MediaWatch: September 1989

Vol. Three No. 9

Revolving Door: Palestinian Connection

Palestinian Connection. A Washington Post profile story of Jo Franklin-Trout, producer of the controversial pro-Palestinian documentary Days of Rage carried by most PBS affiliates in early September, revealed she wrote speeches briefly for Hubert Humphrey's 1968 presidential campaign. Franklin-Trout signed onto the staff of the then titled MacNeil/Lehrer Report in 1975, where she remained a producer until 1980.

More Than One on Prime Time. Diane Sawyer, co-host of Prime Time Live, spent her days after college as a Press Assistant in the Nixon White House. But Sawyer is not the only politically experienced hand aboard ABC's new Thursday night show. Until April, reportorial producer Sheila Hershow was an investigator for the House Government Operations Sub-Committee on Government Activities and Transportation chaired by liberal Congresswoman Cardiss Collins (D-Illinois). From 1983 to 1986 Hershow worked for CNN as a special assignment reporter.

Nightline's Political Line. Still on Prime Time Live, ABC News President Roone Arledge chose Nightline Executive Producer Rick Kaplan to run the new program. To take over Nightline, Arledge chose Dorrance Smith, Executive Producer of This Week with David Brinkley. Before joining ABC News in 1977, Smith worked in President Gerald Ford's White House advance office. Balancing things out, Nightline's number two slot is filled by Senior Producer Deborah Leff, Director of Public Affairs for the Federal Trade Commission during Carter's later years.

Three on the Hill. Two liberal Senators and a liberal Representative have more than ideology in common. They also have reporters as their new press Secretaries. Deborah Matthews, now working for Senator Wyche Fowler (D-Georgia), was one of CNN's original employees as an assignment editor back in 1980. She then spent several years in similar positions with Atlanta's NBC affiliate WXIA-TV, and ABC affiliate WSB-TV before switching to print. For the past year she's been an Atlanta Journal and Constitution reporter.

Elizabeth Rose, now toiling for Senator Jay Rockefeller (D-West Virginia), was most recently the Dukakis campaign's Wisconsin Press Secretary. Before joining Congressman Tom Downey's office in 1987, the Capitol Hill newspaper Roll Call reported, Rose worked as an editorial associate for the Public Broadcasting Service.

Congressman Ed Markey (D-Massachusetts) has hired San Francisco Examiner Washington correspondent Mike Connolly to handle press for his personal office and the Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Telecommunications and Finance, chaired by Markey. By the time Connolly ended an eight year stint with the Gannett News Service in 1984, he had risen to White House correspondent.