Greensburg Daily News, Greensburg, IN
November 29, 2011
Court TV reporter leads off autumn Chautaqua
Greensburg Daily News
Greensburg — GREENSBURG -- North Decatur High School's annual Chautaqua adopted a Journalism theme for its eighth incarnation Monday.
The early edition of the twice-yearly program featured former Court TV anchor and reporter Diane Dimond, who enthralled her young crowd with tales from her more than three decades of work as an investigative journalist.
Dimond noted that criminal cases have been her primary forte throughout her career, and she used an iPad during her presentation in order to visually showcase some of the personalities and cases she's dealt with over the years.
Among these are Michaele and Tareq Salahi, perhaps better known as the infamous "Gate Crashers" of President Obama's first State Dinner in Nov. 2009, Michael Jackson's pair of child molestation charges and the recent Casey Anthony murder trial.
Dimond told the NDHS students and faculty as well as several members of the general public of her early days in the news business and how she broke into the field almost by mere happenstance.
In the years since, Dimond has appeared on Hard Copy, Entertainment Tonight, Extra and a host of other programs such as Larry King Live, the Today Show and Inside Edition.
The investigative journalist repeatedly beseeched the students in attendance to form their own opinions, stating how easy it is to be influenced by the thoughts of others, media outlets included.
She spoke at length of the sensationalism surrounding the Salahi case before delving into her work investigating the late Michael Jackson's accusations of child molestation.
Dimond said she broke the case in 1993, which ended with "the King of Pop" reportedly paying his accuser $20 million. The case never went to trial, but new charges involving another boy surfaced a decade later.
Dimond said she was the only journalist present during the 2003 police raid of Jackson's Neverland Ranch. That investigation went to trial in 2005, where Jackson was found not guilty. Dimond reported on the Jackson trial during her time at Court TV. She later served as a correspondent to Entertainment Tonight following the singer's sudden death due to improperly administered propofol in 2009.
Throughout the Michael Jackson case, Dimond said she was threatened by fans of the pop star and was once sued by Jackson for $100 million. The case was dismissed.
Dimond also commented on the recent Casey Anthony verdict and expressed disbelief in the jury's decision to find the alleged child murderer not guilty.
She displayed a picture of Caylee Anthony on her iPad, Casey's two-year-old daughter, who had gone missing for 31 days before the child's absence was reported to police. Dimond said people like Caylee Anthony are the reason she continues to investigate.
Many in the public, Diane Dimond included, believe Casey Anthony should have been convicted of child neglect in the case, if not murder.
Keeping with her theme of discussing events with which the North Decatur youths are likely familiar, Dimond briefly talked of the recent Pennsylvania State University child molestation accusations brought against former Nittany Lions assistant football coach Jerry Sandusky.
Before stopping to answer questions, Dimond offered advice for the NDHS students about entering the field of journalism.
She told the young crowd to "be inquisitive and ask questions and always keep an open mind." She further stated that using critical thinking and "common sense" are two intellectual pillars that are helpful in becoming a successful journalist.
She told those in attendance, "don't let where you come from define you" and asked them to not allow the thoughts of others to hold too much sway in their lives.
"'Me too' never gets anywhere," she said.
After opening up her program to questions, Dimond stated she was able to obtain the controversial 1994 O.J. Simpson police interrogation tape; a recording many believe shows gross incompetence on the part of the Los Angeles Police Department in questioning the Hall-of-Fame running back.
Dimond didn't mince words when it came time to voice her thoughts on the tape. "The interrogation just sucked," she said.
Dimond spoke of the Jon-Benet Ramsey case as well, expressing her belief that the truth in that murder investigation will eventually come to light.
Of the field of journalism itself, Dimond stated that such work is "a great career."
"What can be better than telling the truth?" she asked.
Diane Dimond also had pleasant comments in regards to John Pratt, the NDHS teacher who organizes the Chautaqua program each year.
"It's incredible that Mr. Pratt has the foresight to put these things on," she told the Daily News Monday. "I'm honored to be a part of it."
Diane Dimond's morning program was followed by Emmy-winning news producer and best-selling author Jon Entine, and later by WTHR-13 television anchor and reporter Anne Marie Tiernon.
An article centered on their presentations at the eighth annual North Decatur Chautaqua is planned to appear in Wednesday's edition of the Daily News.