Driving and Biking in the Big City

Poison of a Smile

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News desk Denise

Cub reporter raised by wolves, starting at age 18 as my first daily. I had been working at my hometown bi-weekly for two years before that.

As a longtime reporter, I frequently tell “war stories” of the good old days of the Fourth Estate. I’m proud to say that I was sitting at a traditional news desk at the time of the Watergate burglaries and when reporters never took gifts or paid for a story.

I never accepted “press” seating and chose instead to sit among the people and for the people. I got the best stories that way and learned what the “real people” were thinking or worried about.

I paid for my lunch, dinner or gals tickets even when the city manager called me “an ass” for doing so. If someone sent me flowers after a fun and easy feature, my next stop was to take the gift to a local hospital.

Television and radio folks were not in my league. I was informed and well read, never a grandstander. They were just another pretty face, although I spent a bit of air time on camera when we started a cable news show back in those beginning days. I also wrote for both television and radio and taught news writing and editing in a large university setting.

I spent a lot of time with television celebrities of the day including Connie Chung and Leslie Stahl when I covered politics. Later in life, when television news folks became household names and friends asked me about someone I’d met — even Walter Cronkite and Dan Rather, but especially the very popular Connie Chung — I wondered why I couldn’t remember many details. It was only after the news business changed and became a job for talking heads that I realized I had been an elitist. I never considered that I had spent time with Connie Chung. I considered that she had spent time with me, a knowledgeable reporter with many sources in an area where she had one to report for a short time. I was the authority, or at least that’s what I thought.


Written by commuterchroniclesdbh

February 16, 2014 at 5:54 pm

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