Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Life Was Easier When I Knew Everything

When I first joined NYNEX, there was a hard-drinking PR pro who headed media relations: Jack Fallon. He was Tony Pappas' boss, and he soon retired... so I only got to meet him once. It was a breakfast for new hires arranged by Ted Federici, and I remember that morning the bus from Bogota (where Nancy and I lived at the time) was stuck in traffic for nearly an hour. So, even though I always arrived at work early, I arrived at this breakfast gathering a few minutes late.

I received a withering stare from Mr. Fallon, and an admonition later from Mr. Federici that it would have been better not to have shown up at all rather than to have arrived late. But I don't remember being too concerned about this, or being too impressed by Jack Fallon... after all, I was young and already knew everything.

For example, I knew that my Dad had worked with Fallon, and that he had been a reporter before joining the Bell System as a PR executive. Also, just a few months ago, John Bonomo passed along a note that Fallon had died at the age of 89.

Fast forward to earlier tonight. Nancy and I were watching a great PBS special on the 50th anniversary of the Kennedy assassination. It focused on the inner workings of the news coverage of the event, and was even narrated by George Clooney.

As I'm watching this, the name "Jack Fallon" was mentioned -- and it turns out that this Jack Fallon -- the same Jack Fallon I had met at 1095 Ave. of the Americas -- was the UPI Dallas bureau chief that day, and he played a significant, historic role in the coverage of the assassination. You could look it up.

If I had known then what I know now, I would have left the house at least two hours early that morning in 1986.

And, just perhaps, I can be a little more respectful of my job. Today, when a Guardian reporter sent me an email with a typo asking me to comment on some complicated issue at 3:20 p.m., I tweeted, "Just got a media request from someone with a 3 p.m. deadline today. Excuse me while I travel back in time."

And then tonight, I did.