Weinstein Arraignment Gives Institute’s Journalists an Unforgettable Experience

This year’s New York Times Student Journalism Institute offered many opportunities for the participants, but none put three visual journalists to the test quite like covering the arrest and arraignment of the disgraced movie mogul Harvey Weinstein. Staked out at the New York City Police Department’s First Precinct and the Manhattan Criminal Courthouse on May 25, an institute visual journalists’ team of Jasmin Flores, JuliAnna Patino and Aileen Perilla fought for space on the front lines along with other members of the national and international press.

I talked to the three photojournalists about their experience covering Mr. Weinstein’s surrender.

New York City police detectives take a handcuffed Harvey Weinstein out of the First Precinct in Manhattan for arraignment on sex charges. JuliAnna Patino/NYT Institute

Q. As a journalist, how did you approach covering the Weinstein story?

JASMIN FLORES: It was definitely interesting. I have never covered anything like this before. It’s like, we obviously knew he was coming, but we didn’t know if he was going to be in the front or is he going to get dropped off on the side. It’s all these journalists out there who are trying to get that angle.

Q: Can you describe the scene of the arrest?

MRS. FLORES: When he arrives, it’s like a shock. Like, “Oh my god.” There was all of this adrenaline — waiting, waiting, waiting, not really sure how the event was even going to pan out. But then he shows up, and he gets out and I’m not going to say I was star-struck, but it was just very interesting because I’ve seen the pictures and videos of him online, but then to actually see him in person was like, whoa.

The Manhattan district attorney, Cyrus Vance Jr., arriving at Manhattan Criminal Court for the arraignment of Harvey Weinstein. Aileen Perilla/NYT Institute

Q: What were your first impressions during the perp walk at the precinct?

JULIANNA PATINO: It was a sea of white men who seemed like they had known each other for a while, like a big clique of white guys lotioning each other up with sunscreen — I’m not kidding. It was kind of weird, and everyone was aggressive, and unusually mean-looking.

Q: What was your reaction to the diversity while reporting at Weinstein’s arraignment?

AILEEN PERILLA: It’s always surprising. There are so many people in the world, and you would think that we would be represented in the field. It’s largely men out there, a lot of white men, but it was refreshing to see a few women. I actually saw two women who did freelance for The New York Times. Aside from reporters, for video journalists and photojournalists, I only saw one other female out there.

Harvey Weinstein's lawyer, Benjamin Brafman, addressing the media at Manhattan Criminal Court. Aileen Perilla/NYT Institute

Q: Did you feel that this was a monumental moment in contemporary history?

MS. PERILLA: I knew I was photographing a historic moment because he has been so revered, and he’s so powerful in the industry. It was just kind of crazy to me when I saw how many people were out there in the crowd. And that was when it seriously hit me, and you could hear all of the shutters from the numerous cameras as he walked out.

Q. How did you feel coming out of the shoot?

MS. PATINO: I was right next to this TMZ guy. He was screaming “Harvey, why’d you do it?” It was all overwhelming, and I had never shot something like this. And it was nice for this to be the first one — scary, and intimidating to shoot something to this particular caliber, but I think I learned a lot nonetheless.