Larry Garrison knows the news. Over the past 25 years, he has worked with a slew of networks and shows bringing to light some of the most significant stories of our time.
In his latest book, "The Newsbreaker," Garrison divulges untold details about some of the biggest stories of the past few decades, including the Oklahoma bombing, the Jon Benet Ramsey murder and the Mary Kay Letourneau scandal.
Garrison reveals what happens behind the headlines -- how the news changes from the scene of a story to when it hits a television screen -- and offers readers a rare look inside one of today's hottest industries.
I hate traffic. Driving home up Highway 101 -- Hollywood behind me and my home in Westlake before me -- a thirtymile drive takes over an hour. The one good thing about Southern California road time is that it gives a person a chance to reflect.
I had just dropped off lunch for my twenty-one-year-old daughter, Lindsay, at the movie set where she was working. She had forgotten to pick it up before work and coaxed me into delivering it. I got to the set and was proud of my daughter's professionalism. I spoke with the director for a moment and watched a take. Just as I was leaving, one of the extras asked, "So, Mr. Garrison, what kind of work do you do?" I just smiled, shook his hand, and walked back to my car.
My kids have a tendency to be a little dramatic. It's a direct result of having a father who has been involved with the entertainment and news industry for the last twenty-five years. For twelve of those years, I've been a single dad. Because of that, my kids have often been exposed to my work. And like me, they're also becoming goal-driven adults with a dash of overachiever. This troubles me when I think about my middle child -- how relentless the business is that she's chosen. The money and romance of the entertainment industry are hard to resist, but it's those same traits that make it cutthroat and competitive.
Ambulance chaser and media whore are just a couple of the less flattering descriptions used to label me and what I do. Most jobs have titles like firefighter, CPA, or whatever. One or two words or an acronym, and that's all the explanation needed. The easy out for me is to say that I'm an executive producer for film and TV. But what I do requires much more explanation than a simple title can provide. No matter what the short descriptions are, they describe only part of what I do. Ambulance chaser? Maybe so.
Part of my work requires that I be on the lookout for people who get caught up either directly or indirectly in a situation that is so far out of the ordinary that their story becomes newsworthy. Personal injury attorneys, the other so-called ambulance chasers, have been the butt of jokes for years. Some view them as scavengers whose only purpose in life is to search out and exploit the misfortunes of others.