[The 90’s raw: Mike Waldman]

Raw footage shot for the award-winning series The 90's. This tape features an interview with Myron S. "Mike" Waldman, journalist for Newsday, as he completes an article about an upcoming unemployment bill.

00:00Copy video clip URL Footage continues from tape 10930. Myron S. “Mike” Waldman, a journalist for Newsday, is at his desk in the Senate Press Room in Washington, D.C. He makes a variety of phone calls to various Senators trying to get quotes and information about an unemployment benefits bill.

03:14Copy video clip URL Continued various phone calls. Flustered, Waldman says, “I feel like an encyclopedia salesman.” He tells the videographer, Eddie Backer, that he caught him on a “phone day.” He continues placing phone calls trying to get in touch with various Congressmen and Senators. Very little success. Mostly he leaves messages. He reaches one assistant and asks, “Has the Senator made up his mind on what he wants to do?” He types notes on a computer as the person answers.

07:07Copy video clip URL Waldman goes through a list of phone numbers and continues placing calls.

08:00Copy video clip URL A colleague enters the press room, a writer from The New York Daily News named Susan Milligan. They talk shop, mundane chit chat, and about their respective schedules. They joke about their professional rivalry.

12:27Copy video clip URL Waldman heads out of the press room, but stops to take a call from someone he needs to interview. He calls the man back and gets his quote on the unemployment benefits bill.

15:45Copy video clip URL Close up of the computer screen Waldman is using displaying his shorthand notes abbreviated words such as “wud” for “would.”

16:52Copy video clip URL Waldman recounts with the videographer his phone conversation and places another phone call to get a response from the House side.

18:25Copy video clip URL Waldman tells the videographer that he is heading to Bob Dole’s office then out to lunch and at two fifteen he’ll go to the floor of the Senate to question Senator Mitchell about the unemployment benefits bill.

20:54Copy video clip URL Continued b-roll of Waldman making various phone calls and leaving messages. He chit chats with colleagues in the room while waiting on hold.

25:00Copy video clip URL Audio signal improves. Camera microphone is turned on.

25:23Copy video clip URL Camera microphone is turned off. Waldman continues his phone conversation getting quotes and information about the unemployment benefits bill. Additionally, he invites those he talks with to his book release party tomorrow.

28:08Copy video clip URL Off the phone, Waldman says he has only three-and-a-half lines of copy, but he is confident he’ll have a breakthrough. He calls Peacock to ask about the unemployment benefits bill. B-roll of the conversation. As he talks, Waldman takes notes on his computer.

31:40Copy video clip URL Waldman continues calling press secretaries asking various questions about the bill. B-roll of notes he entered into his computer plus b-roll of Waldman on the phone.

35:58Copy video clip URL B-roll of Waldman at his desk reading a newspaper.

36:28Copy video clip URL B-roll of Waldman on the phone trying to get quotes from members of the Senate.

37:03Copy video clip URL The videographer starts recording in mid-sentence. Waldman is recounting Dole’s argument that the benefits bill is structured in a way that’s too complicated. The other argument is that the proposed bill will increase the deficit. He notes the Persian Gulf War was “off budget” and that most of it was paid for by the Allies. The conversation switches to the Cold War. Waldman notes that the end of the Cold War meant economic upheaval unless a new threat comes along so that money can be generated again in defense. Playing the Devil’s Advocate, Waldman proposes the question, where do defense workers go if defense plants close? Who will retrain them? He notes that in Long Island, New York, Grumman Aerospace used to employ 50,000 employees to work on military fighter jets. Now the employment is down to only a few thousand. “Where do the other people go?”

43:07Copy video clip URL Getting back to the subject of his news article, Waldman says he isn’t sure where to go from here except to wait for call backs. He turns on a little closed circuit TV and watches live activity from Congress.

44:02Copy video clip URL Waldman takes a phone call in a phone booth. He tries to get from the caller statistics on unemployment in New York. Various b-roll of Waldman on the phone in the booth.

50:20Copy video clip URL A female colleague makes a funny face at Waldman. Waldman says his story is breaking through. “We’ve gotten a Republican Senator to say that he will be a co-sponsor of the Democratic bill. He notes some of the statistics he’s collected and predicts it will be difficult to get Republican Senators where unemployment is high to vote against this Democratic bill.

55:35Copy video clip URL Waldman retrieves a phone number programmed into his digital watch and places a call to get a quote from a representative of “the committee.”

57:04Copy video clip URL Waldman checks in with his bureau and tells them he is making progress. He confirms with them the article’s word length and deadline. He gives them an update on he information he’s collected.

59:30Copy video clip URL Waldman makes another phone call from the phone booth to Howard Doyle to  see if he received the invitation to his book party.

01:01:04Copy video clip URL Back at his desk, Waldman goes through  papers, making notes for his article. He calls a publicist setting up the party for his book release. He jokes, “I’m using my own credit card for this call.”

01:02:45Copy video clip URL He takes a call regarding the article.

01:03:05Copy video clip URL Regarding his article, Waldman notes that so far he hasn’t found anyone that the president has tried to persuade. He makes another phone call while changing the battery in his beeper.

01:07:35Copy video clip URL He tells the videographer he has a six thirty deadline and that he’ll start writing the article in an hour.

01:08:06Copy video clip URL He calls the office of Senator Hoard Jeffords then recaps the call for the videographer.

01:14:35Copy video clip URL He takes a phone call and receives more information for his article. He notes that on the Face the Nation TV program Senator Mitchell recently confirmed that they didn’t have the votes to override the veto. He’s going to Mitchell’s press office to substantiate the quote.

01:16:25Copy video clip URL Audio signal distortion. The videographer follows Waldman to Mitchell’s press office to read a transcript from the TV program.

01:17:40Copy video clip URL B-roll of Waldman in an office writing notes for his article. Two unseen colleagues hold a conversation.

01:20:59Copy video clip URL One man asks the videographer what the videotaping is for. It’s for The 90’s. Waldman continues reading up on the bill and makes notes for his article.

01:23:38Copy video clip URL Waldman is back at his desk looking for a fax from Senator Jeffords.

01:25:21Copy video clip URL Waldman notes that this story he’s writing affects a lot of people: 6.8% of the workforce is unemployed. He says that tomorrow the Senate will debate and vote on whether or not to extend unemployment. And that “this is a traditional weapon in a recession.” In his mind there’s no doubt the Democrats will win. He explains how he will present the story: I’m going to write the story as a vote today and that it looks like the Democrats will win. Here’s the Republican argument, here’s the Democrat’s argument. He notes that the newspaper will have a set up story. “I have 500 words to do all that.”

01:31:30Copy video clip URL Various b-roll: Waldman notes to a colleague that he’s been selected as an on-camera subject for The 90’s. A dot matrix printer prints Waldman’s article notes.

01:32:41Copy video clip URL Waldman reveals tragic figures from the Labor Department, New York State, US Bureau of Labor Statistics: unemployment is 6.8 per cent, that’s 8.5 million people. Three hundred and fifty thousand people ran out of unemployment benefits since July. Waldman chats with a colleague about the issue and how one group is trying to fix the problem but both Democrats and Republicans fight over who takes credit for being “champions of the unemployed.” Waldman reads over the stats and his notes about the issue.

01:37:44Copy video clip URL Waldman takes another phone call to get more information about the bill.

01:39:11Copy video clip URL After the call, Waldman notes to the videographer that the caller was from Senator Phil Gramm’s office. He says people suspect Gramm will run for President in 1996. Waldman says he has to start writing his article now and that he is in the last hour of his deadline. He rummages through his notes.

01:41:40Copy video clip URL In-camera fade to black.

01:41:46Copy video clip URL In-camera fade in. Waldman is at his computer writing his story.

01:42:04Copy video clip URL In-camera fade to black.

01:42:09Copy video clip URL In-camera fade in. Waldman is reviewing his story. B-roll of Waldman writing his final draft. He’s interrupted by a phone call from the Democratic National Committee.

01:45:21Copy video clip URL In-camera fade to black.

01:45:27Copy video clip URL In-camera fade in. Computer screen. Waldman is writing his article. Various b-roll of Waldman typing while chewing nervously on a toothpick.

01:46:55Copy video clip URL Waldman notes that a while ago he was at a lunch at which Senator Alan Simpson spoke. He notes that the Senator said something on this unemployment benefits issue and he’s now going to use the quote in his article because it “fits in with what I want to do.” Various b-roll of Waldman typing his article.

01:49:07Copy video clip URL  In-camera fade to black.

01:49:14Copy video clip URL In-camera fade in. Waldman is searching the dictionary for a synonym to a particular word. He is interrupted by another call. He notes he has forty-five minutes to finish the article. He’s trying to find out how Senator Brown will vote tomorrow. The press secretary calls to tell Waldman there is no news to report.

01:51:19Copy video clip URL In-camera fade to black.

01:51:25Copy video clip URL In-camera fade in. Waldman is working on his article, re-editing, adding to various parts of the story. He notes, “I write things as I think of them.”

01:53:24Copy video clip URL In-camera fade to black.

01:53:30Copy video clip URL In-camera fade in. Waldman still typing, and searching for facts and figures.

01:54:35Copy video clip URL B-roll of the wall clock which reads: six fifteen. He says his deadline is six thirty and that he’ll make it.

01:56:29Copy video clip URL In-camera fade to black.

01:56:34Copy video clip URL The wall clock reads: six twenty. Waldman says he’s near the end. He takes a phone call. It’s the press bureau asking for the article. He says it will be there in a few minutes, then notes to the videographer that his office always does this to him and that their calls only delay the article being completed.

01:57:42Copy video clip URL He logs on and goes through a process to send the story electronically to the Washington news bureau. He notes that now “it’s dialing.” A dial up series of tones rings out. The story is sent through the phone lines to the editor. Waldman explains that the editors give themselves two or three hours to read and edit the story. The transmission is complete. He places a phone call to confirm that the transmission was received.

02:00:21Copy video clip URL Waldman notes that the editors will call him back — at home as late as ten o’clock at night — to request changes. He says he doesn’t feel strongly about having to make changes. “This thing is not a work of art.” He reads the opening on his computer and prints copy.

02:02:20Copy video clip URL B-roll as Waldman grabs the print out and collects his papers. He is chatting with the videographer about the people on the Hill he is in touch with. He is saying the majority of aides on the Hill are good.

02:03:16Copy video clip URL The tape ends in mid-conversation.

 

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