Steven Brill (journalist)

Steven Brill (born August 22, 1950)[1] is an American lawyer, journalist, and entrepreneur who founded monthly magazine The American Lawyer and cable channel Court TV. He is the author of the best-selling book, Tailspin: The People and Forces Behind America's Fifty-Year Fall – and Those Fighting to Reverse It.[2]

Early life and education

Brill was born to a Jewish family[3] in Queens, New York. He is a graduate of Deerfield Academy, Yale College (B.A., 1972), and Yale Law School (J.D., 1975).[4]


In October 1978, Brill published his first book, The Teamsters.

In 1979, Brill launched The American Lawyer, a monthly magazine covering the business of law firms and lawyers in the United States and around the world. Jill Abramson and Jim Cramer were among its early contributors. The magazine is noted for its surveys, including the "Am Law 100", an annual ranking of the top 100 U.S. law firms, which it launched in 1986.[5] The magazine covered the meteoric rise and precipitous collapse of the law firm of Finley, Kumble, Wagner, Underberg, Manley, Myerson & Casey in its September 1987 cover story, "Bye, Bye, Finley, Kumble", written by Brill.[6]

In 1989, Brill founded Court TV (now TruTV), launching the network on July 1, 1991.[7] Among its original anchors were Fred Graham, who was still at the network twenty years later; Cynthia McFadden; and Terry Moran, who later joined ABC News. The network was born out of two competing projects to launch cable channels with live courtroom proceedings, the American Trial Network from TimeWarner and American Lawyer Media and In Court from Cablevision and NBC. Both projects were combined and presented at the National Cable Television Association, in June 1990. Liberty Media joined the venture, in 1991. Court TV featured continuous live trial coverage, with analysis by anchors. The network's profile was raised during the Menendez brothers' first trial and, later, the O. J. Simpson murder trial.

In 1997, Brill resigned from the network.[8]

In June 1998, Brill launched Brill's Content, a media watchdog publication that ceased publication in fall 2001 (The Write News, Vol. 1, no. 1 (Aug. 1998)-v. 4, no. 6 (Fall 2001).[9] The magazine caused a stir in its very first issue with Brill's article titled "Pressgate" charging that independent counsel Ken Starr and his office had been the source of much of the information for reporters regarding the grand jury proceedings about the Lewinsky scandal and that as a result Starr may have violated federal law or ethical and prosecutorial guidelines.[10] The publication became less associated with Brill after its founding.[11]

In July 2000, Brill launched Contentville.[12] In 2001 Brill began teaching an advanced journalism course at Yale.[13] In November 2001 Brill signed on as a contributing editor for Newsweek.[14]

In April 2003, After: How America Confronted the September 12 Era was published. In October 2003, the America Prepared Campaign was launched. In the fall of 2003, Brill founded the company Clear, a subsidiary of Verified Identity Pass, Inc. It allowed travelers to get through airport security quickly with an annual subscription to the program and pre-screening. Brill left the company in March 2009; it went out of business at 11 p.m. PDT on June 22, 2009.[15]

In 2009, Brill, former Wall Street Journal executive Gordon Crovitz, and ex-cable television industry mogul Leo Hindery founded Journalism Online to help newspapers and magazines charge for online access.[16] The company was sold to RR Donnelley for a reported $45 million in March 2011.[17] However, Donnelley's subsequent 10-K filing reported the price at closing was $19.6 million with the possibility of an additional payment to co-CEOs Brill and Crovitz (who both stayed with the company after the sale to Donnelley) of $15.3 million contingent upon meeting certain sales targets.[18] As of March 2013, more than 400 newspapers, magazines and online-only websites used JO's Press+ service to charge for digital content.[19]

In August 2011, Brill published Class Warfare: Inside the Fight to Fix America's Schools. It described the success of charter schools, using the Success Academy Charter Schools (then known as Harlem Success Academy) as an example, and profiled teacher Jessica Reid as a model of what could be done without union restrictions. He claimed that unions, particularly the United Federation of Teachers and UFT president Randi Weingarten in New York City, protected incompetent teachers, and were opposed to pay-for-performance, and obstructed necessary reforms,[20] a claim he had previously made in The New Yorker.[21] By the time Brill came to the end of the book, Reid had quit. The long hours and stress of her job, with nightly calls to parents, and constant prodding of students, were affecting her marriage.[20] Brill went on to write that charters, which he continued to support, were not practically scalable to be a replacement for the current public education system, and that broader improvements would require the efforts of current public school teachers and their unions.[20] He said that after two years of researching school reform, he had a better understanding of the complexities. He reversed his view of Weingarten, and proposed that New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg appoint her chancellor of the school system.[20]

In February 2013, Brill wrote Bitter Pill: Why Medical Bills Are Killing Us as a Time magazine cover story.[22][22][23] The investigation of billing practices revealed that hospitals and their executives are gaming the system to maximize revenue.[24] Brill claims patients receive bills that have little relationship to the care provided and that the free market in American medicine is a myth, with or without Obamacare.[25] The 24,000-plus word article took up the entire feature section of the magazine, the first time in the history of TIME.[26]

Time magazine's managing editor Rick Stengel wrote:

If the piece has a villain, it's something you've probably never heard of: the chargemaster, the mysterious internal price list for products and services that every hospital in the U.S. keeps. If the piece has a hero, it's an unlikely one: Medicare, the government program that by law can pay hospitals only the approximate costs of care.[23]

Brill later expanded the article into a book, America's Bitter Pill: Money, Politics, Backroom Deals, and the Fight to Fix Our Broken Healthcare System, that came out on January 5, 2015. The book became a New York Times bestseller.[27]

On September 15, 2015, The Huffington Post Highline published Brill's 15-part serial documentary, "America's Most Admired Law Breaker,"[28] examining Johnson & Johnson's 20-year practice of illegally marketing a powerful drug, Risperdal, to children and the elderly, while concealing the side effects and earning billions of dollars in profit.

In March 2018, Brill and fellow veteran journalist and entrepreneur, Gordon Crovitz, once again partnered to form a new company called NewsGuard,[29] which fights fake news by providing reliability ratings for over 7,500 U.S. websites to help online readers distinguish between legitimate news sources and those allegedly designed to spread misinformation. NewsGuard was launched on August 23, 2018.[30][31]

Brill's latest book, Tailspin: The People and Forces Behind America's Fifty-Year Fall – and Those Fighting to Reverse It (May 2018, Knopf),[2] details America's decline across a broad range of areas, including government, finance, education, infrastructure, and public health, and introduces us to those who are working to repair the damage. Tailspin hit the New York Times Best Sellers just six days after it went on sale.[32]

Renowned Washington Post journalist Bob Woodward wrote:[33]

A penetrating and personal examination of why the United States is in the midst of a nervous breakdown. But with his fantastically reported story, Brill also shows how—and who—might restore some common sense and equilibrium.[33]

Personal life

Brill is married and has three children. He resides in New York City and Bedford, New York.[4]


  • Brill, Steven (1977). Firearm Abuse : A research and policy report. Washington, D.C.: Police Foundation. LCCN 76051921.
  • Brill, Steven (1978). The Teamsters. New York: Simon & Schuster. ISBN 0-671-22771-8. LCCN 78016610.
  • Brill, Steven; editors and reporters of the American Lawyer (1989). Trial by Jury. New York: Simon & Schuster. ISBN 0-671-67132-4. LCCN 89026309.CS1 maint: extra text: authors list (link)
  • Brill, Steven (2003). After : How America confronted the September 12 era. New York: Simon & Schuster. ISBN 0-7432-3709-9. LCCN 2003042727.
  • Brill, Steven (2011). Class Warfare : Inside the fight to fix America's schools. New York: Simon & Schuster. ISBN 978-1-4516-1199-1. LCCN 2011016196.
  • Brill, Steven (2015). America's Bitter Pill: Money, Politics, Back-Room Deals, and the Fight to Fix Our Broken Healthcare System. New York: Random House. ISBN 978-0812996951. OCLC 884298042.
  • Brill, Steven (2018). Tailspin: The People and Forces Behind America's Fifty-Year Fall—and Those Fighting to Reverse It. New York: Knopf Publishers. ISBN 9780525432012. OCLC 1046068326.


  1. "Steven Brill". Contemporary Authors Online. Detroit: Gale. 2005. Gale Document Number: GALE|H1000012101 via Fairfax County Public Library.(subscription required) Gale Biography In Context.
  2. "'Tailspin' by Steven Brill | Knopf Doubleday".
  3. Dershowitz, Alan (October 6, 2015). Abraham: The World's First (but Certainly Not Last) Jewish Lawyer. Schocken. p. 129. ISBN 9780805242935.
  4. Palm eBook Store: Author: Steven Brill
  6. {{|work=American Lawyer|author=Brill|date=1 September 1987}}
  8. {{|url= |title=Brill Exits Court TV |author=Martin Peers |date=19 Feb 1997}}
  10. Holmes, Steven A. (17 June 1998). "Battle Heats Up Over Article That Questioned Starr's Comments to Reporters". The New York Times. p. 28.
  11. Snyder, Gabriel (3 July 2000). "Steven Brill is keeping his hands off the content of Brill's Content". The New York Observer. Retrieved 27 May 2013.
  12. Listen Up Contentville – Authors Win Lawsuit in
  13. Adrian Brune. "Yale's content enhanced by Brill".
  14. "Brill is born again as a Newsweek columnist". November 2001. Archived from the original on 2006-10-25.
  15. Peter Kafka (22 June 2009). "Steve Brill's Clear Card Gets Grounded".
  16. |title: Media Executives Plan Online Service to Charge for Content|author=Richard Pérez-Peña|date=14 April 2009|url=
  17. Staci D. Kramer (24 March 2011). "Price Tag For Journalism Online Could Go As High As $45 Million". Archived from the original on 4 December 2012.
  19. "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2017-04-04. Retrieved 2017-04-03.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  20. Nocera, Joe, Teaching With the Enemy, in The New York Times, Nov. 7, 2011.
  21. Annals of Education: The Rubber Room: The battle over New York City's worst teachers. by Steven Brill, The New Yorker, August 31, 2009
  22. Brill, Steven (2013-02-20). "Bitter Pill: Why Medical Bills Are Killing Us". Time. Retrieved 2013-03-03.
  23. Stengel, Richard (2013-03-04). "The High Cost of Care". Time. Retrieved 2013-03-03.
  24. Trudy Lieberman (5 March 2013). "Brill's Big Breakthrough". Columbia Journalism Review.
  25. The Daily Show interview with Jon Stewart, February 21, 2013
  26. Becker's Healthcare
  28. Brill, Steven (2015). "America's Most Admired Lawbreaker". Highline. Huffington Post.
  29. "NewsGuard Technologies".
  30. Lapowsky, Issue (August 23, 2018). "NewsGuard Wants to "Fight Fake News" With Humans, Not Algorithms. Its own independence is albeit rather questionable". WIRED. Retrieved 24 August 2018.
  31. Fischer, Sara (August 23, 2018). "NewsGuard launches first product with help from Microsoft". Axios. Retrieved 24 August 2018.
  32. "Hardcover Nonfiction Books - Best Sellers - June 17, 2018 - The New York Times". Retrieved 2018-06-08.
  33. "Tailspin by Steven Brill |".
This article is issued from Wikipedia. The text is licensed under Creative Commons - Attribution - Sharealike. Additional terms may apply for the media files.