Monday, December 1, 2008

Writers Guild Office Boy 1970 (xii)

At the NBC television studios in the Fall of 1970, I would frequently deliver union checks for an NBC newswriter, who had agreed to be the talent union’s treasurer, named Benson to sign in his office, which was only a few yards away from where the television cameras were. Benson was polite, but less friendly and more reserved than was Osgood at CBS News. Yet like Osgood with respect to CBS News, Benson seemed unaware of how distorted a picture of social reality was being given to the people of the United States by the NBC News department for whom he wrote news copy.

At ABC, the Writers Guild members who worked as newswriters for its hourly radio reports were cramped together in a small room with A.P. and U.P.I. wire service machines automatically ticking away and printing out the latest news bulletins on the ticker tape. The Guild members there, who included a writer who used to work at CBS with Edward R. Murrow during the 1950s, apparently would then rewrite the A.P. and U.P.I. copy in a more concise way for the ABC radio news announcer to read over the radio on ABC Radio’s news on the hour update.

At Metromedia’s WNEW-FM radio station, the sound of the rock music playing on the station’s airwaves could be heard whenever I brought union documents to be signed there by a white man in WNEW-FM's one-person newsroom who seemed to be in his late 40s or fifties, had short hair and seemed a little more hip than the Guild union members who worked for the three major networks. But the Writers Guild shop steward at WNEW-FM still seemed too busy to even consider taking time out to converse with me about either the union or what kind of actual writing he actually did inside the WNEW-FM one-person newsroom.