Friday, December 5, 2008

My Day in OJ

First and foremost, I must at long last congratulate our 335-square-foot Faux-J Palace Station Hotel Room contest winner. We opened this up for you all to guess way back in late September when I was the first journalist to photograph it. You can see that post here. The DA built it to show the jury but Judge Glass nixed that, taking them to the actual crime scene instead. I did a NYT piece on the fake room, which can be found here, and in it I had the guys at Home Depot work up an estimate based on labor and parts. They figured about $2,000.

Well, if the private sector can do it for $2K, then I guess it stands to reason that government workers would cost double. Dan Kulin, the Clark County spokesman, wrote late yesterday to give their price: $4,000.

And the winner is...Amy Rabinovitz. She came closest with a $4,215.00 guess! She gets to pick something off the prize list at TheStripPodcast.Com. I don't know much more about Amy than that she wrote in her October email: "Of course I have not a clue as to what it might cost, but the contest was so fetching I had to place an entry." See that, folks? You gotta be in it to win it!

I was a bit of a winner, too, on Friday. Here's the glory shot, my story on the sentencing as the top story on Google News yesterday:

Many of you wrote in asking if you heard my voice on CNN badgering Simpson attorney Yale Galanter. Indeed you did. There were some cool moments there, so we may play them on the next podcast. Especially fun was when DA David Roger, explaining his media blockout during the trial, said, "We can't just go giving an interview to Steve Friess and nobody else." To which I said, "Well, sure you can!"

Beyond the revelation by OJ attorney Gabe Grasso that OJ has been buying candy and soup for all his inmate friends because he's such a great guy -- or perhaps a terrific boyfriend? -- the OJ sentencing was also an interesting exercise in viral news gone bad.

The initial reports were very confusing about his minimum sentence. The AP put out incorrect figures immediately, and that just went viral. Everywhere you look, even though AP eventually got it right -- he got 9-33 years -- the incorrect first versions were printed in newspapers around the globe and remain available online.

More egregious, though, is that a full day after it has been cleared up, Marketwatch, a Dow Jones website, still had a piece by Sue Chang out of San Francisco that claims The Juice is canned for at least 15 years. Not so, but here it is anyway:

Not life or death, but another good reason why news is more reliable when rendered by those actually present for it. I know I covered the Monte Carlo fire from the Bronx, but still.

Anyhow, I've landed safely in NY after an overnight flight and I'm ready to crash for a while at my aunt's. It was so neat, though, to pick up The New York Times in New York and see my own story and a big front-page photo promoting it. Here it is for all of you who care. Life is good. Well, for me, anyway. And for OJ's, uh, candy-bar-loving cellmates, I suppose.


Amy Rabinovitz said...

How perfect to see my name as the winner...I'll have to remember this the next time I visit Vegas: when skill and luck fail you, sheer stupididity will sometimes come thru.

Maybe not total stupidity - I live in Silicon Valley and paying prices here is the best gauge for what would be outrageous in other parts of the US.

As for me: i'm a marketing guru, an ex-newspaper pro, and a Vegas hobbyist - love the neon, the Strip's constant reinvention, and the city's chameleon-like quality to be a different experience for each of the several million folks who visit every year.

Anonymous said...

congrats, Amy, you b***. j/k. i didn't come close! what'd you pick?

Anonymous said...

Of course, if that thing had been built by the Federal Government it would have cost at least half a million. And if they had waited until Obama was in office, the project would have been expanded to become a complete reconstruction of the entire Palace Station generating several thousand jobs.

LinFromNJ said...

welcome to the East Coast

DavidF. said...

Any idea what has become of the room? Maybe they can use some of it for OJ's new Lodgings.......


DA told me a couple days before the sentencing that it's already been dismantled.