the government. You can't do your job as a Washington reporter by making friends of government officials. If nothing else, Bob Woodward's...

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If Only Carnival Cruised to Syria

(29) Comments | Posted February 18, 2013 | 9:55 AM

Is it possible to have too much of a good thing? Or to have too much TV coverage of a good story? Some people took after CNN for just this: spending too much time last week covering "The Triumph" Carnival Cruise ship being towed back into port in Mobile after...

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Uncommon Reporting: The Story of Clint Romesha

(2) Comments | Posted February 11, 2013 | 7:29 PM

Today President Obama awarded the Congressional Medal of Honor to retired Army Staff Sargent Clint Romesha, making him only the fourth living recipient of the nation's highest military honor earned during the 12 long years of war in Afghanistan and Iraq.

Romesha's story is a great one. Even on...

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Consider the Source

(50) Comments | Posted January 4, 2013 | 8:27 PM

Peter Jennings would have loved it. A former vice president is going into business with the Emir of Qatar to bring us a cable news channel focused on the Arab world. In one bold stroke we have lots of money going into news, disruption of the old order, and the...

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Divided We Stand (But How Divided Are We Really?)

(142) Comments | Posted November 10, 2012 | 9:53 AM

The long, hot election of 2012 is over and the voters have spoken: We pretty much want the same people leading us as we had before. The Washington gridlock will continue because we're more polarized than we've ever been before.

Or that's the party line in much of...

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Why and How Martha Won the Debate -- Over Media Bias

(74) Comments | Posted October 12, 2012 | 1:39 PM

It didn't take long for the reviews to start pouring in on Martha Raddatz and the job she was doing moderating the vice presidential debate. It started almost as soon as the debate did, it kept on coming, and it was overwhelmingly favorable.

"I vote for Martha Raddatz to moderate...

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Presidential Debates: What You See Is What You Get

(183) Comments | Posted October 3, 2012 | 3:59 PM

Now the fun part starts -- at least for those of us in the audience. We're into the quadrennial round of presidential debates. The time when we all get to gather around our television sets (or laptops) and see the two gladiators who would be our next President go one...

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Don't Quote Me

(9) Comments | Posted September 22, 2012 | 3:27 PM

The New York Times has spoken: Executive Editor Jill Abramson has issued a new policy that forbids "after-the-fact quote approval" -- except when it's OK. And, she's right on both counts (even if they're on two sides of the issue).

Journalists take justifiable pride in their independence. They...

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When Facts Deceive

(229) Comments | Posted September 6, 2012 | 6:23 PM

Considering that facts are always true, it's surprising how often they can deceive us.

That's why all the fighting between the presidential campaigns over the facts and whether they're being manipulated to mislead is much, much more than just petty politics. Thankfully, at least for the moment, we've come...

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My Response To House Republicans' Criticism Of Our Upcoming Health Care Special

(386) Comments | Posted June 23, 2009 | 6:29 PM

The following letter is my response to the members of the Congressional Media Fairness Caucus, who have criticized ABC News' upcoming special on President Obama's health care plan (see below).

June 23, 2009

The Honorable Lamar S. Smith
Chairman, Media Fairness Caucus
Congress of the United States

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