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Response to randys1 (Reply #26)

Tue Sep 1, 2015, 05:13 PM

40. Working at the AP was something we all regarded as similar to being in the Army.

You weren't going to get rich doing so. There was NO pizazz involved whatsoever. Everybody that newsroom struck me as another real-life version of Clark Kent. It was always a roomful of mild-mannered Clark Kents, both males and females but mostly men, whether at the LA bureau or the BNC in Washington (Broadcast News Center) or anywhere else. I once visited their print headquarters in NYC, at 50 Rock, and there, too - sure enough. Another roomful of mild-mannered Clark Kents. NEVER a Superman costume. But a whole lot of the humble not glorious or flashy or super-powered Clark Kents. Makes me think of the Geek Squad at Best Buy. Buncha dudes in rumpled clothes, hunched over their computers either on the phone with a source or writing, writing, writing. But you could count on what one of the member services guys referred to as "three square a day." As in - you certainly had enough to eat your three meals a day and cover all the basic expenses like rent or house payment and shoes for the kids and gas in the car and basic insurance premiums and so forth.

Fuck! I remember being on duty in L.A. the night former Beirut bureau chief Terry Anderson was released from several years as a hostage. CNN went live to the AP World Headquarters in NY. Somebody'd set up a camera in the newsroom - all ready to go for a live shot whenever the story could be confirmed (any minute now, folks!) and then it was all about waiting for the word to become official. It was a really boring visual - you could see part of what looked like a pretty empty newsroom (it was maybe 3am in New York) and the back of some dude predictably hunched over his computer, working on something, and not moving. Whoever he was, he seemed utterly oblivious to this major breaking news story directly affecting one of his own colleagues. Didn't even care that the camera was on him. Probably didn't know, but typical of an AP reporter - wouldn't care.

And we waited.

And we waited some more. It had been a pet cause, internally, among AP staffers all over the world, for something like four years, holding vigils and prayer moments where we'd all get in a circle in the middle of the newsroom and hold hands and close our eyes and silently send prayers and good thoughts and hope and good hoodoo and the rest of it - for the release of Terry Anderson. One of the guys in our bureau had buttons made up. There were Terry Anderson POW-style bracelets that some staffers wore every day. It was a tremendous moment - one of our own had been a hostage for several years - finally on the verge of being released! As Joe Biden would say - THIS was a Big Fucking Deal!

And we kept waiting. Seemed like a long time. It was late in the LA bureau that night and most of the staff had gone home (hell, WE covered Hollywood for the most part, so nobody in our bureau was particularly key to this story). Looked much the same in NYC, too. And every time CNN would cut back over to the live shot at the New York AP newsroom, STILL nothing was happening yet, for the longest time! At one point, here in L.A., as we were watching and getting bored, the nighttime supervisor - who had a booming baritone voice, shoulda been in radio - spoke up:

"And THERE we see... the BALD spot... of the NIGHT guy... at the AP World Headquarters in New York!" And those of us who were still there literally collapsed in laughter!!!! Talk about breaking the tension!

The AP was full of random moments like that. I spent nine years there. There were some times when it was just the coolest thing to do - work at the AP. There was just a certain kind of cachet to it. I felt like I'd actually become a full-on news person. No frills, no pizazz, no lights, camera, makeup, blondes, fancy sets or phony frippery. Just the news in a plain brown wrapper or generic brand at the grocery store. And some amazing good times.

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Arrow 45 replies Author Time Post
MrScorpio Sep 2015 OP
Fred Sanders Sep 2015 #1
calimary Sep 2015 #7
YoungDemCA Sep 2015 #9
erronis Sep 2015 #13
calimary Sep 2015 #41
randys1 Sep 2015 #26
LineLineLineLineNew Reply Working at the AP was something we all regarded as similar to being in the Army.
calimary Sep 2015 #40
randys1 Sep 2015 #43
calimary Sep 2015 #44
TexasMommaWithAHat Sep 2015 #2
treestar Sep 2015 #4
Johnyawl Sep 2015 #5
Baitball Blogger Sep 2015 #3
gregcrawford Sep 2015 #6
KamaAina Sep 2015 #8
Orrex Sep 2015 #11
bvf Sep 2015 #16
KamaAina Sep 2015 #17
underpants Sep 2015 #28
Rex Sep 2015 #34
Orrex Sep 2015 #10
OriginalGeek Sep 2015 #18
muriel_volestrangler Sep 2015 #12
KamaAina Sep 2015 #14
lpbk2713 Sep 2015 #15
Nye Bevan Sep 2015 #19
MrScorpio Sep 2015 #20
Nye Bevan Sep 2015 #21
LanternWaste Sep 2015 #22
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MrScorpio Sep 2015 #24
Nye Bevan Sep 2015 #25
MrScorpio Sep 2015 #29
msanthrope Sep 2015 #38
Nye Bevan Sep 2015 #42
msanthrope Sep 2015 #45
tularetom Sep 2015 #27
MrScorpio Sep 2015 #30
Nye Bevan Sep 2015 #31
MrScorpio Sep 2015 #32
Nye Bevan Sep 2015 #33
MrScorpio Sep 2015 #39
tularetom Sep 2015 #36
Nye Bevan Sep 2015 #37
red dog 1 Sep 2015 #35
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