Maury Z. Levy

Posts Tagged ‘kyw-tv’

Andrea Mitchell: A Nose for News, a Face for Radio

In Philadelphia Magazine (1970-1980) on January 22, 2011 at 5:35 pm

By Maury Z. Levy

The other reporters, the ones without the pencils in their hands, the ones without the questions in their heads,were gobbling up the $100-a-plate meal like it was real food. Andrea Mitchell, who was covering this Democratic dinner for both KYW radio and KYW television, was the only one not eating. It’s not that she wasn’t hungry. It’s just that she’s a 
stickler for facts. And she just won’t
swallow a lie, even the smallest one.

“You didn’t like your chicken cordon bleu?” the waiter asked as he lifted her still full plate from the table.

“This,” she said, “is not cordon 
bleu. This is an inedible lump of chicken on a slice of canned ham camouflaged with cold gravy.”

Anyway, she was too busy running the dinner to eat. She picked up a copy of the program and skimmed down to the end. Teddy Kennedy wasn’t scheduled to speak until 9:15, which probably meant he wouldn’t get on until at least 10:15.

“No way,” Andi Mitchell said. “If 
he doesn’t get on by 9, I’ve got to let 
the film crew go. And we’re not going to have anything for the 11 o’clock 
news.”

She pushed her way up to the head 
table on the very large Civic Center 
floor. On the stage, at the right, the 
entertainment was going full blast. Some people in costumes were singing selections from The King and I, which seemed appropriate enough. She shoved her way down the 
crowded front aisle, the one that was full of security guards. One of the guards told her to stop and go the other way. She ignored him. The next 
guard grabbed her by the arm and 
told her a little less gently. “Mr. Camiel,” he said, “doesn’t want anybody in this aisle. You’ll have to go back to the press table. You’ll have to 
go the other way.”

She looked him dead in the eyes. “No,” she said, “I’m going this way.”

Before push got to shove, Bill Green
jumped down from the head table 
and called the goons off. He asked Andi Mitchell what the matter was. She told him about her deadline. “You people do this thing,” she said, “for the publicity. What good is it if 
you don’t get any?”

“I know it’s asinine, Andi,” he said. “But there’s nothing I can do 
about it.”

“Sure you can,” she said, “go tell 
your buddy Camiel he’s screwing up 
my television feed. Go tell him people won’t even know Teddy Kennedy was in town tonight if he doesn’t get this thing moving.”

Bill Green shrugged his shoulders and said he would try. He went over to Pete Camiel, the city’s Democratic 
boss, and started talking. First Camiel was shaking his head “no.” Then Green pointed to Andi Mitchell down there in the front row, where she shouldn’t have been, and Camiel stopped shaking. He quickly started talking to some other people at the table, including Teddy Kennedy. And then, when the music stopped, Pete Camiel went up to the podium to make an announcement. Andi Mitchell signaled her film crew. “I think we’ve got it,” she said.

“Ladies and gentlemen,” Pete Camiel said, “there has been a change in the program. As you know, Senator Kennedy was scheduled to be our final speaker. But the Senator has 
just informed me that he has another commitment tonight. And so, we are changing the program to make him
our first speaker.”

The crowd cheered. Andi Mitchell smiled. Teddy Kennedy didn’t have 
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We Interrupt This Issue To Bring You An Eyewitness News Bulletin

In Philadelphia Magazine (1970-1980) on September 10, 2009 at 12:59 pm

19831107-205-53

THIS LATE FLASH HAS JUST BEEN HANDED TO US: On February 17th, during a prime ratings week, Mort Crim left the country. It was announced that Crim was on “medical leave of absence.” Station officials said he was sick. Inside sources said he was sick, all right—sick of station officials.

We now join our story, already in progress.

3:28 PM SOON IT WILL BE DARK, and at night, when all the tungsten stars are strung out in the firmament of Tinsel Town, and the lights of the 40-watt successes beam red across the Delaware to all the ships at sea, then it will be cold and soon it will be dark and then morning will follow by a probability of 50 percent, depending on the isobars in Iowa.

It is Thursday, the 23rd of January, 1974, a day not unlike all other days, a day that will be filled with turning points and colored ketchup. And here on Independence Mall East, at what used to be known as 5th and Market, in a brown brick building decorated with long black chains, there is a meeting in the Eyewitness Newsroom, the newsroom of the news team that has been rated number one in Philadelphia for a whole three months in a row now. The notice for the meeting is written in pencil on the back of a sheet of white paper Scotch-taped to the door.

It is a small room, the newsroom, much too small and instantly obsolete for a building so new. It was supposed to be bigger. But then the city planners came along and looked at the plans and said no, no, the lobby for this pri­ son has to be much bigger to fit in all the ladies in the pillbox hats who’ve come to see Mike Douglas. There had to be a cut made somewhere. And so, to make the lobby larger, they cut the newsroom in half.

There is the news director’s office, which is mostly glass, and there are five rows of desktops, separated by five partitions into ten cubicles with 20 chairs. There are small, semi-private offices in back of them, small enough that three people can’t stand in them at once and not face the danger of a sexual encounter. They have no doors, just these tacky blue and white plastic accordion closures they got on sale at Two Guys. Jessica Savitch and Marciarose and Al Meltzer live here.

In a room off to the side, a room with a real door, is the shared office of Vince Leonard and Mort Crim. It used to be the film editing room. Before that it was headquarters for the staff of the Marciarose Show, which no longer exists.

Most of the field reporters are in from their assignments by now. They’ve all stopped by to talk to Don Shoultz, a man with a green shirt and a polyester tie who produces the 5:30 news, and then to Jim Boyer, a man with a white shirt and a silk tie, who produces the 6 o’clock. Both of them are working on their rundown sheets, trying to figure out all the news that fits. The newsroom is alive with a calm panic now. Faceless voices are yelling out of a squawk box that connects to the editing room upstairs. The art department needs some description for the chroma-key slides.

“Anybody ever been to the Oxford Valley Mall?” Carl Ward, who produces the 11 o’clock news, yells. “What kind of place is it? We’ve got a murder there.” An intern says that she has shopped there once and that it is a pretty decent place. The art treatment will reflect that research.

“Who’s handling the mall murder?” a voice from editing asks.

“It’s me,” Robin Mackintosh says, “Captain Suburbs. That and five other stories.” He sits down at his typewriter and starts talking to himself.

Jessica Savitch has just blown in from an interview with Alice Cooper for a rock and roll series she’s doing. Before she sits down to write her half of Newswatch 5:30, she stands in front of Marciarose’s mirror and brushes her hair and touches up her makeup. “I don’t understand it,” she says, frowning at the blonde in the mirror. “All this work and that’s still not Faye Dunaway in there.”   Read the rest of this entry »

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