| viv bernstein
True story. There once was a man named Albert Bratz, who ran illegal brothels in Chicago in the 1920s and ’30s. Bratz and his cousin, Jack Zuta, were accused
of murdering Chicago Tribune reporter Jake Lingle, who might have tried to extort money from the two. Al Capone retaliated, putting a contract out on Bratz and Zuta. Eventually, Zuta was taken out in a Wisconsin hotel. But Bratz escaped
and was never found.

Turns out “Albert Bratz” was an alias. His real name was Eli Zoota, my grandfather.

Needless to say, I was stunned to learn of my family’s involvement in brothels, murder and the mob. But don’t worry. As far as I can tell, we only take shots in print these days …

So welcome to my site and don’t be afraid to poke around. I hope you find something interesting to read.


© 2013 Viv Bernstein


| viv bernstein


From The New York Times: Near the Convention Site, Occupy Takes Root – Eric Verlo waved an “Occupy the DNC” flag as he stood among the dozens of tents pitched around Marshall Park in uptown Charlotte in advance of the Democratic National Convention. Read story

From The New York Times: Occupy Movement Looks Toward Political Conventions – Hay and grass seed cover the bare spots on the lawn in front of the stately old City Hall where Occupy Charlotte’s camp held its ground for nearly four months. The occupiers are gone now and the protest movement quieted after arrests, a new anticamping ordinance and, to a degree, the group’s own missteps along the way. But as the grass begins to take root, so does a resilient Occupy Charlotte. Read Story

From The New York Times: Protests Continue on Final Night of Democratic Convention – Five days of marches at the Democratic National Convention brought confrontation and compromise between protesters and the police, and there was a bit of both on Thursday, the final night of the convention. Read story

From The New York Times: A Nascar Star’s Deadly Run-In On a Dirt Track - Tony Stewart, a three-time Nascar champion, was moonlighting Saturday night. He had gone back to his racing roots for a few hours, competing in a local dirt-track event at Canandaigua Motorsports Park in upstate New York, bumping and sliding his high-powered open-wheel sprint car with the mostly unknown competitors on the track. Read story


From Bleacher Report: Inside the SEC’s New Moneymaker: Tim Tebow sports a stylish gray suit as he settles into his seat in a television studio in this nondescript one-story office building in suburban Charlotte. If there is a football uniform in his future, Tebow isn’t going to find it here, deep inside ESPN’s Southern base of operations. Read story

From The New York Times: Jimmie Johnson Does Triathlons, but Is He an Athlete?  A typical week in the life of Jimmie Johnson on the way to winning his sixth Nascar Sprint Cup championship last season included five miles of swimming, 40 miles of running, 100 miles of cycling and one race. Does that make Johnson an athlete? Read story

From The New York Times: Ten Years On, Nascar Yearns for Another Intimidator – The Nascar circuit makes its pilgrimage to Daytona International Speedway twice every year, visits that inevitably rank among the highlights of any season. But not for the racecar owner Richard Childress. Each time he drives through the tunnel to the infield and looks at the track around him, Childress finds himself staring at perhaps the most sorrow-filled stretch of pavement on that hallowed ground. Read story

From The New York Times: The Bobcats Were the Worst, But Much has Changed – The Charlotte Bobcats took the “Bob” off their uniforms, adjusted the design and altered the team colors for 2012-13. So at least they no longer look like the franchise that posted the worst record in the history of the N.B.A. Read story

From The New York Times: Christian Values Meet Athletic Scandal – Red brick buildings, neatly trimmed lawns and river birch trees dot the campus of Gardner-Webb University in the heart of this small, Bible Belt town. Gardner-Webb was founded as a Baptist college and is known historically for producing teachers and preachers. Alcohol is banned, the student honor code is posted in every classroom and no building eclipses the steeple of Dover Chapel. It is hard to imagine a setting less likely to produce a scandal over manipulating a top basketball player’s grade point average. Read story


From espnW.com: Image Puts Danica Patrick on fast track- A risqué look can be a talented and ambitious woman’s best marketing tool. See Madonna, or Lady Gaga. Or Danica Patrick. So who’s to fault Patrick for taking that route to celebrity and parlaying it into one of the best rides in NASCAR? With the announcement that she will ditch the IndyCar Series to drive full time in NASCAR beginning in 2012, Patrick appears to have set herself up with the best possible chance to succeed in the most popular and lucrative racing series in America. Read story

From MovesMagazine.com: Winston in NFL: Not in Tallahassee Anymore -Sometime on April 30, 2015, NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell will step up to the microphone at the Auditorium Theatre of Roosevelt University in Chicago and announce that Florida State quarterback Jameis Winston has been selected in the 2015 NFL Draft. After the cheers and jeers – and we all know Winston is going to inspire plenty of both — the next howl you probably will hear is a “F**K ME” from the public relations director who works for the NFL team that selects him. Read story

From espnW.com: What Will 2012 Bring for Kim Clijsters? The numbers are short of dominating, but that’s what happens when you retire for a couple of years in the middle of your career. Yes, Kim Clijsters could have won more Grand Slam tennis titles than the four she owns if she hadn’t left the tour to start a family. Maybe even several more. But it’s a refreshing lesson to relearn from time to time, that Grand Slams aren’t the only measure of success in life. Read story

From The New York Times: Reporter has Thirst for Speed – After witnessing the quick acceleration, the drafting technique and the three-wide passes during a two-hour sprint last year from Darlington, S.C., to Charlotte, N.C., a fellow motorsports writer offered me the ultimate compliment. She called me a racer. Sadly, North Carolina’s state troopers have made a similar discovery. I recently spent four hours at a defensive driving class after receiving a ticket — on my way to a Nascar race, no less. Read story

From jersey/slant: The Merry Jews of Nascar Somebody with a sharp wit and way too much time on his hands created JewsWhoLikeNascar.com. Go ahead, click on it. You’ll laugh. Yes, Nascar was born in the Bible Belt South. And racing and religion are inseparable. Each weekly driver’s meeting ends with a prayer and every pre-race ceremony includes an invocation. Goyishe sport, right? Oy! Would you believe there are enough Jews in Nascar to fill an Adam Sandler song? And then some. Read story

From jersey/slant: ESPN, suicide and a story I’ve never told before I was once assigned to write a feature story on a high profile, nationally known professional athlete who kept getting into trouble. What was wrong with this guy? I talked to former coaches and anyone in his hometown who knew him back when the athlete was in high school. Through that reporting, I learned a shocking family secret. Read story


| viv bernstein
Please note that these archives of my work are maintained by media outlets and any changes or deletions are beyond my control.



| viv bernstein
From the Democratic National Convention to the Daytona 500, I have covered a little bit of everything in 13 years as a regular contributor to The New York Times. Included in over 1,000 bylines is a Page One news story on the racetrack accident involving Nascar star Tony Stewart in which another driver was killed, the rape accusation against members of the
Duke lacrosse team, features in the Politics section on the Occupy movement in Charlotte and numerous stories on auto racing, football, basketball, tennis, soccer, hockey and other sports.

That’s maybe the best part of this work: the unpredictability of it. You never

know when you’ll get an assignment to interview a legend like Billie Jean King or be called upon to knock on Paula Broadwell’s door. Or assist a Pulitzer Prize-winning reporter in tracking down a witness with information about a murder.

Over the years, I’ve learned to adapt quickly to a wide variety of assignments from news to sports, game stories, features or analysis often on short notice and tight deadlines. But I also enjoy longer pieces that allow me to explore issues such as racism in NASCAR or spend time getting to know amazing people like Jason Benetti, the broadcaster who is working his way up despite cerebral palsy.

I am based in Charlotte, N.C., with assignments taking me everywhere from California to Florida and Texas to Canada. My primary focus has been sports, and I have covered the last 12 Daytona 500′s as the lead NASCAR writer for the Times. But I’ve also assisted in coverage of the crash landing of US Airways Flight 1549 in the Hudson River, wrote about protesters at the DNC and reported on Broadwell, the mistress of former CIA director David H. Petraeus.

In addition to my regular contributions to the Times, I have written for many publications and web sites over the years including the The Washington Post, USA Today, ESPN.com, espnW.com, Bleacher Report, OZY.com, the Associated Press, NASCAR Illustrated, NASCAR.com, TV Guide Magazine, The Hockey News, NASCAR Scene and others. I also blogged for the wonderful but shortlived TrueSlant.com, which featured Matt Taibbi and Michael Hastings of Rolling Stone among many contributors. These days, I blow off steam on my own blog, jersey/slant.

I was previously a staff writer for the Detroit Free Press, Hartford Courant and The News & Observerin Raleigh, N.C. I have covered five Stanley Cup finals, a Super Bowl, the U.S. Open (tennis and golf), the greatest rivalry in sports — Duke vs. North Carolina — and 10 NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournaments.

Not that I’m counting.

In the market for a writer or reporter? Hard news, sports or feature work? I can step into just about any assignment and write authoritatively on deadline.


| viv bernstein
Please note that these archives of my work are maintained by media outlets and any changes or deletions are beyond my control. Archived articles for ESPN.com and AOL’s FanHouse.com are no longer available.


| viv bernstein

Please let me know if you have any questions or comments.
Thank you for stopping by!

Your Name (required)

Your Email (required)


Your Message