The news hit me like a ton of bricks. I’ve been here a long time, doing a job I love. Now I have to put together a résumé. When I got hired at NBC, I never even filled out an application.
I’m a victim of my location. If I was in Washington, with my seniority I wouldn’t have to worry about it—for now. But eventually, it’s going to hit everybody. In network news you’ll have an anchor and that’s about it. They’re going to gather their reports from affiliates and other sources. I think NBC as we know it structurally will be gone. But even if you want to change your approach to newsgathering, how can you get rid of experience? I don’t understand it.
This is all I’ve done for over twenty-five years. Now I’m faced with trying to get another job, at fifty-three. I don’t care where you go, when a fifty-three-year-old man applies for a job, they’re going to be hesitant about hiring you. Although I’m physically sound, they’re still going to say, how many years can this guy give us?
This whole thing is devastating. It’s blown my income. I’m not worried about college money now—I’m worried about making a house payment. We’ve made very good money here, although we’ve worked very hard for it, and at any local station now I would be going in for about one-fourth of what I’ve earned here.
John Long will survive somehow. Until I die, somehow I’ll do something. I think the real loser is the news viewer. The people who own NBC don’t really care about their obligation to the American people, to the viewers, to their own affiliates. It’s more than just me. I’m saying all of you are going to be hurt. We brought you that man on the moon. I was at Mount St. Helens when it blew. I was with Sadat when he got killed. We were in the earthquakes in Salvador and Mexico City. We are those people who for all these years have been part of what you at home turn your TV on to see. We’ve gone way out of our way to bring you the true story. An honest story. I think this is what could be lost.
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