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  NASA's Journalist-in-Space candidates/finalists

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Author Topic:   NASA's Journalist-in-Space candidates/finalists
Tykeanaut
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Posts: 1839
From: Worcestershire, England, UK.
Registered: Apr 2008

posted 05-16-2013 11:50 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Tykeanaut   Click Here to Email Tykeanaut     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I've only just realised that both Walter Cronkite and Jay Barbaree were selected in the final 40 during 1986.

I also see that there was a Donn Pearlman in the initial selection, any relation Robert?

Robert Pearlman
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Posts: 29788
From: Houston, TX
Registered: Nov 1999

posted 05-16-2013 11:51 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Tykeanaut:
I also see that there was a Donn Pearlman in the initial selection, any relation Robert?
Of no relation (at least as much as I am aware).

dabolton
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Posts: 297
From: Minooka IL, US
Registered: Jan 2009

posted 05-16-2013 03:49 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for dabolton   Click Here to Email dabolton     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Cronkite was a bit before my era but I recall him always being somewhat rotund. Was he fit enough to even qualify?

p51
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From: Olympia, WA, USA
Registered: Sep 2011

posted 05-16-2013 06:07 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for p51   Click Here to Email p51     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
One of my primary interests is in War Correspondents in WW2, so I know a bit about Cronkite.
quote:
Originally posted by dabolton:
Cronkite was a bit before my era but I recall him always being somewhat rotund. Was he fit enough to even qualify?
The man was in his 70s by the time he'd have flown had he gone up if he'd gone up in the 80s, that is. That's not that odd to us now after Glenn going up, but it'd been odd then, I'd think. I remember clearly people talking about Cronkite going up at the time. It was a popular opinion among people I was around as my folks and all the adults I knew thought fondly of him for his Apollo reporting.

He WASN'T very big, especially considering his age. Just google shots of him in the 80s and 90s. He was short, but that rarely was a problem for American astronauts. But health-wise, he was in that generation of smoking/drinking reporters (think, "Mad Men" but with typewriters for the guys and nobody looking that glamorous). I wouldn't have bene shocked if he would have had problems with a treadmill at that age.

Had he gone on a shuttle mission, it wouldn't have been the first unpowered aircraft landing he would have had. As a reporter war correspondent for the UP, he landed into Holland in September of 1944 in a glider alongside the 101st Airborne in "Operation Market Garden." He had also flown combat missions in B-17s as part of a special group of correspondents devoted to the air war. I'm sure he also flew in Helicopters several times when he was in Vietnam, too. Nobody else in human history would have had all those experiences had he flown on a shuttle mission.

Hart Sastrowardoyo
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Posts: 2456
From: Toms River, NJ
Registered: Aug 2000

posted 05-16-2013 09:32 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Hart Sastrowardoyo   Click Here to Email Hart Sastrowardoyo     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Not much of a shot, but here's a picture of Cronkite in 2004.

And yes, I'm trying to track down the other 39 semifinalists. I know there whereabouts of four - two are at colleges, one is an author (and had it not been for traffic delays, would have meet him) and the other is a speaker - heard him talk, didn't have time to meet him directly. A fifth, Lynn Sherr is writing Ride's bio, so I'll meet her should there be a book tour. And one other than Cronkite has died.

mach3valkyrie
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Posts: 325
From: Albany, Oregon USA
Registered: Jul 2006

posted 05-16-2013 10:55 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for mach3valkyrie   Click Here to Email mach3valkyrie     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Roy Neal of NBC News was another candidate that has also passed on. Not sure about ABC's Jules Bergman, who died in 1987.

Cozmosis22
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Posts: 368
From: Texas * Earth
Registered: Apr 2011

posted 05-21-2013 09:16 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Cozmosis22     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Back then the selection process continued but everyone knew that none of us would ever fly. The applications were due, and to be postmarked, no later than January 15, 1986. So, about two weeks after that NASA and Congress' whole "Citizen in Space" project was coming into question and unofficially terminated.

Did not make the final forty.

ea757grrl
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Posts: 602
From: South Carolina
Registered: Jul 2006

posted 05-21-2013 10:19 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for ea757grrl   Click Here to Email ea757grrl     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
quote:
Originally posted by mach3valkyrie:
Not sure about ABC's Jules Bergman, who died in 1987.

It would not surprise me if Bergman would have been medically disqualified, if not in initial selection then certainly later on; by the early '80s Bergman had a history of seizures and a brain tumor. I don't know how much medical vetting was done during the initial process, but he probably wouldn't have made the final cut anyway due to his medical history. That's unfortunate because had he been able to fly, Bergman would have provided some interesting reports from orbit (though he probably wouldn't have been able to do his famous heat-shield demonstration with the propane torch).

Had Cronkite been selected I know he'd have done anything and everything to get into whatever shape he needed to be in. The man just plain wanted to fly in space, and would have moved heaven and earth to get in required trim.

On a related topic, I'll forever think it a shame Miles O'Brien didn't get to fly. As good a job as we've done sending pilots and scientists into space, I think we're just a little poorer for not having had just one reporter fly along and file reports from on orbit. It's an opportunity I'll forever mourn, and not just because I once made my wage as a lowly newspaper scribe and now do so as a journalism educator.

Hart Sastrowardoyo
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Posts: 2456
From: Toms River, NJ
Registered: Aug 2000

posted 05-22-2013 05:05 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Hart Sastrowardoyo   Click Here to Email Hart Sastrowardoyo     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Bill Blakemore, one of the 40 semifinalists, will be moderating a talk in June in NYC as part of the 2013 World Science Festival.

Hart Sastrowardoyo
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Posts: 2456
From: Toms River, NJ
Registered: Aug 2000

posted 06-04-2014 02:52 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Hart Sastrowardoyo   Click Here to Email Hart Sastrowardoyo     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Because I felt like I needed a challenge, I started the process of tracking down and writing the 37 still-living semifinalists (Walter Cronkite, Jerry Flint, and Robert White II have since died.) I've managed to find "pretty sure to definite" addresses for 31 of them. Will update this thread as things develop.

Bob M
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Posts: 1413
From: Atlanta-area, GA USA
Registered: Aug 2000

posted 06-04-2014 07:34 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Bob M   Click Here to Email Bob M     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I wish Hart the best in his latest challenge.

On a related note, I have pursued autographs of the 100+ Teacher-in-Space Semi-Finalists, and after starting years ago and again in 2013, obtained autographs of 39 of the 113 Semi-Finalists, which include the ten Finalists.

Lists of all the Journalists- and Teachers-in-Space can be found in the excellent 'Who's Who in Space' book. The book gives the name, and school location of each teacher, but after all these years few are still in teaching, so I had to find home addresses. In 2013 I found addresses for about 35 and had positive results with 20.

Hopefully Hart will have better success with the 40 journalists than I had with the teachers. But we both started late with an autograph project that would have been very successful not long after 51L.

Robert Pearlman
Editor

Posts: 29788
From: Houston, TX
Registered: Nov 1999

posted 06-04-2014 08:06 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
For the sake of future reference, here's a list of the 40 Journalist-in-Space finalists, including the news organization they represented at the time of application.
  1. Terry Anzur (NBC News)
  2. James Asker (Houston Post)
  3. A. Blaine Baggett (KCET-TV)
  4. Jay Barbee (freelancer)
  5. Marcia Bartusiak (freelancer)
  6. William Blakemore (ABC News)
  7. Ted Conover (freelancer)
  8. Walter Cronkite (CBS News)
  9. Morton Dean (INN)
  10. Diane Eicher (Denver Post)
  11. Joan Esposito (WLS-TV)
  12. Timothy Ferris (freelancer)
  13. Jerry Flint (Forbes)
  14. Michael Gold (Science 86)
  15. Stanley Grossfield (Boston Globe)
  16. Richard Hart (KPIX-TV)
  17. Paul Hayes (Milwaukee Journal)
  18. Hal Higdon (freelancer)
  19. John Hockenberry (NPR)
  20. Jim Klobuchar (Minneapolis Star-Tribune)
 
  1. Terry Marotta (freelancer)
  2. Michael Masterson (WHECO Media)
  3. Lee McEachern (KGO-TV)
  4. Jay Mathews (Washington Post)
  5. Robert Navias (UPI)
  6. Charles Petit (San Francisco Chronicle)
  7. Paul Recer (Associated Press)
  8. Peter Rinearson (Seattle Times)
  9. Roger Rosenblatt (TIME)
  10. Alexander Rossiter (UPI)
  11. Storer Rowley (Chicago Tribune)
  12. Kathy Sawyer (Washington Post)
  13. Barry Serafin (ABC News)
  14. Lynn Sherr (ABC News)
  15. Katie Sherrod (Fort Worth Star-Telegram)
  16. Jim Slade (MBS)
  17. Barbara Stanton (Detroit Free-Press)
  18. Robert White (Mexico Ledger)
  19. John Noble Wilford (New York Times)
  20. James Wooten (ABC News)

ea757grrl
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Posts: 602
From: South Carolina
Registered: Jul 2006

posted 06-04-2014 10:04 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for ea757grrl   Click Here to Email ea757grrl     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I'd never seen that list of the 40 finalists, and many thanks to Robert for posting it. Lots of very familiar names in there, and a few surprises (Jim Wooten? Wow).

moorouge
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Posts: 1772
From: U.K.
Registered: Jul 2009

posted 06-04-2014 10:26 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for moorouge   Click Here to Email moorouge     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I tried to contact Al Rossiter during my research into NASA's lost boilerplate. Sadly he died last year. When he left UPI he went to work for Duke News. Unfortunately from my point of view his records have been lost.

Hart Sastrowardoyo
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Posts: 2456
From: Toms River, NJ
Registered: Aug 2000

posted 06-04-2014 10:51 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Hart Sastrowardoyo   Click Here to Email Hart Sastrowardoyo     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
OK, make that 36 to track down....

One difference between the J-i-S and the T-i-S semifinalists is that a lot of the journalists are still in their field - still at their company or doing some sort of communications work, even 30 years later. Even the one I found now into training marathoners has written books.

onesmallstep
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Posts: 710
From: Staten Island, New York USA
Registered: Nov 2007

posted 06-04-2014 11:59 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for onesmallstep   Click Here to Email onesmallstep     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I've always wondered, had Challenger not happened and an American would have been the first journalist in space (Toyohiro Akiyama, of Japan's TBS broadcast company, was first in a Mir flight in 1990), how the coverage of the space program would have changed after a reporter was 'embedded', so to speak, during a shuttle mission.

Granted, even if an accident happened after such a flight, it would have added a different perspective, akin to reporters being attached to combat units in the recent Gulf wars. I too lament the fact that a knowledgeable, excellent journalist like Miles O'Brien did not get a chance to ply his trade from earth orbit. Then again, maybe he can take a ride on one of the upcoming commercial passenger ventures?

East-Frisian
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Posts: 451
From: Germany
Registered: Apr 2005

posted 06-04-2014 12:44 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for East-Frisian     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Names and small biographies (sometimes) you can find on spacefacts.de.

MOL
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Posts: 21
From: Los Angeles, CA
Registered: Oct 2004

posted 06-04-2014 05:33 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for MOL   Click Here to Email MOL     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
And of this list, only one, Rob Navias, ever actually became a NASA employee!

Hart Sastrowardoyo
Member

Posts: 2456
From: Toms River, NJ
Registered: Aug 2000

posted 06-07-2014 06:58 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Hart Sastrowardoyo   Click Here to Email Hart Sastrowardoyo     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Actually, one now works for JPL...

Separately, Terry Anzur said she'd still love to go. She's sending me a signed photo.

Headshot
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Posts: 325
From: Streamwood, IL USA
Registered: Feb 2012

posted 06-14-2014 10:05 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Headshot   Click Here to Email Headshot     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
This might a totally irrelevant and stupid question/observation, but I wonder why Craig Covault, formerly of AW&ST, was not on that list?

Robert Pearlman
Editor

Posts: 29788
From: Houston, TX
Registered: Nov 1999

posted 06-14-2014 10:12 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Covault was one of the 1,700 journalists who applied, but didn't make it into the semifinals. Here's what he told the Orlando Sentinel in December 1985:
"I think it should be [from the print media] and it will be print," said Craig Covault, a respected senior editor and writer for Aviation Week and Space Technology magazine who is applying.

Covault said it makes no sense to select someone who is not a space reporter. "When news is being made at the White House, they send in a White House reporter."

The selections were made by the Association of Schools of Journalism and Mass Communication, as administered by the College of Journalism at the University of South Carolina in Columbia. [source]

All times are CT (US)

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