Press: We'd Better Be Ready

As the hostage story broke, newshounds were straining

For days it was obvious that the two hero-size news stories were on a collision course. "What happens," worried an NBC news executive, "if the hostages are freed at the moment Reagan is taking his oath of office?" Several blocks away, at ABC's broadcasting studios, World News Tonight Executive Producer Jeff Gralnick, 41, was warning his harried news staff: "We'd better be ready! We'd better be damned ready!"

When the two stories converged within 28 minutes last Tuesday, the U.S. press was ready—perhaps too ready. ABC,...

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