Jack Raisner (former desk assistant) 6/14/07
Thanks for the marvelous site. I worked with you and the news crew for about a year, starting in September 1973. I was placed as a full-time intern to Mike Ludlum through a New York City high school program. After he sent me around town with Bill Lynch for a day, to a Mets playoff game with Ed Ingles and Dave Marash, and up in the chopper with Lou Timolat, Mike ran out of things for me to do. So I was morphed into a desk assistant and had a wondrous year. I was assigned whatever shift was open due to turnover and vacations, and drew union wages all the while.
I remember the day Art Athens first appeared in the newsroom. I don't believe he had yet been hired. But he had a hot story that he brought in under some sort of freelance arrangement. It was an interview he did with Clifford Irving, who had just been released from prison. Art blew into the newsroom with the exclusive in his clutches.
The high point of my tenure, however, came on Oct. 20, 1973. [Nixon orders Attorney General Richardson and Deputy Ruckelshaus to dismiss Watergate Special Prosecutor Archibald Cox. They refuse, so Solicitor General Robert Bork commits the deed.] It was a drowsy weekend evening and I was the sole desk assistant on duty. The teletype machines started ringing and never let up. Wave followed wave of jaw droppers until the Saturday Night Massacre was over and history had been made. Ray Geraty or some other droll figure may have been producing. I can't recall who was anchoring. As pros, they took it all in stride, of course. But as the kid clearing the newswires, the sheer excitement of that singular night remains indelible.
The only person I have bumped into recently from that era is a very well-preserved, and thus instantly recognizable, Don Alexander. I am pleased to see from your photos that so many folks are not only around, but still socialize. It's a real testament to the spirit and pride of that great, colorful news team. They knew they were the best. If they didn't tell you directly how privileged they were to be there, then you saw it in their bearing. Having no right to be there at all, I felt all the more awed to work among you.
Keep up the good site, Don.