In June 1994, Kim Goldman’s life was turned upside down literally overnight when her older brother Ron was murdered alongside Nicole Brown Simpson, the ex-wife of former NFL superstar running back O.J. Simpson. Compounding the Goldman family’s grief was the media scrutiny that accompanied the ensuing “Trial of the Century,” forcing Kim to mourn Ron’s death under the constant gaze of the public eye.
Goldman’s experience with managing the loss of a loved one while coping with the accompanying – and unwanted – fame stemming from a high-profile murder trial inspired her to author Media Circus, an inside look at how the lives of survivors and family members of crime victims are impacted by relentless national media coverage. Co-written by award-winning writer and magazine editor Tatsha Robertson and published by BenBella Books, Media Circus was released this past September.
Via original interviews with each of the book’s subjects, Goldman recounts the tragedies that devastated those closest to some of the most publicly spotlighted crimes in American history through their own lenses. The kinship Goldman’s interviewees feel with her, a fellow victim and nationally recognized crime survivor, is evident within the pages of Media Circus as they describe their experiences with journalists and reporters during the most agonizing times of their lives while offering advice to fellow victims as well as members of the media tasked with covering a tragic story. The author and subject are clearly bonded by their mutual understanding of a unique ordeal most of us can never fully appreciate.
Included in the book are narratives from Debra Tate (sister of “Manson Family” murder victim Sharon Tate), Scarlett Lewis (mother of Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting victim Jesse Lewis), Dave and Mary Neese (parents of teen murder victim Skylar Neese) and Judy Sheppard (mother of hate-crime murder victim Matthew Shepard).
I feel Media Circus should be unofficial required reading material for current and aspiring journalists of all types. As an interviewer myself, I came away from the book having acquired a better understanding of how to conduct and present an interview with someone tragically close to a violent crime.
(Special thanks to BenBella Books and Michael Wright of Garson & Wright Public Relations)