Larry Altman takes a break from the journalism scene to visit MCHS


Mrs. Storms

Former Daily Breeze journalist, Larry Altman, visiting The Spellbinder staff.

After over more than thirty years of hard-hitting and over-the-edge stories, Larry Altman announced his departure as a journalist for the Daily Breeze. However, his stories of the good old times remain in print and in the hearts of the people he has touched.

Altman visited the journalism class at Middle College High School to touch on his highlights of his career and provide advice to the staff of The Spellbinder. While working at the Daily Breeze, he was in charge of looking for stories everyday involving crime cases and car crashes. In his journalistic experience, he spoke with many families who lost a loved one, which created special bonds he still keeps to this day. “The hardest thing to do is to walk up to somebody’s mother who lost a son,” Altman stated. In one case, Altman was interviewing a mother who was relentlessly embracing his arm as he tried to write her responses. “Sometimes the only person who cares is a reporter.” Between police officers and journalists, policemen have a stern way about them that can be cold at times; however, a journalist will be as caring as possible with those they have to speak to.

With all these stories, which were sometimes very morbid, it could be stressful. “I keep it seperate from my own world,” Altman said but, “There are cases I still remember that upset me.” Altman has interacted with families who have lost their loved ones. One of them being a family of a woman who had been murdered and boiled by her husband.

The peak of Altman’s journalistic career, was his outstanding contributions to solving the mystery case of Dawn Vien, who was killed by her husband, David Vien, who boiled her remains. Altman constantly interviewed the husband after the trial and family members to find out why Dawn Vien had suddenly disappeared. He noticed that the husband would change his story many times, and Altman published articles demanding the wife get the proper attention to solve her sudden disappearance, which lead to the David Vien being the top suspect. After publishing a story full of concrete facts, Altman stated the husband was suspicious and should be investigated. “You drove him to the edge,” detective told Altman after they found out the husband drove to a cliff to attempt suicide after he read the story. He survived.

After months of no media coverage, the story became national. In fact, many newspaper publications quoted Altman’s article and facts. Altman was also present at the court cases which found David Vien was guilty for cooking his wife and getting rid of her remains.

In addition to writing stories, Altman was in the business long enough to experience the movement from print to digital publications. Despite the constant rush and competition with social media platforms, Altman enjoyed it. He recalls the damages that print newspapers endured with the introduction of the internet, though. Websites like Craigslist, where individuals could put up their ads for free, financially harmed the newspaper industry. With this and the overall decrease in readers, many were laid off. Altman, however, was able to adapt to the modern age and write at a rapid pace. With his job, came mental stress. It was quick to publish news and stories with an online newspaper. “I liked being the guy writing one story after another. Well, until it killed me,” Altman said. He live tweets in court and publishes online.

Altman told the staff, “I’ll do it again….but I’m taking a break!” A break well deserved after years upon years of enduring the mental strains a job like Altman’s entailed. He invested with the victim’s families; he called them and checked up on them. “I would periodically lose my mind,” he admits.

Now, Larry Altman looks forward to the future. His passion is still within him. He stated, “Journalism can be used for all sorts of things.” With journalism, he was able to find an outlet for what sparked his interest and taught the Spellbinder staff that we can do the same.