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MediaWatch: July 1995

Vol. Nine No. 7

Revolving Door: Influencing the World

The desire to influence public policy convinced at least one college student to pursue a career in journalism. Specifically, Lissa Muscatine, a Washington Post metro and sports reporter for 12 years who in 1993 became a speechwriter for President Clinton.

Discussing her career in the June American Journalism Review, Muscatine admitted: "I got into journalism because I was interested in advocacy." She further explained: "I grew up in Berkeley in an activist family. I saw journalism as my way to influence the world, or at least some small part of it." But apparently the Post didn't afford her the level of influence she wanted, so after 12 years, she realized "temperamentally, I was moving in a direction that I wanted to be more directly involved in making policy. I wanted to be a participant and not an observer."

Clintonite to Newsweek

For 12 years Tara Sonenshine served as an ABC News producer in Washington. Now, six months after leaving her position as Special Assistant to the President and Deputy Director for communications for the National Security Council, Sonenshine has revolved back into the media. She's now covering national security issues for Newsweek. A Nightline and then ABC Pentagon producer before spending a couple of years with Koppel Communications, Sonenshine held the title of Editorial Producer for Nightline when she departed in early 1994.

Having a reporter cover the policies of those she had as colleagues just months earlier isn't seen as a problem by Newsweek Washington Bureau Chief Evan Thomas, but a benefit. He told The Washington Post's Howard Kurtz: "I wanted to get her under our tent because she's got good connections and a feel for that world. I don't have any worries about a conflict."

Sonenshine is not the only member of Newsweek's Washington bureau with a Democratic background. Douglas Waller, who has covered national security, defense and foreign affairs since 1988, spent 1985 to 1988 as a Legislative Assistant to then Senator William Proxmire (D-Wis.). Previously, he was Legislative Director for Congressman Ed Markey (D-Mass.).

Two from Hill to CNN

The Cable News Network took a bi-partisan approach to filling two openings in its Washington bureau. Rebecca Cooper, a congressional producer since 1993, was named weekend field producer. From 1988 to 1991, Cooper told MediaWatch, she put in a stint with former Senator David Boren, an Oklahoma Democrat, as a Legislative Assistant for trade and education issues. After leaving the Hill she worked in NBC's Washington bureau....

CNN tapped the office of retiring Republican Senator Hank Brown to fill a producer/guest booker slot, The Washington Post reported. Jennifer Martin, who had been the Coloradan's Press Secretary, will book guests for Inside Politics and The World Today.

Congressman McCarthy

On May 5 Richard "Max" McCarthy, a Democratic Congressman in the 1960s and Washington Bureau Chief for the Buffalo News from 1978 to 1990, passed away at age 67. First elected to the U.S. House in 1964 from the Buffalo area, McCarthy lost a Democratic primary for Senate in 1970.